With creepy clowns popping up all over the world in the last few months, at least 40 states in the US have been affected in one way or another. Public schools are receiving threats left and right from supposed clowns. Police stations across the US and abroad are overwhelmed by reports of sinister clown sightings. Many of these reports are second-hand, and there have been very few actual arrests.
Most notably, upwards of 500 students at Penn State Main Campus went on a “clown hunt” after students claimed to have seen some creepy clowns. Members of the mob took baseball bats and other weapons and crowded the streets until early in the morning. No one is certain whether or not there were any actual clowns, as none of the reports were first-hand, but there certainly was a stir.
Meaghan Nelson, a freshman at Penn State Main Campus, said that the episode was “really scary because kids went out with weapons to kill the clowns.” She described the night as “just awful.”
Rumor has it that the supposed clowns may have been students involved in a hazing ritual, but this has not been confirmed. Nevertheless, creepy clowns are finding themselves in handcuffs, and the reports keep piling up.
“What was once a comical publicity stunt has gone too far, and now the safety of the performers and the witnesses are all at risk,” Etown senior Brandon Diaz said.
Diaz isn’t the only one who is genuinely concerned about the clown situation. Several students suggested that their reactions to a creepy clown might be involuntarily violent.
What would you do if you were walking alone at night, and a clown jumped out of a bush? Most students predicted that fists would fly in this situation. This has serious implications during the Halloween season. Those who attempt practical jokes might face real consequences.
This was the case for a 16-year-old in Berlin. The anonymous teenager dressed as a clown, wielded a hammer and attempted to scare a group of acquaintances. One of his victims, a 14-year-old, stabbed him out of fear. He was taken to a hospital. His current condition is unknown.
With costume season in full swing, the levels of fear seem to be rising. “Some small children are very afraid,” first-year Carly Lepley said. “They are afraid to leave their houses, and it’s affecting them academically because they can’t focus.”
Unfortunately, the world is not a circus, and young students should not be terrified when walking to their bus stops.
Campus Security recognizes our anxiety. In regards to the rest of the Halloween season, Director Andrew Powell suggests wearing a costume that “doesn’t restrict movement or eyesight,” preferably something reflective. He also strongly discourages wearing any clown-related costumes to avoid unnecessary panic.
Assistant Director Dale Boyer reminds students not to violate disorderly conduct rules. Carrying a weapon or attempting to scare others could result in charges, regardless of the costume involved. “If you are carrying a machete, I really don’t care what you’re wearing,” Boyer said.
As always, Campus Security will be available at “0” or 717-361-1000. During an emergency, students should call Ext. 1111 or 717-361-1111. Boyer urges all students to simply “be safe, be responsible and use common sense” during the holiday time.
First-year Lauren Shakes thinks that common sense is indeed at the forefront of this issue. She doesn’t understand why the creepy clowns won’t hang up their noses already.
“People need to stop making problems for themselves in their own neighborhoods and instead focus themselves on doing something to better their communities,” Shakes said.
I am inclined to agree with Shakes. As someone who hides under blankets during horror movies (or, for that matter, watches Pixar movies instead whenever possible), I can’t wait for the sightings to stop. There’s a reason that people like me don’t buy tickets to haunted attractions. Well, actually, there are two reasons: First, I’m desperately broke. Second, creepy things just aren’t for me. I have lots of irrational fears, and I would prefer that my fears remain irrational.
It is bad enough that I can’t turn on cable television for the month of October. What’s next? Zombies on the loose? Mummies? Let us hope that creepy clowns go out of style as soon as possible.