PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just weeks before Halloween, officials in Tennessee and other southern states are warning residents about scary clowns.

A tweet from the Tennessee Department of Safety reads, “Watch for clowns in your area—they could be child predators seeking kids.”

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The recent clown attention started in South Carolina after complaints of clowns trying to lure kids into the woods.

“You have to wonder, is it a real threat or is it the fun of the Halloween season?”

Hunter Sanders says, “If you come out of the woods dressed like that and you come across the wrong person who’s got a gun, it could be your life in danger, and that’s not worth a little joke.”

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Police are asking the public to call 911 if they see suspicious activity.