From Connecticut to California, creepy clowns are a national problem. It all started in August in Greenville, South Carolina where, according to Vocativ, the local police received reports of a group of people dressed up as clowns attempting to lure kids into the woods. (One rogue clown in the same area reportedly waved at a woman from the street; she waved back.)

Since then, creepy clowns have been a trending topic both in the news and on social media, with 23 states now reporting some type of unusual clown activity. While it sounds like a story pulled from your own personal nightmares, the trend is even more frightening to members of the World Clown Association, a worldwide organization for professional clowns, who are disturbed by the fact that these hellraisers are being referred to as “clowns” at all.

WCA president Randy Christensen took to social media to address the growing creepy clown concern with a three-minute video, aimed at his fellow clowns, in which he made it clear that, “Whoever is doing this crazy stuff is not a clown. This is somebody that’s trying to use a good, clean, wholesome art form and then distorting it. This is not clowning, this person is not a clown."

Christensen urged his red rose-wearing brethren to, “Go out and provide a positive image of clowning. Show them what it is really all about. Gain their confidence, make them enjoy it, make them laugh and they will come to realize that all clowns are not a scary-type character.” Try telling that to a coulrophobe.

[h/t: Vocativ]