If a clown popped out from behind a bus and offered you a private lesson, would you say yes? Or would you run screaming in the other direction?
Students in Singapore have been getting a crash course in stranger danger ahead of Halloween after a marketing campaign backfired.
"People dressed as clowns have been seen loitering around primary schools asking students to follow them," Tan Chuan-Ji, Singapore's Speaker of Parliament, wrote on Facebook. "Whoever is doing what I assume to be some viral marketing nonsense, stop it!"
Several people shared photos of one particular clown on social media, triggering outrage online.
Speech Academy Asia, an organization that helps people improve their public speaking skills, said it hired the clown as a "promoter" in what might be the year's most disastrous marketing campaign.
"We would like to extend our sincere apologies for the cause of concern over the safety of your children," the company said on Facebook.
The academy's director, Kelvin Tan, told the Straits Times that there weren't bad intentions behind the stunt.
"There was no evil intention behind the costumes and we sincerely apologize for it," he said. "We will not do it again."
Creepy clowns had their moment back in 2016 when pranksters would dress up as carnival killers and scare passersby after dark. It happened in many different countries around the world, including Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and even Singapore.
The trend died out after Halloween five years ago.
Here's hoping that people find some better costume ideas for Halloween 2021.