MURRIETA ( — It’s one thing to see clowns in the movies, like Stephen King’s “It.” It’s another thing to see clowns in your neighborhood.

Patricia Vazquez was with her daughter in the car Tuesday, when she says she saw masked clowns pull up next to her.

“I don’t think it’s funny, especially since people are being harmed in other states with people wearing clown masks,” Vazquez said. “We live in one of the safest cities, and to have it come to our town is kind of terrifying.”

Recently, fears of killer clowns have swept the country on social media with photos of unconfirmed clown sightings and possible hoaxes, even here in Murrieta and Temecula.

“I don’t personally think clowns are scary, but when they have weapons it becomes real,” one Murrieta student said.

A spokesperson with Temecula Valley District spokesperson says in part:

“Consulting intelligence sources have shared that they believe these threats are a form of swatting intended to create panic in the schools. We respect parents’ rights to make decisions regarding their students attendance.”

“Kids make stuff up, so I’m just like, oh, OK, it’s just a joke,” another student said.

Hoax or not, some students plan to stay home on Halloween.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is aware of the clown confusion but says so far it hasn’t had trouble with clowns.

Sightings of scary clowns also were reported Tuesday in Lancaster.

As for clowns in general, even King has weighed in:

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