There’s nothing like a good prank to scare the crap out of America.

The movie adaption of Stephen King’s It is slated to be released on Friday, bringing with it some good old-fashioned clown hysteria. Just a year after “killer clowns” terrorized suburbia in the U.S., creepy clowns are back, perfectly timed for the lead up to Halloween.

On Tuesday police in Lilitz, Pennsylvania, shared a couple photos to their Facebook page of red balloons that were tied to sewer grates across their small town — a signature move from Pennywise, the clown in It

The cops politely requested that the prank be stopped, admitting they were “completely terrified.” They were good sports about it, but it was clear they did not want this to turn into hysteria. 

So who was the mastermind behind the prank? Was it a marketing campaign for the movie? Was it some serial killer that also loves clowns?

Nah. It was apparently just five teen girls looking to scare the crap out of their classmates. 

After the cops’ Facebook post blew up, Peyton Reiff shared a series of status updates on social media, admitting that she and her friends were the ones behind the harmless prank.

On Facebook, Reiff went into more detail, complete with photos of the girls tying up more than two dozen the balloons to the grates.

On the last night of summer my friends and I were driving at night when I spotted a dim lit sewer drain and I stopped the car and told the girls I have an idea. I explained what I wanted to do and all the girls agreed it was a great idea. So we quickly drove to giant to start our scheme. When we arrived at giant we asked them to blow up 24 red balloons. We then shoved these balloons into my friends small car and drove away. Our plan was to tie red balloons to sewer drains around our piers from school houses to geek them out since the new IT movie is coming out this Friday and we knew kids from our school would know about this! We ended up going back to giant and getting 10 more red balloons and tying them all over town. When we woke up we saw the Lititz Police had responded to the balloons and were frightened which wasn’t our intent but we are glad to see they understood what it meant and got a good laugh out of it! Don’t worry no clowns here in Lititz just 5 teenage girls having fun!

In the post, Reiff says the girls had no intention of scaring the cops, but they appreciated that if gave everyone a good laugh.

We’ve reached out to Reiff for additional comments and details, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.

So what’s scarier: Five teen girls or killer clowns?

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