By now, you’ve likely seen all the creepy headlines. Maybe your kid’s even come home scared out of their mind from all the stories swirling around school about people dressing up in carnival garb and a full face of make-up before popping out of the woods.
I’m talking about the clowns, people. WHAT’S WITH THE CLOWNS?!
What started off as a few rumored sightings of clown impersonators several months ago seems to have spiraled into a frightening game of ongoing threats and attacks.
Schools are going into lockdown mode, children are allegedly being lured into the woods, and according to the New York Post, a woman in Reading was attacked on her front porch last Friday, after stepping out for a cigarette. Earlier this week, a 7-year-old boy in Michigan reported being cut by a knife-weilding clown who came up to him while playing in a field. And just yesterday, subway riders in New York City were reportedly terrified when someone dressed in a clown mask stood in the doorway of the subway car, preventing them from exiting.
Sending everyone into further panic this week was also this creepy video of a knife-weilding clown emerging from the woods and coming towards two joggers:
Oh, and then there’s this other viral video of a clown coming out of the woods and scaring the crap out of another couple:
For the record, there’s been tons of speculation that the videos and stories themselves are all part of a huge hoax. But regardless — for parents, this is no laughing matter. In fact, plenty of us are getting downright pissed.
“You dress like a clown, I’m going to take you down,” one mom told me at my daughter’s dance studio last night. And her sentiments were echoed by plenty of others I chatted with.
“Oh the clowns are definitely going down,” added another. “This is not your typical Ronald McDonald clown we’re talking about, they look more like Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th and they are scaring the crap out of all of us.”
And while these creepy clown attacks have been freaking people out for months now, inching closer to Halloween only ups the ante.
Just yesterday, the Roselle Park Police Department in New Jersey requested that parents not let their children dress up as clowns for Halloween. “Residents may be extra sensitive to ‘evil or creepy’ clown attacks leading up to Halloween,” the department said in a statement to CBS News New York. But Roselle Park isn’t alone — school districts all over are banning clown costumes for Halloween day too, and some have even made the choice to get rid of them permanently.
In my own town in Washington state, teens are avoiding a very popular Halloween haunted house because they’re concerned that they won’t be able to determine who’s part of the event and who might pose a threat.
One mom I recently talked to said she’s had to walk her 13-year-old son to his bedroom at night for the last week after he watched a news report about the attacks. Another dad I spoke with said his 11-year-old daughter won’t go into the Halloween costume stores anymore because of her own fears that she’ll be attacked.
I work as a high school counselor by day, and I can tell you firsthand that older kids may innocently joke about these “clown gangs” to their friends, but quickly turn somber once they realize these threatening clowns are a real thing. Many of these high schoolers are avoiding going out at night and some are already talking about foregoing Halloween parties for fear of running into Bozo the clown. “It’s freaking me out,” one 16-year old student told me. “I have always been scared of clowns, but now I am terrified.”
My own children have been coming home from elementary school asking if clowns are going to “get them” — and they are only 8 and 6 years old. In fact, as I type this, my 6-year-old son is giving my daughter a lecture on what she should do if she sees a clown: “I’m not kidding Hanna, if you see a clown, no matter where you are, scream as loud as you can. This is no kidding matter.”
He also told her to kick that silly clown in an area that might make his red nose pop off, but we’ll save a lecture on that one for another day.More On