Some Shriners back out of parade amid creepy clown reports

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Some members of a Shriners clown group are backing out of a Maryland parade appearance amid a rash of creepy clown reports in several states.

Tom Holland of the Cumberland-based Ali Ghan Shriners club said Wednesday that some members of his clown unit won't march in the Oct. 29 Alsatia Mummers' Parade in Hagerstown.

He says the unit has about 15 active members, and some, including Holland, feel uncomfortable about participating.

He says they're not out to scare people — they just want to make children smile and raise money for Shriners hospitals.

Since August, people in states including South Carolina, Maryland and Georgia have reported scary or suspicious encounters with people dressed like clowns, spreading fear through several communities.

Police say some of the reported sightings have been hoaxes.