Ah, All Hallow’s Eve, the spookiest night of the year. Ghouls and ghosts abound to send shivers up your spine. Harley Quinns, zombies, skeletons rule the night. And around the corner lurks a mysterious clown – the unmistakable white face, red nose and grotesque, over-happy expression which has always struck fear into many – but never as much as in 2016, the Year of the Killer Clown.
The craze of the Killer Clowns began in the USA and spread to Canada and Australia before reaching Britain’s shores. While most of these masked menaces seem intent on ‘merely’ scaring rather than hurting people, the police – and the public – are rightly taking the craze seriously. Indeed, some of these clowns are going beyond the ‘harmless’ prank of jumping out at passers-by, with reports of a few holding weapons – something particularly worrying considering many seem to have a disturbing desire to threaten children in particular.
“As always though, the real evil is not on the horror-film style costumes”
All in all, if you were thinking of going as a clown, it’s probably worth going as something else this year.
As always though, the real evil is not in the horror-film style costumes, but what lies within: what sorts of people are driving the craze, and what crimes could it be used for? The NSPCC has warned that, on Halloween, paedophiles could use the costumes to conceal their own twisted desires to get close to children. And while the craze may have been just another bizarre happening to begin with, it has become much more serious than at.
But, criminals aside, why would anyone want to scare other members of the public to death, or even threaten to kill them? If we view the craze as an extreme form of pranking (which isn’t anything new), then it could simply be because we get a thrill from scaring others. And who doesn’t want to exercise power from time to time?
“Maybe the craze is a result of the hedonistic desire to be constantly having new experiences”
But maybe it goes deeper than that. Maybe the craze is partially a result of the hedonistic desire to be constantly having new experiences. Horror stories have been replaced by horror films, and now people are taking this one step further, with twisted individuals seeming to want to be the horror film.
2016 itself has been a bit of a horror film so far, with Brexit, Donald Trump, Syria, the refugee crisis, US racial tensions, countless terror attacks… the list goes on. The Killer Clown craze only adds to the sense that we’re living in a dystopia, and it’s certainly one of the most surreal ‘fads’ in recent memory.
Perhaps it is a culmination of the sense of disorder of the last year, the beckoning call of a new world anarchy writ large. If you went back in time to the comparative Golden Era of 2015 and told someone that, next year, people would be dressing up as clowns and taking to the streets to scare children, they’d laugh in your face. The craze is not just straight out of horror films, but the stuff of nightmares – and maybe almost as disturbing as some of the other events listed above.
Who knows, maybe it’s going to blow over like most crazes. Hopefully in a few decades’ time we’ll be able to look back on 2016 and laugh at the clowns (after all, clowns are meant to be funny). Yet right now there’s terror on the streets of Britain and this year’s October 31st is likely to be even spookier than usual.
Happy Halloween everyone.
Featured Image: Rachel Harrison