It’s that time of year when young and old don costumes and gather to search for sweets, a party or a devilish prank while publicly shaming all walks of life…er, death. Halloween is a chance to voice your opinion with humor (Trump and Bill Clinton’s wives were everywhere last year), act out a secret swashbuckling fantasy life, or just poke fun at the current and faddish culture in America.
But if you live in Florida, and have a hankering to dress as Pennywise, the freaky evil clown from Stephen King’s blockbuster remake of “It,” think again. Ronald McDonald is also a no-no and any other possible clown persona that crosses your mind.
Do Not Send in the Clowns
Recently, Florida’s Volusia County Sheriff’s Office issued this statement, “Warning to evil clowns and anyone considering creepy clown activity: We will not be there to save you if your intended target defends himself or herself, and you may face other penalties as well.”
They are not clowning around.
Florida is a “stand your ground state,” and I can’t think of a better reason to be strapped with a belt-fed Uzi, or an assault rifle, than a horde of clowns roaming the streets, wearing giant shoes and sporting honking noses and water-squirting lapels, wreaking havoc amongst the citizenry.
In defense of the State’s stance on clowns, Florida has had their fair share of criminal clown activity. A recent incident in Deland has the community on edge:
“The warning was issued after an 11-year-old boy told deputies Monday that he was nearly attacked in Deland by a man dressed as a clown, WESH 2 reported. The boy told deputy Justin Lococo he was riding his bicycle and as he approached Pine Ridge High School, a clown jumped from behind a light pole and bushes and tried to grab him.
The boy used his metal selfie stick to whack the clown multiple times, he said. The clown was described as about 5-foot, 9-inches, and 230 pounds, wearing blue hair and a rainbow painted face.
The clown, the boy said, chased him then tripped and scurried back into the bushes and out of sight.”
It’s quite a dangerous proposition to be a clown in the Sunshine state… you have been warned.
Clowns for $400 Alex
Clowns are downright creepy. And there are scientific reasons why a clown sighting can activate the full-body willies. Just ask Steve Scholzman, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School what causes this deep-seated fear:
“Pattern recognition allows to see when things are recognizable but off just enough to where you take caution,” Scholzman explains. “That’s why a little kid can recognize something as being a little bit dangerous without quite knowing why they know it’s dangerous. They recognize it as familiar but not quite the same as what they’re seeing.”
“Like most monsters, it’s a recognizable shape that’s tweaked. The perpetual smile is by itself is a different type of pattern recognition because we look at people’s expressions to get a sense of what to feel upon seeing them. But a clown doesn’t do anything but smile, so you don’t really know what it’s thinking or feeling. And all of those things are playing on pattern recognition.”
Which is a lot of mumbo-jumbo validating that we have been right to be freaked out by clowns all along. If clowns are to the left of me, and jokers to the right are my options, I’m leaning towards the right.
The Tears of a Clown—Also Disturbing
The so-called Social Justice Warriors have managed to take the fun out of every American Holiday on the books. And Halloween is no different. Many secular institutions are cracking down on costume choices attempting to avoid hurt feelings or stifle creativity.
The University of Texas issued a 29-point list of do’s and do not do’s, and Princeton University, of course, has planned a seminar with students to “engage in a dialogue about the impact of cultural appropriation, Halloween, and why culture is not a costume.” You’d think those smarty-pants students would already know what costumes to avoid, just sayin’.
But for once, I not only agree with my Snowflake citizens, I must thank them for adding clowns to their laundry list of All Hallow’s Eve character avoidances. They are just too creepy.