EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — The Nick Nackery is filled with masks, creepy dolls and other spooky decor, a store ready for the Halloween season. But the scariest thing in there may surprise some people.

“Interestingly enough, clowns have always been the scariest group of masks we’ve ever had,” Nick Nackery owner Suzy Blesch said.

The clown masks may have red noses and painted lips, but these aren’t your fun clowns that you might see at a birthday party.

“The percentage of people who come through this building and don’t want to walk past, don’t want to look at, don’t want to be near, it’s always the clown masks,” Blesch said.

But it’s not just the Nick Nackery where you can find these scary clowns. It’s a phenomenon that has been popping up around the country, now making it’s way to the Tri-State. Tuesday evening, a woman called 911 with a report of a clown waving a knife near the stop sign of Culver and Second.

“These aren’t your bozo the clown, warm and fuzzy things that kids are used to seeing at the circus,” Evansville Police Capt. Andy Chandler said.

Chandler said the police department has not actually found any of these clowns, but he has heard of the sightings. He said while most of the clowns may just be clowning around, this isn’t a laughing matter.

“It’s not funny because right now, the way the violence is rolling across America, people are seeing someone dressed in a creepy clown type costume jumping out, it could go wrong very quickly,” he said.

“This year, what I’m seeing is an acknowledgment and awareness of the negative things that have occurred with a clown mask being used,” Blesch said.

For Blesch, the clown sightings haven’t hurt her business.

“It’s basically about the same. You still have people who are like, ‘Yeah, but clowns are scary and that’s what I want to do,’ and that’s what they’re doing,” she said. “They will say things like, ‘Oh gee, well I hope nobody thinks I’m that clown.'”

It may be a fun scare, but police are asking the creepy clowns to stay inside – at least until Halloween.