Are Clowns a Laughing Matter? Recent Craze Raises Questions at Clark

Halloween just got a lot scarier, thanks to a rash of sinister clowns appearing in the Pacific Northwest.         

Within the last two months, creepy clown sightings have been reported in Tacoma and downtown Portland, just under 10 miles south of Clark. These incidents are part of a nationwide trend of sometimes-violent scare tactics by people dressed as creepy clowns.

Clark student Moises Gomez said he is afraid for the safety of his family, especially his young nieces, after hearing of a clown who reportedly tried to lure little kids into the woods.

“We have to defend ourselves if they do show up here,” Gomez said.

“I think that it’s really dumb for people to dress up as clowns and terrorize people,” student Hailey Munds said.

Other students said they do not find the clown phenomenon very threatening.

Some, including Trevor Newburn, even found humor in the clown sightings. Newburn said he has tried to hunt the clowns, and if he encountered one he would “chase him and try to take a picture.”

Gomez, Munds and Newburn all believe that clowns could appear on campus, especially with Halloween coming up on Monday. But security doesn’t see it as a threat.

Photo of Director of Security Nicole Barone
Director of Security Nicole Barone

Director of Security Nicole Barone thinks the possibility of clowns showing up on campus is unlikely, but said that campus security is prepared to keep students safe just as they would in any other situation. She recommends that concerned students walk in pairs and ask for escorts to their cars to stay safe.

Students can sign up for the mobile alert service “RAVE” to get emails and text alerts from security about potentially dangerous situations on campus. It is free to sign up at by using a student login to create an account. According to Barone, over 1,800 Clark students, faculty and staff are already using the service.

Barone says students should not be worried about clowns coming to Clark because most of the clown sightings have been hoaxes. However, security is requesting that students do not wear masks on Halloween, and that they keep their student ID’s with them at all times.

Ultimately, masks can be a distraction from education. Barone said that if an individual’s actions suggests the presence of danger or seems “menacing” security will ask them to stop. Being scary is not a crime, but it does distract from students’ learning.

Giggles the Clown, a professional from Portland, said that the sightings have hurt business for real clowns, and that she’s gotten “a lot of obnoxious calls from unknown numbers leaving disgusting and foul messages.”

However, Giggles thinks people understand the creepy clowns are hoaxes “and aren’t actually trying to make people happy.”

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