SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ -- Expect to see classics costumes, such as Star Wars storm troopers, Dorothy and Toto, and zombies from The Walking Dead at Scotch Plains-Fanwood schools on Halloween.

But don't send in the clowns, they're banned this year.

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood school system sent an email to parents informing them that students may wear costumes to school on Monday, October 31. Masks are not permitted, as is customary, and students should not bring in anything that resembles a weapon. Costumes must not be offensive to any person or group of people.

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However, there's a new rule: "In light of recent news regarding clown sightings, clown costumes are not permitted."

"Creepy clowns” have been in the news a great deal lately. Much of the panic has been driven by social media, according to CNN. In late September, East Hanover police were called with reports of a possible “creepy clown” near the grounds of Hanover Park high school.  Earlier this month, Roselle Park police caught a teenager who posted threats on social media. To date, there is no known record of a child actually being harmed or abducted by a clown.

Experts say that the creepy clown trend happens more frequently in the months leading up to Halloween, and is fueled by schoolyard rumors, parental concern, and social media.

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