New York

Crying inside? Creepy craze no joke for real clowns

  • Cyrus Zaveih, also known as Cido the Clown, poses for a photo, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. A spate of scares involving people doing menacing things while dressed in clown costumes has been no laughing matter for real clowns. Some clowns who perform at parties and other private events complain that bookings have fallen off amid creepy clown sightings, some of which have been revealed to be hoaxes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Cyrus Zaveih, also known as Cido the Clown, poses for a photo, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. A spate of scares involving people doing menacing things while dressed in clown costumes has been no laughing matter for real clowns. Some clowns who perform at parties and other private events complain that bookings have fallen off amid creepy clown sightings, some of which have been revealed to be hoaxes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cyrus Zaveih, also known as Cido the Clown, applies his make-up, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. A spate of scares involving people doing menacing things while dressed in clown costumes has been no laughing matter for real clowns. Some clowns who perform at parties and other private events complain that bookings have fallen off amid creepy clown sightings, some of which have been revealed to be hoaxes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Cyrus Zaveih, also known as Cido the Clown, applies his make-up, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. A spate of scares involving people doing menacing things while dressed in clown costumes has been no laughing matter for real clowns. Some clowns who perform at parties and other private events complain that bookings have fallen off amid creepy clown sightings, some of which have been revealed to be hoaxes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cyrus Zaveih, also known as Cido the Clown, poses for a photo, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. A spate of scares involving people doing menacing things while dressed in clown costumes has been no laughing matter for real clowns. Some clowns who perform at parties and other private events complain that bookings have fallen off amid creepy clown sightings, some of which have been revealed to be hoaxes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Cyrus Zaveih, also known as Cido the Clown, poses for a photo, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. A spate of scares involving people doing menacing things while dressed in clown costumes has been no laughing matter for real clowns. Some clowns who perform at parties and other private events complain that bookings have fallen off amid creepy clown sightings, some of which have been revealed to be hoaxes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)  (The Associated Press)

Send in the frowns.

This year's nationwide creepy clown craze has become a nightmare before Halloween for actual, working clowns. They say their bookings at parties and other events have dropped sharply, even after many of the social media-fueled scary clown sightings have turned out to be hoaxes.

Some professional clowns fear going out with their greasepaint makeup and red noses will make them a target of police, or even marauding mobs who take to the streets on so-called "clown hunts."

The World Clown Association — comprised of more than 2,000 members in 30 countries — has been flooded with calls from scared performers. It's been sending out tips suggesting clowns change into their costumes when they arrive at a party or consider performances in which they appear without clown makeup.