Clown Hysteria Has Gone From Funny to Alarming


Cara Zambrano, Contributing Writer

In late August, reports emerged from South Carolina of clowns luring children into the woods. Ever since, modern jesters dressed as scary clowns have made appearances in the most random locations, evoking the most bizarre descriptions, and nobody understands why. While their purpose is unknown, it is a few weeks until Halloween and the craze is probably pranksters motivated by the response they receive on social media. However, it would be very sensible for the jokes to end. Not only are they ruining the holiday, but the situation is becoming dangerous — including for the clowns themselves.

This increase in inappropriate clown sightings has sparked a hysteria in people who are afraid of clowns, like this writer. Halloween has never been particularly enjoyable for us coulrophobics, but this year, besides having to face all the costumed characters, we also must be on the watch for the inescapable clowns. The unknown motive behind these sightings make imaginations run wild, with some even wondering if these clowns could commit or have already committed crimes. While there is no concrete evidence that this is true, the cases have become so widespread that police departments have urged people to remain calm. Even the king of horror himself, Stephen King, tweeted about the hysteria, suggesting it was light-hearted fun.

After King’s comment, many people wondered if these sightings were just a commercial stunt for some new book or movie, like his renowned clown-based horror novel “It.” Many people, however, do not agree with King’s thoughts on the subject. For example, the fear of these red-nosed people caused 500-1,000 students from Penn State to hunt down a clown that was seen nearby. This hints at the danger of dressing as a clown on Halloween this year, and the many people who are planning on doing just that should strongly reconsider. This riot of college students running around campus chanting expletives is not a solution to a problem; it is a consequence, and a very extreme and concerning one.

This cartoonish trend was funny at first, but after dozens of sightings, it has overstayed its welcome. Even McDonald’s announced that it would limit appearances by Ronald McDonald due to the panic. Perhaps no law has been broken throughout the whole ordeal, but it is only a matter of time.There are people with a legitimate fear of clowns, a group only growing in size thanks to the recent craze. But even more worrisome, as recent events have shown, is the real threat to the safety of those in the costumes. Everyone deserves to enjoy a Halloween free of the clown hysteria consuming cities around the world.

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Email Cara Zambrano at [email protected]