Letter From The Editor: “Clownspiracy” is no laughing matter

by Alex Moreno

With Halloween around the corner, dressing in costume would usually be rewarded with smiles and compliments; but fear, nationwide hysteria, arrests, school shutdowns, halts of costume sales, and citywide costume bans are the results of costumes this year. You guessed it; of course I am talking about the clown epidemic.

The craze surrounding clowns originated from reports of individuals dressed as scary clowns attempting to lure children into the woods in Greenville County, South Carolina, near an apartment complex.
The single offputting instance quickly developed into a nationwide frenzy.
The epidemic has even affected mega-corporations, such as, McDonalds and Target.
McDonalds issued a statement saying, “McDonald’s and franchisees in local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful with respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events for the time being.”
Target has “made the decision to remove a variety of clown masks from our assortment, both in stores and online,” also attributing the adaptation to the “current climate.”
Kemper County, Mississippi, banned all clown costumes, masks, and makeup until after Oct. 31 in an attempt to discourage evil clown impersonators.
Clown spottings have been repeatedly reported all across the U.S. and have even spread to Australia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.
The hashtag #IfISeeAClown is trending and has dedicated pages to clown sightings.
The clown spottings have permeated across the nation and throughout Washington State. The clown hysteria is reminding Washingtonians that Halloween is on the way.
The Washington spottings have been on campus at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, on the streets of Tacoma, in multiple locations in the North and South Puget Sound, and even led to a modified lockdown at Rogers High School in Puyallup.
Clown related threats lead to Rogers High School in Puyallup entering a modified lockdown, and even resulted in the arrest of a 17-year-old from the school. The student was charged with felony harassment and false reporting, because of his reports of clowns outside the school and his threatening texts to students claiming to be a malicious clown.
Here in Bellingham Alyse ‘Zig Zag’ Axford and Cameron ‘Ragz’ Stewart provide a clown service under the name of Zigzag and Ragz Z Clowns. They are friendly, highly trained, and professional clowns.
“The thing is, real and professional clowns are trained. These people in the news are just wearing a mask. Professional clowns entertain in a positive way,” Axford said.
Regarding any abnormal changes in costume sales this year, Axford said, “I’ve looked at popular costumes and it’s just regular, fun costumes.”
Stephen King, writer of legendary horror, supernatural fiction, and fantasy novels, wrote It, a novel about a group of kids terrorized by a supernatural being, who usually takes the form of a clown. King tweeted, “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”
Despite all the developing fear and prosecuting surrounding the clown craze, Pierce County spokesperson Ed Troyer told The Tacoma News Tribune: “It’s not illegal to be a clown.”
So #ClownOn

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