Remember when clowns were funny? People hired them for parties and events to make children laugh and they’d come out between the trapeze artists and fire-eaters at the travelling circus as some comic relief.
Now it seems these face-painted, long-shoed, and noisy-nosed characters will be eternally linked with being scary, creepy and potentially homicidal.
The clown phobia, or coulrophobia as it’s officially called in psychological circles, is getting so intense at schools now that some of our educational institutions are having to ban kids from dressing up as one.
Of course this is all following the recent creepy clown craze that has migrated from the US to Australia.
There have been many reports from around Australia of people dressed as “killer clowns” loitering around schools, chasing cars and lurking where kids play, as well as several arrests. Aussie social media clown-spotting and chasing pages have sprung up, and there have also been reports of vague vigilante style responses.
While it does seem to have died down a bit, the unrelenting fear apparently has remained, particularly among kids (and understandably). And with Halloween in a couple days, the fear is resurging.
So it’s been reported that some schools, several of which celebrate Halloween with fetes and discos, have felt the need to enforce a ban.
And footage like this that’s turned up on social media does nothing to promote the clowns as friendly and funny fellows.
Banning clown costumes is not really new at schools.
The primary my kids attended had been prohibiting clown costumes for years – yet, interestingly, it ran a circus dress-up day every year at which kids could come as drugged-out lions or abused elephants but not as happy faced clowns with water-spitting flowers because at least one of the 400 kids had a clown phobia.
And clown fear is not new either – hence the special medical term. A UK professor who specialises in “clowning culture”, Andrew Stott, told The Telegraph that: “Clowns have always been associated with danger and fear, because they push logic up to its breaking point.”
And they do wear really, really creepy make-up…