Just Clowning Around?


Photo courtesy of davocano

Scary clown sightings are spreading terror

It is a dentist’s favorite time of the year: October. Millions of children worldwide will soon be eating pillowcases full of candy containing absolutely no nutritional value and–most frightening–enough sugar to rot their teeth.

While many parents will fear this age-old reality later this month, many more will be afraid of a new trend gaining ground in America: scary clown sightings. This is perhaps one of the most notable Halloween movements in recent history.

Clowns are already perceived as being terrifying by many, but this new phenomenon is just as alarming. What started off as reports of clowns attempting to lure children into the woods has turned into an ongoing prank by teens.

The most perplexing question Americans have about this trend is simply ‘why are people dressing up as clowns and participating in this prank?’

But it isn’t that simple.

In Greenville, South Carolina, during late August, police were informed of a person in a clown costume allegedly enticing children to follow them into the woods. The police later investigated and discovered a man-made trail in the woods where the threat was called in. No further clues were found, and it largely was dismissed.

However, reports of similar sightings began to spread.

The most recent example comes from Ohio where a Twitter user pretending to be a clown threatened to have a school shooting within their district.

But to say that all of these clown sightings have featured criminal motives would be a lie; many sightings have been harmless.

It is largely unknown as to what the motives are for these recent clown appearances.
It is largely unknown as to what the motives are for these recent clown appearances.

In early October, reports surfaced of clown sightings on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s campus. Despite fear from residents and students, no criminal action was reported.

Springfield, Missouri, has also experienced some clown pranking.  While police initially thought the sighting was threatening, it was later discovered that it was a harmless prank by a group of friends.

As you can see, it is largely inconclusive as to whether the goal is criminal activity or if they are just for fun. However, here at Apple Valley High School, students have strong opinions on the motives behind this trend.

Sophomore Montana Helling said, “Clown pranking started off as just pranking, but I feel that [it] is an easier way for other sorts of predators to commit crimes as well.”

Sophomore Allison Sullivan, meanwhile, noted, “People that are dressing up as clowns just like the fact that they can scare people and be on social media while hiding their real identity.”

Senior Zach Crowley echoes that sentiment, noting, “I think that it’s obviously just a prank, but people seem to be blowing their motives out of proportion.”

Regardless of your beliefs on the motives behind this phenomenon, be aware of your surroundings this Halloween, because there is no clear cut reason behind these clown sightings. While an innocent prank to some, clown impersonations have caused terror for many all around the country.

Hopefully this Halloween the only truly fearful thing is the realization that your family’s dentist will soon be relishing in a spike of business, not a creepy clown sighting.