French town bans clown disguises as scary, violent clowns appear in streets across the country

A small town outside Montpellier in southern France has banned people from disguising themselves as clowns from the streets — especially on Halloween.

This week's decision by Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere of Vendargues follows a series of incidents around France in which people dressed as scary clowns spooked children and in several cases assaulted people. In one incident, an adolescent assaulted a passerby with an iron bar.

The phenomenon spread over the past few weeks on Facebook, with groups tracking clown sightings across the country. But Vendargues, with 6,000 inhabitants, is apparently the first town to ban clowning around.

The rule, posted Tuesday on the town's Web site, says the ban is "absolute" on Friday night, Halloween, and will be in force throughout November for everyone 13 and older.