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Oz Ronald off McLeash despite clown scare

AAP logoAAP 12/10/2016 Tacey Ferrier and Darren Cartwright

Ronald McDonald is laying low in the US as the creepy clown craze rolls around the globe, but the Australian arm of the fast food chain says there's no such restrictions on him here.

The craze has caused its fair share of cold shivers up spines in Australia, as pranksters slip into horrific rubber masks and blood-red wigs to scare the pants off unsuspecting strangers.

In a media report out of New York, McDonald's said Ronald was keeping a low profile and the company was being "thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events".

It didn't provide any other details about how often its red-haired mascot makes appearances, and how that might change.

As for the Australian arm of the company, a spokeswoman denied there were any restrictions on the world's most recognisable children's clown.

"It's business as usual in Australia," she told AAP on Wednesday.

The social media craze has been far from funny to some, including a woman who was alone in her car at a McDonald's drive-through in country Victoria when a man dressed as a clown allegedly threatened her with an axe on Sunday morning.

A 23-year-old man could be jailed if he's convicted of charges expected to include assault, weapons, public order and disguise offences.

The Moe community has banned anyone from dressing as a clown at an upcoming Halloween event for kids in the wake of the woman's scare.

Organisers have vowed to call in the police if anyone defies the ban.

"If we have a scary clown here, is he a benign clown or is he one of the idiots that's going to cause trouble?" Kevin Reardon asked.

Police elsewhere across Australia have also taken calls about sinister clowns lurking about.

In Queensland, a 15-year-old boy who said he wanted to freak out his sisters is facing weapon and public nuisance charges after he was allegedly spotted in a clown mask and carrying a knife in suburban Brisbane on Monday night.

And one schoolboy from central Queensland says he's now sleeping with a knife under his bed after being followed by a machete-wielding clown.

Jaiden Crane says he was walking home from a friend's house in Gladstone last week when he saw the clown, who chased him while scraping a machete along the ground.

"I was pretty mortified, I didn't get any sleep that night," he told the Gladstone Observer.

"I'm pretty sure if you dress up and you've got a machete, that would suggest that you would want to hurt someone pretty badly -- like kill them or something."

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