Halloween is a time for mild scares and ghoulish sights. Fake tombstones, spider webs are just part of the spooky scenery in October. Fear and fright have been taken a step further this year with the appearance of creepy clowns showing up all around the world—including right here in Oakland. At first, these clowns seemed to be part of a joke or even a publicity stunt, but their actions in some instances, appear more sinister.
Even if you don’t have a clown phobia, it’s still normal to feel a little worried. Your kids, too, may feel scared by all the creepy clowns reported in the news. Here’s what to tell them and how to keep them safe.
Make Life Business as Usual
Match your response to your kid’s level of concern. The clown situation probably isn’t even on the radar for most children. They may have heard about it at school or seen it on the news, but it likely won’t be a big source of fear. If your child is afraid or happens to have a clown phobia, which is where you can use advanced fear-busting techniques. But if you convey a calm tone and don’t freak out, your child probably won’t either. Simply carry on with normal, everyday life as much as possible, all the while reporting anything sinister you might see, go with your gut parenting instincts, if it’s a hoax, then no harm done- if not, then you have done a great service at keeping the safety.
The Clowns Are Trying to Intimidate
This recent wave of creepy clowns seemed like a big joke at first. However, when clowns started using social media to make threats toward the Oakland public schools, officials took it seriously enough to do an investigation. So far, the clowns have been more threatening than actually dangerous. And there haven’t been any incidents of violence reported in the Oakland area. But the clowns are definitely trying to scare people, so it’s normal to feel unsettled by the whole issue.
The Cops are in Charge
Kids need to know that their world is secure and the adults in charge will protect them. In this case, you can reassure them that the police are taking the threats of the clowns very seriously. Authorities fully investigate the threats made here in Oakland. They’re doing the same thing all around the country where other clowns are intimidating people. The cops aren’t taking any chances that the creepy clowns are just a joke.
Remind Your Child that You’ll Protect Them
Reassure your children that you’re doing your part to keep them safe, too. Now is a good time for a refresher of the usual safety tips that apply in every other situation. Tell them not to take candy from strangers or go off with someone they don’t know, even if (or especially if) they’re in a clown suit. Remind them of safe people you will send in your place if you can’t pick them up. Let them know how you would contact them or how they can reach you.
Consider another costume
If there was ever a year that a clown costume for Halloween was a bad idea, it’s this one. Older kids and teens often like to dress up in costumes that are related to memes of the moment. Dressing like a clown might seem hilarious because of the news, but the pranksters have made this too dangerous to joke about. (You may want to suggest a Harambe costume instead for your meme-loving kid!) A lot of people are on edge right now in general. Dressing up like a clown could be an unwise way for an innocent kid to be mistaken for a threat.
As Halloween fades, so will the trend. In the meantime, just reassure your child (and yourself) that we’re all safe and take the necessary precautions.