PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It seems like creepy clown stories are popping up everywhere, so how is it affecting the people who work as clowns?
"I wish that they hadn't picked clowning of all things."
Kathy Scott, better known as Sweet Petunia when she's clowning, runs AZ Clowns here in the valley. She doesn't like that her profession of more than 20 years is being used as a twisted way to scare and commit crimes.
"We're not creepy, we're good people," she said.
But recent headlines paint a drastically different story about the typically funny and joyful characters. A spike in what's being called creepy clown sightings is sweeping the nation -- in addition to violent clown threats being called into schools, kids being chased and some reports of clowns trying to lure children into the woods with candy -- a terrifying thought for any parent.
"I would be nervous if I saw a clown right now with what's been going on with the weirdos," said a parent.
"My friend at school, she told me that she saw this on Facebook with her mom that clowns.. she told me that they're gonna kill every school and stuff like that," said a student.
Here in the valley, two recent robberies involved criminals in clown masks.
Scott worries about the business for entertainment clowns amid this creepy clown fad -- their reputation could be hurt.
"We love kids and we don't want any harm to come to any kids at all," said Scott. "I just wish they would stop."
In fact, Scott told FOX 10's Stefania Okolie that when she was at parties over the weekend, children appeared to be a little bit standoffish. She had a couple of extra tricks for them to warm up her, saying things like you're the good clown, not the bad one from TV -- talking about clowns they've seen in the news trying to scare kids.
In Phoenix, police say a dozen schools have been threatened, leading to the arrest of four juveniles.
While kids think it's funny to get involved in this fad, it's not being taken lightly by authorities.