Police spokesman Stefan Dangardt says a passing motorist saw what happened and honked his horn, enabling the boy to run away.
Dangardt said the man also had red hair and a painted white face. The incident happened Thursday in Kumla, about 165 kilometers (105 miles) west of Stockholm. The Aftonbladet newspaper said the man is believed to be in his 20s.
Two years ago, similar incidents were reported in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, leading a Norwegian toy store chain to stop selling clown costumes in its 114 shops.
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