Quit clownin’ around

One of the oddest and most unexpected phenomenons has befallen the United States in the past few weeks: killer clowns. Even just mentioning these usually innocent entertainers is enough to strike fear into the hearts of a good chunk of the population. With the influx of deliberately creepy clowns in our streets and neighborhoods, that fear has further skyrocketed.

One of the culprits for the promotion of this phobia is Stephen King’s novel and film adaptation, “It.” However, the fear of these pale-faced and colorful entertainers goes beyond a single movie. From serial killer John Wayne Gacy (the original “Killer Clown”) to regular circus clowns, coulrophobia has became a creepily prevalent phobia.

While most clowns are of the non-dangerous variety, there have been a crop of intentionally creepily dressed clowns lurking at night in generally low-populated areas intending to scare or even attack their victims.

Although, it seems that most these clowns give chase when spotted without the intention to harm, some are described as violent and dangerous. One of the most disturbing reports came out of South Carolina where clowns have been attempting to lure children into the woods. As a result, these incidents have ignited widespread panic across the country.

Due to the growing fear towards clowns, more seem to be popping up for the sake of trying to scare people for Halloween jokes. This is not only dangerous for the victims, but also for those irresponsibly dressed-up clowns.

With more and more news stories of genuinely violent clowns emerging, everyone seems to be more weary. Unfortunately, a UK boy required stitches after an encounter with a clown. Many people are ready and willing to make the first attack on even non-threatening clowns.

The current climate of apprehension surrounding clowns is bound to create irresponsible behavior and anger. One clown sighting at Penn State University caused mass hysteria as nearly 6,000 students formed a mob with the intention of finding the clown and putting an end to his reign of terror in the area. Moreover, there were reports of this specific clown trying to lure children.

This is just one of many reports of people intentionally looking for and “hunting” the clowns. However, this is an expected development. When a population feels threatened and afraid by an anonymous group of people with the intention to scare or even harm, there will be an eventual backlash against the antagonistic group.

So, here is a key piece of advice: no matter what, do not dress up as a clown this year for Halloween or at least until the clown problem subsides. Moreover, do not dress up as a joke. You are putting yourself and others in harm’s way. This clown craze is not worth your safety and the safety of others.