BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - The Belmont Boo Festival has one new rule this year – no adult clown costumes are allowed.
The second annual festival is scheduled to take place at Stowe Park in Belmont on Saturday, October 22. The event is sponsored by the City of Belmont.
At the bottom of this year's event flyer is a warning that reads, "No adult clown costumes will be allowed at this event!"
Brian McGonagle, Interim Director for the City of Belmont Parks and Recreation Department, declined to do an interview about the rule, but did issue a brief statement on the matter.
The statement reads, in part, "We will look to our security and police department officers to supervise park goers throughout the festival. Per our park policies and procedures, individuals who are found to be a threat or public concern to individual safety will be removed."
Clown scares have been popping up all over the country in recent months. Law enforcement agencies have investigated both real and fake "clown sightings."
A man wearing clown make-up was recently arrested in Indian Trail after it was discovered that he was also carrying drugs and a hatchet. He claims he was going to scare his friends.
Sean Morris, owner of Morris Costumes in Charlotte, said he has noticed a spike in sales when it comes to clown costumes.
"This year has been kind of a little out of the ordinary with all the local clown sightings," explained Morris.
Morris said he has seen a 15 or 20 percent increase in clown costume sales this year. He said he understands the clown concerns and hopes everyone stays safe this Halloween.
"I hope this doesn't ruin the clown imagery," Morris said, "but it definitely is something to not take lightly."