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Trick or treat?

If this photo advertising the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop’s Haunted Theatre Tour is any indication of what awaits those looking for a good scare during Halloween, my fear of clowns will surely keep me from attending, so enter at your own risk.
TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox

October 26, 2016

Halloween used to be my favorite holiday, but over the past few years, the spooktacular frivolity has gotten old, just like me. Perhaps my case of arrested development has worn off and adulthood is finally setting in, or maybe I’m just too jaded to care. All I know is that even though neighborhoods throughout the Upper Delaware River region are about to be teeming with little ones shrieking with glee while their parents attend more adult-themed festivities, I’m not sure that I’ll even go out to one of the many parties (see page 16) scheduled to occur over the next few nights. For one thing, there are the clowns. Creepy, nightmarish, downright demonic clowns are everywhere this year, and I don’t like it one little bit.

For more than a few months, videos and photos of seriously menacing looking clowns have been “trending” online ( and have even been a topic popping up on the nightly news. Perhaps it’s because of the political climate and the public desire to point fingers at both presidential candidates, where the word “Bozo” has surfaced on more than one occasion. Whatever the reason, it’s freaking me out. Even as a kid, I didn’t like ‘em, and in fact, I know few folks who did. My earliest memory of clowns was (like most of us) at the circus, and the red-nosed, guffawing jerks in rainbow wigs tossing buckets of confetti in my face were scary. And even now, a tiny car filled with balloon animals and those who wield them (let’s face it, they all look like snakes) still makes my skin crawl. In my attempt to unravel the weirdness, I turned to the Internet, where discussion on the subject is rampant. Using “the Google” (as mom was so fond of saying), I discovered that literally tens of thousands are chiming in on the subject, including author Angela Chen ( who may not have soothed my jangled nerves, but has made it clear that I’m not alone with my concerns. In an article titled “The 2016 clown panic: 10 questions asked and answered,” Chen addresses the phenomenon in detail.