Known as “pocong,” the apparitions are wrapped in white sheets with powdered faces and kohl-rimmed eyes, an Indonesian folklore that represents the trapped souls of the dead.

“We wanted to be different and create a deterrent effect because ‘pocong’ are spooky and scary,” said Anjar Pancaningtyas, head of a local youth group that coordinated the scary tactic with police.

But the early efforts had the opposite effect, as people sought to catch a glimpse of the ghouls — so the organizers have changed their tactics by launching surprise pocong patrols using local volunteers.