Costumed street characters, knock-offs of popular television and cartoon personalities, have been popping up in the news lately because of confrontations with tourists. In Times Square there have been reports of multiple arrests of the costumed creatures — from Spider-Man, to Elmo, to even Iron Man—stemming from their disorderly conduct on the streets.
These street characters are typically unlicensed and while they are not allowed to charge to take pictures with tourists, they do so just for tips. Many street characters have defended their actions as a first amendment right, and they certainly are in a way iconic to popular tourist destinations like Times Square.
Such characters can also be rented for children’s parties, as part of services that are often provided by agencies that specialize in kid events and clowning.
But we’re not so sure if we’d want these guys at our kids’ parties. Apart from how unpleasant it is to be harassed by Elmo for tips, these unofficial knock-off costumes are often pretty scary too.
Here is a compilation of some super creepy knock-off characters. Would you let these characters hug your child?