By Lady Lolita, 13th October 2016

Quit Clowning Around

Unmasking the Bullies

Unmasking the Bullies

It’s late afternoon but it’s already getting dark. The wind howls as you raise the hood of your child’s winter coat, you adjust your scarf and you hold on to her mittened hand. You don’t have time to play in the park after school, not today, today you just want to get back to the warmth and safety of home and shut the door on the world. You cross the road, your house is in sight. Your little girl wants to talk about her day but you keep your head down and hold on to her tiny hand tighter, she doesn’t understand and you don’t want to talk about it. There are footsteps behind you but you won’t turn around, you daren’t.

Fear is mounting in your chest, your stomach twists and your heart pounds. You fear the unseen, and more than that you fear for your child. The footsteps get closer and you watch as your puffs of breath get faster and heavier with each step you take, dissipating into the dusky night air. Your little girl is struggling to keep up with you, your arm’s twisted back as you drag her along behind you.

“Why are you rushing, mummy?” she asks, her tiny voice lost in the sound of muffled laughter behind you. The footsteps are gaining on you now as you fumble with the latch of your front gate. Then your daughter turns around and she screams. A scream so shrill and so violent that the world stands still for a moment, a scream that tells you that your baby won’t sleep in her own bed tonight. Not for a long time. Her scream tells you that the one thing you feared, that unimaginable sight you had been warned about time and time again, was now upon you. The clowns had found you, and their grotesque masks will haunt your nightmares for eternity.

The masked man runs off laughing and no harm has been done. Except it has, your little girls is standing in a puddle of her own urine and she is shaking, clinging on to your legs sobbing ragged tears of fright into your jeans. You watch helplessly as the clown runs back towards the primary school, back to the shadows to pray on another unsuspecting child.

This story may well sound like something from a Stephen King novel or a gory horror film, but unfortunately it’s a scene that has been playing out across neighbourhoods in the USA since mid-August… and as Halloween approaches copycat pranksters have started doing the same across Europe.

If you are a mother or a newspaper reader or even a social media addict then you won’t have been able to avoid the countless news articles about men in clown masks terrorising their local communities, especially kids and their parents. The hapless father in the US who thought it was funny to drive behind the school bus,in which his own son was sat, while wearing a clown mask and was duly arrested for being a ‘public nuisance’. The clowns in the woods. The clown holding a machete outside the school gates. The pregnant woman that went into premature labour because she was scared senseless by a scary clown. The emails headmasters are sending out to parents asking them to be vigilant of masked strangers. The children that are no longer allowed to walk home alone. The Halloween prank that is really not that funny.

Let me put your mind at rest.

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There are no killer clowns on the loose, or at least it is not an organised crime movement. The men and teens in masks are just that, normal men… well, men that think this kind of stupidity is funny. These men were living in your street and hanging out at the bus stop last month too, except this time they are masked and feeling more powerful, high on their pranking jinx and ability to elicit a reaction in a stranger. Safe in the knowledge that ‘everyone else on YouTube is doing it so it’s okay’. It’s not.

Or at least that’s all it was last week. At the time of writing this article (1.45pm, 12th October 2016) news has just come in that a 28 year old male in Lancashire, England, was stabbed in the hand at a cash point while trying to defend himself from a man wearing a scary clown mask and brandishing a ten inch knife. Does this mean bad men have turned mad men and are now using the masks as a great excuse to do what they have always done, or has the hysteria incited a whole new sweep of violence across the nation?


The Clown Hysteria of 2016 has caused a lot of fear – but inevitably it is now also causing a worldwide backlash which has predictably resulted in vigilante groups springing up across schools and university campuses around the world. Like any viral hype that threatens the safety of our children and confirms our biggest nightmares (Coulrophobia, a deep-seated fear of clowns, is a common phobia) the stories have spread globally and spread fast, along with its accompanying hysteria. And where there is hysteria there is news (so the media isn’t stopping). And where there is a fad there are bored teenagers wanting to get their kicks, and violent men wanting a great excuse to hide behind a mask.

It’s bad enough worrying about our own safety – but what kind of pathetic person doesn’t have the guts to even show their face when intimidating innocent people?

Only the weak need that the thrill of scaring others. Most of the masked clowns probably don’t have bad intentions, and if they do then they probably had them before when they weren’t dressed as Ronald McDonald and didn’t look so freaky, so they themselves don’t need to be feared any more than normal. What is truly terrifying is that anyone would think scaring children and threatening communities is amusing. Halloween is around the corner, masks are being sold up and down the high street and any arsehole that wants a cheap laugh only has to stick a clown mask on and walk around the streets waiting for people to cry out in terror. It’s just too easy.

And what about the innocent clowns? The ones that have had their Halloween clown costumes planned for weeks and could potentially get attacked for happily making their way to a party at the end of the month? Has what originally started as a group of masked idiots in South Carolina, started an unnecessary sequence of events that has already resulted in someone getting seriously hurt and will merely escalate into a much larger bloody battle of good versus masked evil?


Or do we only have fear itself to fear?

Yes and no. The chances are that you are more likely to be involved in a car accident than come across a man dressed as a clown, let alone be attacked by one. But yet we are still living in fear. We fear our children being frightened… because anything that makes our kids scared makes us ready to flee or fight. And we are fearing our own vulnerability, because any woman that has ever had to walk down an unlit street at night fears for her safety… and if she can’t see someone’s face, then even more so.

So along with feeling fearful we are also getting angry, angry at strangers for making us feel unsafe and angry at the fact that we are now having to worry about how to deal with this. This unnecessary craze is making us face our own weaknesses.

So if you are a mother and you are worrying about this then the solution is threefold:

1: Tell your children that there are stupid people out there at the moment who think it is funny to put masks on and scare kids, but that they are just masks. They won’t do anything and they are not to be feared. End the fear and hysteria among your children, therefore creating less chance of Chinese Whispers in the playground tomorrow. There is no need for our kids to lose sleep over a rumour.

2: Don’t spread any more articles on social media about people dressed up as clowns. Don’t spread mass hysteria or fear, you are making the situation worse by making stressed mums more stressed and giving bored young men bad ideas. By spreading the hype you are simply helping newspapers make money and websites up their click rates for tapping into people’s fears. You want to share something? Share articles like this where people stand up to nonsense, not exacerbate it.

3: If you’re unfortunate enough to see one of these clowns and they are not wielding a knife (let’s hope after the international backlash that is mounting innocent pranksters will put down their masks) walk straight past, even smile at them if you want. It’s not so much fun if people aren’t scared, you’re not going to get attacked for walking by and saying hello. Don’t show them your fear and don’t show your children that you are bothered. If you don’t care and you don’t react, it’s not fun for them. Then if their presence is threatening report them to the police.

Like any bully they are only as powerful as you let them be.

That is exactly what these clowns are – big bullies. They are people who don’t have the strength to be themselves. Who, because of their lack of self worth or boredom, get a thrill from making others scared. Because they don’t have the power in themselves to feel good about themselves, so they seek to make others feel bad. To rise, they have to watch others fall.

Well this mama ain’t no victim and neither are you!

You know what happens when you do something to someone that they don’t like? They fight back.
Tables turn. People are getting angry and matters are escalating. It’s time to keep calm and treat this new wave of ridiculousness as the stupid craze that it is.

For the sake of all our sanity please stop spreading the hype and stop being scared. Fear begets fear, and fear is the fuel that will drive these bullies to take their pranks to the next level. Like anything in life that you are scared of, rise above it. Shrug it off. Shake it off. Ignore it. Bullies never win, they either get bored or they get what they deserve.

Here’s hoping that Halloween is about to get a lot less scary…

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