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If you were old enough to have a phone in 2016 you are familiar with the great clown panic. Photos and videos of clowns lurking around flooded the internet and made everyone afraid to go outside at night (Well, it made women more afraid, at least). The big-nosed individuals didn’t have a hard time causing a commotion as all they had to do was dress to the nines in their best clown attire and take a leisurely stroll or even just stand around. As soon as someone could capture it with their IPhone 7, they were viral. 

Sightings were numerous and to account for all of them would make for a much larger article than I intend to write. So let’s do a bit of a highlight reel, shall we?

It seems to have all started in South Carolina where there were several reports of clowns prowling a wooded area behind an apartment complex. A mother complained about said clowns, saying they attempted to lure her son into the woods at night to which the property manager basically responded “Hey lady, don’t let your kid go outside by the woods at night and maybe he won’t be so lureable.” Fair. Other reports from this particular apartment complex ranged in severity from a clown under a street light waving at a woman to clowns with knives and chains offering children money and candy to come with them. This may sound insensitive but if a child goes with an armed clown into the woods because they have a Twix bar, how long were they going to make it anyways? Modern darwinism. (Don’t worry this kid was smart enough to decline.)

Heading north to Green Bay, Wisconsin, footage surfaced of a seemingly subhuman “Gag’s the Green Bay Clown” roaming the streets. People, of course, were hysterical and called for something to be done. Problem is, it isn’t actually illegal to dress up like a clown and walk around; so police really couldn’t do anything. It was soon revealed that Gag’s was a character in a movie and that him terrorizing the streets was for advertising purposes. The movie, funny enough, was about a clown wandering the streets and causing a disturbance. A missed opportunity on their part because they could have said it was for research purposes and applied for a grant.

Now we get a little closer to home with an incident in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. A young girl reports that a little boy ran up to her screaming that he saw clowns eating something in the woods. Not long after a clown started chasing them, cursing at them, and even throwing a stick at them. The clown eventually left them alone retreating back into the woods leaving behind only irreversible psychological damage. 

So you get this gist; scary clowns harass children. But why? Weird things happen all the time but this wasn’t simply a strange occurrence; it was a phenomenon. Well, it depends on who you ask. (After all, this is information from the internet.) Some people call B.S on the whole thing. I mean all you need is one idiot with a camera and one idiot with a clown costume and you can create a fake clown sighting. Which I am sure accounts for plenty of the clown panic. Another opinion is that people were really doing this to scare kids and/or the general public. I also don’t doubt that. People are weird. As far as the idea that murderous clowns roaming the streets-I’m not so sure. As far as I can tell the only people who got hurt were the actual clowns. It was reported that a 14 year old stabbed a 16 year old who was dressed up as a clown trying to scare an acquaintance. (Not sure if they were friends, it’s safe to assume they are not now.) College students being the brightest minds of our generation, were of course involved in this. Upon clown sighting rumors at least 500 Penn State students took to the streets and had themselves a good ole’ fashion “clown riot’. They found no clowns but it would have been a bad day to be a clown if they had. Now, I’m saying anyone deserves to get stabbed or hunted down, especially people who’s prefrontal cortex has yet to fully form. What I am saying is that it all comes back to my original point of modern Darwinism.  When someone dresses up as a scary clown and chases people around or roams the streets menacingly, people tend to respond negatively.

All in all, the clown panic of 2016 (real or not) was a wild ride start to finish. The biggest takeaways are 1.) Don’t dress up as a clown and wander the streets 2.) Don’t allow yourself to be lured by a clown no matter how bad you need a Snickers. Keeping those in mind, you should be fine this Halloween.

Sophie is a Senior education major at the University of Akron. She is passionate about animal, women's, and lgbtq+ rights. She has lived in Akron her whole life and one day wants to teach middle school somewhere warm. In her free time she likes to listen to rock music, workout and drink coffee
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