Fact Check

Creepy Clowns Plan Halloween Night Purge, Cops Warn 'Stay Inside'?

No, the Department of Homeland Security hasn't advised that a Halloween curfew be implemented over a purported creepy clown Halloween purge.

Published Oct 20, 2017

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Police warned citizens to "stay inside" on Halloween night because of information that "creepy clowns" planned a "purge night."

On 17 October 2017, Action News 3 published what looked like a news article about authorities' warnings regarding "creepy clowns" and a "Halloween night purge":

“If you value the safety of yourself and your children, stay inside on Halloween night,” warned the Sgt. William Stein during a meeting with the Department of Homeland Security. “We have escalated these threats to acts of domestic terrorism and are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to keep Americans safe this Halloween season.”

According to Stein, several threats about a “Halloween night purge” have been sent to schools, businesses, and even churches all across the United States. Local and state authorities are urging parents to not take their children out on October 31. Concerned parents are pushing for a mandatory curfew on the 31st which will begin at 5 PM. Others say this should not ruin their children’s Halloween tradition ... As of now, there has been no enforced curfew for the evening of October 31. However, Homeland Security is urging the president to sign an emergency declaration for this 5 PM curfew. This is a developing story and we will keep you updated as events progress.

Although purge rumors and creepy clowns have both created social media panics more than once in the past, neither element has ever manifested in any measured danger, and creepy clowns become a pervasive motif around Halloween. Not only is Action News 3 a known fake news purveyor, it is not even the first to claim a Halloween purge involving creepy clowns is imminent. In 2016, a different fake news site spread an identical rumor (and no clowns participated in any purges).

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.