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Ronald McDonald to lay low while creepy clown sightings on the rise

Reuters

Creepy clown sightings are on the rise in the United States and abroad, but there's one clown you aren't going to see anytime soon.

Ronald McDonald.

"McDonald's and franchisees in the local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being," a spokeswoman for McDonald's told CNBC.

It is unclear how long the burger chain's clown mascot will be M.I.A. or how this will affect McDonald's events.

The creepy clown sightings began earlier this summer in South Carolina and have grown in frequency through the month of October. Last month, more than a dozen people were arrested for taking part in the clown pranks or for making false reports to police.

While many believe that these sightings are simply pranks, there are a few people on social media that think the clowns are part of an underground marketing campaign for the horror movie remake of Stephen King's "It" due out in 2017.

"We are warning teens and young adults not to get involved in this fad of dressing up as clowns to cause fear," Christopher Nacco, the sheriff of Pasco County, Florida, told NBC News earlier this month. "Because eventually someone is going to perceive their actions as a threat and take justice in their own hands."

Some schools have also banned clown costumes at Halloween celebrations as an extra precaution.