Clowns! A favorite theme for children’s birthday parties and Halloween costumes. Over the years, however, the clown costume has changed from the seemingly innocent and happy costume. The rainbow wig, red nose, over-sized shoes, and “happy” makeup has been altered to look like, well, how can I put this? A creepy nightmare!
Creepy Clown Sightings Make Headlines
Clowns have made headlines in the last couple of months but, not in the way one would imagine. Happy clowns making balloon animals at the local carnival didn’t make the news. Instead, creepy, scary clown sightings have been reported since late August – which has presented a huge safety concern and rightfully so.
According to CNN: “These fiendish clowns have reportedly tried to lure women and children into the woods, chased people with knives and machetes, and yelled at people from cars. They've been spotted hanging out in cemeteries and they have been caught in the headlights of cars as they appear alongside desolate country roads in the dead of night.”
Even the King of Horror, Stephen King, had something to say about the situation. On October 3 he tweeted: “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”
The first reported sighting was in late August from a little boy in Greenville, South Carolina. The little boy ran to his mother, Donna Arnold, and told her what he had seen: two clowns in the woods, both brightly dressed and made up. One with a red fright wig and the other with a black star painted on his face. They whispered something to the little boy to lure him into the woods, but they were not successful. The little boy experienced no physical harm and is safe.
This story quickly spread through the surrounding states and abroad. There have been several clown sightings since this sighting in late August. According to CBS News correspondent Don Dahler: “Many have been dismissed by law enforcement as pranks, but more than a dozen people have been arrested in connection with the sightings. Whether they are pranks, threats, or actual sightings, police and other officials have to take them seriously as a potential threat to safety. That’s starting to drain resources from law enforcement agencies, who are also concerned about feeding into hysteria.”
Possible Publicity Stunts?
Rumors have been circulating as to the reason behind all the creepy clown sightings. Some are saying that it could be publicity stunts in relation to two films:
- The remake of the Stephen King film “IT” featuring the famous clown, Pennywise. This film is set to be released next year.
- The second film,“Clown”, hit cinemas earlier this year.
If you’re not familiar with these 2 films, let’s just say that both of these clowns aren’t your typical happy go lucky, balloon animal making clowns. (Warner Bros has recently denied the claims of any possible publicity stunts regarding the film, “IT”).
Other reasons for the clown sightings aren’t quite figured out yet. So, whatever the reasons are behind these creepy clown sightings, it still presents a huge safety concern for children and adults – especially with Halloween just around the corner. Although, we should be extra cautious this year, we can still have a fun and safe Halloween.
Safety Tips for You and Your Family This Halloween
1. Remain vigilant.
- Report any suspicious activity to authorities, including suspicious social media activity.
- DO NOT DRESS UP LIKE A CLOWN.
- Listen to messages from police and school officials.
- DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN DRESS UP LIKE CLOWNS.
- Do not joke or post about clowns in a dishonest way that may waste valuable police and school resources.
2. Walk safely.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run across the street.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
3. Trick-or-treat with an adult.
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
5. Keep costumes both creative and safe.
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
6. Drive extra safely on Halloween.
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Has anyone in your family experienced a clown sighting? We would love to hear from you. Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.