Maine State Police arrested a 31-year-old man reportedly wearing a clown mask and wielding a machete on Tuesday (25 July).
Several residents described seeing the man, identified as Corey Berry of Hollis, in his "creepy clown" costume.
Stephanie Hamlin told the Press Herald she saw him while she was washing dishes at her kitchen sink and gazing out the window. He appeared to have a massive blade swinging where his left arm should have been.
The suspect duct taped the machete to his amputated arm, police said. "He had what I thought was a meat cleaver," Hamlin, 34, said. "It was as if he was in a trance."
Berry hid in the woods after residents reported him to police around 6pm EST (11pm BST). He managed to avoid officers for about an hour before police caught him exiting the woods, CBS News reported.
Maine State Police Trooper Adam Schmidt said Berry was cooperative when he was caught. "He put down the machete when we instructed him to do so," he said.
Police said Berry, who was reportedly intoxicated, told officers he planned to prank a family friend who had children and lived up the road from where he was found.
"I asked 'How old are the other man's children?' and he said less than seven years old," Schmidt said.
Berry was charged with criminal threatening and taken to York County Jail. He was released after posting $200 (£150) bail, according to CBS News.
Residents said Berry was lucky he only faced arrest. Karmen LePage told the Press Herald that he could have been shot by any one of her neighbours, who all own firearms.
"He's not funny," she said. "He needs to think about what he did and what the consequences could have been. We live in the woods, you think we don't have guns? He's damn lucky."
His own neighbour, Bob Rousseau, said he had recently gone through a difficult break-up and had at least one small child. Berry was described as a hard worker who recycled scrap metal for cash.
In 2012, Berry pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of operating under the influence. He was fined $500 (£380) and had his license suspended, the Press Herald reported.