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Clowns aren’t just fun and games

Bridget O'Callahan Staff Illustrator
Bridget O’Callahan Staff Illustrator

Clown sightings have popped up across the globe during the past months, and it is no laughing matter. Recent reports of clowns spotted on city streets have made for good headlines and Instagram feeds; while many think these threats are hoaxes and harmless fun, they need to stop because they are consuming police resources and creating fear in the general public.

Many believe the sightings are hoaxes and don’t pose any real threat. I have to admit that I have had a few good laughs with my friends as we have joked about the South Bay Clowns supposedly coming to our town. Unfortunately, it has been carried too far, and many are truly afraid.  We have come to the point where McDonald’s has begun to downplay its historic icon, Ronald McDonald, and Target removed clown masks and costumes from its Halloween shelves.

Social media has exacerbated the problem. From Instagram to Buzzfeed to the Discover feature on Snapchat, current news, trends and topics are instantly viewed by millions of teenagers and young adults. Instagram messages from online sites “we_clownsinla” and “wearecomingtocali” showed pictures of people in clown costumes staring scarily into cameras and included photos of nearby schools and parks.

School administrators have been forced to proactively respond with school alerts and even some closures. Dean of Student Life Regina Rosi sent out an email to the entire school on Thursday, Oct 27 in advance of Pumpkin Day festivities.

“For security and safety reasons, we kindly ask that you not dress as a clown of any kind. If your costume requires a face mask, please wear it for the parade portion only,” Rosi said in the email.

While some may view the South Bay Clowns as harmless fun, I believe that these threats need to end because they are wasting tax dollars  that could better be used elsewhere and stirring fear within the Los Angeles area. When measures must be taken by the school to prevent clown masks from being worn, the humor behind the threats dissolves and we must look at this issue in a more serious light, and push for the threats to end for our safety. π