Please don't send in the clowns.
That's the message some area schools are telling parents ahead of Halloween parades or parties after a flurry of sinister clown-related incidents over the last month across the country.
Many Lehigh Valley school districts don't have district-wide clown costume policies, but some individual schools did ask parents to avoid clown costumes.
Eric Smith, principal at Spring Garden Elementary School in the Bethlehem Area School District, sent his usual letter to parents, explaining how the costumed Halloween parade around the school works. But this year, he added a caveat.
"We just added one sentence saying in light of recent events, if you've not purchased your child a costume, you should not purchase your child a clown costume," Smith said. "I think in the kind of the heightened climate we're in right now, kids are maybe a little more sensitive than they normally are. I really wanted to be cautious."
Smith said clowns aren't typically a popular costume, and kids tend to favor ninjas and super heroes each year.
Bethlehem Area schools Superintendent Joseph Roy said it's standard for schools to send out reminders to parents that students shouldn't bring weapons or wear bloody or violent costumes to school.
The district hasn't been isolated from the national clown scare. On Oct. 6, a freshman at Bethlehem's Freedom High School was charged with making online threats to students and staff after posing as a "killer clown" on Facebook.
Schools further removed from clown threats also advised parents to keep their children's attire clown-free.
Students at Lincoln Elementary School in the East Penn School District were asked not to dress as clowns for their parade Friday in a notice that also reminded parents to make sure their kids don't bring replica weapons either, said Lisa Lechmanik, an administrative assistant at the school.
"[Principal Jacqueline Attinello] felt that it was important to make that statement," Lechmanik said.
Several other school districts in eastern Pennsylvania targeted by scary clown threats or hoaxes in recent weeks are also banning clown costumes for Halloween parties.
The Bucks County Courier Times reported that the Bensalem, Pennridge and Souderton school districts are banning the costumes, along with Milford Middle School in the Quakertown Community School District.
A 12-year-old boy has been charged in juvenile court with making clown-related threats toward Bensalem's middle schools, and a 12-year-old girl is similarly charged with the Milford threats.
Those threats and those made in the Pennridge and Souderton districts were determined to be non-viable, but officials want to take no chances that students may be frightened or alarmed this Halloween.
The threats in Pennsylvania are similar to others spread on social media in several other states.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.