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No Joke: French Town Cracks Down On Clown Costumes After Attacks

He's not welcome in Vendarques. The French town has banned people from dressing up as clowns for the next month following violent incidents across the country. (Reuters /Landov)

It's not quite coulrophobia, but the French town of Vendarques has banned people from dressing up as clowns for a month starting on Halloween.

A mayoral order on the town's website says the decree bans individuals and groups aged 13 and older dressed as clowns from the town's streets and public spaces. It said the aim was to "avoid confusion and possible disruption" during Halloween when the ban will be "absolute." The ban ends Nov. 30.

The move by Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere comes after violent incidents across France involving teens dressed as clowns.

The Associated Press adds: "[P]eople dressed as scary clowns spooked children and in several cases assaulted people. In one incident, an adolescent assaulted a passerby with an iron bar.

"The phenomenon spread over the past few weeks on Facebook, with groups tracking clown sightings across the country. But Vendargues, with 6,000 inhabitants, is apparently the first town to ban clowning around."

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