The Gun-Wielding Wasco Clown Copycats Haunting California Are 50 Shades Of Nope

Things are getting pretty scary for the clown-fearing people of California. The Wasco Clown, which started off as a couple's innocent (but still seriously freakin' creepy) photo project, has now escalated into what may be an actual safety concern. Copycat Wasco clowns have been seen wielding knives and guns while they prowl in the night, and one — a 14-year-old boy — was arrested by Bakersfield police for scaring and chasing a child.

A watch commander for the Bakersfield police told Reuters they'd received a disturbing report Saturday night from someone who had seen a person dressed as a clown carrying a gun. According to the officer, this is one of many similar reports they've received over the last week. According to Reuters, cops haven't yet been able to determine how many of the reports are valid, and how many may be part of a pretty awful Halloween prank.

So to review: There is more than one person dressed as a demonic clown lurking in the night with weapons, and the cops have no idea how to catch them or where they might be at any given time because people are also filing fake reports. Super.

Thankfully, there haven't been any reports of these clowns actually physically harming anyone. But anybody scaring the community, especially kids and especially with weapons, is a relatively serious crime. We've already dealt with enough people who don't look like horror movie villains hurting and killing people in California over the past 20 years, and California also recently dealt with a mass shooting, so pranks like these are pouring salt on an already grievous wound.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about Spook-tober, but the problem with this art project turned viral Internet prankster trend is simple: All it takes is the wrong person with the right resources to turn this Halloween social experiment into something truly terrifying.

It might sound like I'm halfway into crafting a tinfoil hat, but my guess is most of these participants don't want to end up in jail, so they need to be aware of how their actions could be interpreted. Ominously creeping around carrying balloons is one thing, but the second weapons are involved is the second it becomes not funny, not cool, and super not okay.

Images: wascoclown/Instagram