Kolmården Zoo, on the Baltic coast near Norrköping, decided to remove clown performances from its Halloween pageant after customers got spooked by the “killer clown” craze which swept Europe in October.
“Our guests got in touch and asked whether we were going to have clowns because their children were afraid… and after that the decision was easy,” Mattias Zingmark, head of marketing, told Sveriges Radio.
Zapp the clown, who was due to play a significant role in the Halloween performance, has been written out of the script and the actor given another role. “As an author I love to solve problems, so that’s exactly what I went and did,” said scriptwriter Kim Andersson.
He said that the Zapp character had now been replaced with a less-threatening mime.
“We have a huge number of artists in [scary] make-up, actors and other extras who will create mystery so it’s obviously a balancing act,” Zingmark said of the changes.
Any clown masks spotted in the zoo would be removed from customers, he added.
“We will take away all scary masks from the park, no matter who is wearing them.”
This is the fifth year running that the Zoo has put on the event, which includes a ghost and zombie safari, a Halloween feast and a Halloween disco. It began on Wednesday and runs until Sunday night.
The “killer clown” or “creepy clown” craze emerged in the US in the summer and has spread rapidly in Sweden, with several people being injured by the unsettling pranksters.