Creepy clown pranks need to stop

Matthew Reitveld / The Watchdog

Recently there have been reports of people dressed up as clowns and with haunted house worthy clown makeup on their faces trying to lure children into the forest. The so-called clown sightings were first reported in South Carolina, but lately there have been reports all over the East Coast as well as in Portland, Oregon and even Lynnwood, Washington. These sightings have become so common that it has become the subject of internet memes.

Although these people might actually be dangerous, there have been reports of people using the newly escalated fear of clowns to dress up as a joke to scare their friends. Some even go on clown hunts that scare real clowns who work in haunted houses and circuses. I do think that the public should be wary of clown sightings in their area and make sure to keep a close eye on their children, just in case.

At first when I heard about this, I was worried when I first read about the incidents but didn’t really pay attention because the article I was reading said it was only happening in a small town. When news of these sightings started showing more areas being affected, the worry turned into slight fear. I didn’t really believe it wasn’t all a hoax until I saw a video in which two guys were walking in a park and saw one of these clowns. In their stupidity they yelled at the clown who proceeded to turn around and walk towards them with a knife. When the boys started running, the clown pursued.

Of course, this could have been staged. It didn’t look like it was, but either way this whole situation could end up with people getting hurt. According to Time Magazine, no one has been harmed as a result of these sightings and most of them have been pranks or fake reports of sightings.

They have, however, also lead to arrests, school bans on clown costumes and even a mass clown hunt conducted by students at Pennsylvania State University. One man started a “Clown Lives Matter” page on Facebook to spread the word that not all clowns are trying to lure children away. While clowns are getting arrested more often by the police these days, copying the Black Lives Matter movement may be a little bit of a stretch. Clowns don’t get shot by the police, they get arrested. Social media is blowing this up to be a movement rather than an issue. It is the clown creepers and clown hunters that need to stop in this situation, not the police.

Social media has also made speculation in regards to this topic extremely far-fetched. One of the people I have talked to about this is adamant that children have been killed by these clowns and then left in the woods with clown makeup on their faces while others state that people dressing up as clowns is a weird tradition in the town where this started and that news of it has only just now reached the rest of the U.S., prompting the pranks. I even heard that this was a sickness-like frenzy spreading throughout the country. I have not found any evidence to back up any of these claims, so I have no idea how people came up with them, but suffice it to say that most of the people I have talked to are scared of a clown creeping up on them at night.

This whole situation is ridiculous. Not only could there be dangerous people out there dressed as clowns, there is no way to tell which are dangerous and which are merely pranksters and it will be hard to believe someone who reports seeing a clown in the woods. This means that when something serious does occur involving a scary-looking clown, it could be written off as a prank gone wrong. As the optimistic person that I am, I keep thinking that this is all one big ruse and will be over after Halloween, but until it is known for sure what these clowns are doing, I think it would be wise to be a bit more careful around woodsy areas.