There’s nothing wrong with a bit of clowning around is there? I suppose it depends on who the clown is and what clowning around they are doing! In the news at the time of writing are a number of stories of people dressed as clowns who are deliberately chasing and frightening people, apparently sometimes with weapons (hopefully mock ones) dripping with blood. It is alleged this craze has its origins in America and has now moved to the United Kingdom. I do not know whether that is true. I do not know whether there have been many clown sightings or whether some have been made up. I do not know whether any who do dress up as clowns and chase in this way think they are “clowning around” or whether there is something more threatening and sinister going on.
I do know that some Police forces around the country have been making statements about activities such as this and warning that they do not find actions such as this funny. I am aware of some younger children who are distressed and scared. I have some sympathy for the other news story about the man who is dressing up as Batman and chasing clowns.
It is particularly sad that we are dealing with these stories of clown sightings given the long and noble tradition of clowns. Personally I have not always found clowns hilarious although there have been many occasions when I have found them very funny. I recognise that sometimes clowns can exhibit and represent great sadness and that the International Film Industry has been able to use clowns to create suspense, drama, and fear within films. This hardly helps the clown image!
If this is a craze I guess it will come and go with something else replacing it which will perhaps be more threatening or indeed more benign. In the meantime we may have to be alert for those who want to make mischief or worse. Halloween approaches and some may well use that as an opportunity to cause difficulties or indeed to scare people. Children and vulnerable adults, sometimes already threatened by some of the very scary costumes around, may well fall victim to costumed clowns or those in other costumes. Some of these will only intend to enjoy themselves and have a laugh, but others of will use the cover of darkness (maybe physical and spiritual) to cause havoc.
There will be those in our society that recognise that occasions like Halloween do not really help our society to grow and develop and become wiser or healthier. This is partly because we live in a society now that is hedonistic and individualistic and which wants to indulge in whatever way they find satisfying. There is little thought given to consequences and repercussions for themselves or society. In recognising the unhealthiness of the behaviour of those who think it is good to scare other people and to use something like Halloween to that end there will be those who look for alternatives to Halloween. I am delighted that once again on Portland in Dorset we will be organising a Light Party (see the poster on this blog post). Maybe there is a Light Party near you this year. If so why not think about supporting that rather than Halloween which some use for mischief. We live in a society which can get very confused between right and wrong. Shops using the slogan “Happy Halloween” do not begin to get the contradiction in that. As a society let’s stop clowning around and wise up.