No Laughing Matter
By Scott Rupp and Kendra Jones
As Halloween trick-or-treating quickly approaches, the activity of clowns may heighten. Recently, there have been reports of clown sightings sweeping the nation.
The “Creepy Clown” phenomena began in late August in Greenville, S.C. when rumors of people dressing as clowns and luring children into the woods arose. Many of the recent sightings are hoaxes, but some have led to arrests—these even inspired college students to embark on a “clown hunting” journey.
Tyler Doherty, a club baseball player, said that he grabbed his bat and started looking out of the windows in his Richland Hall apartment when he was informed that clowns were nearby.
“I was getting texts from friends saying that clowns were walking around Richland and were on their way to Rutter’s,” he said.
Evan Andariese had the same idea of grabbing a bat, but he claimed that it was for “personal protection rather than clown bashing.” He slept with the bat in hand that night.
With Halloween around the corner, it is a question whether parents will be concerned for their children as they go out trick-or-treating this year.
Molly Hayes-Sauder, of Harrisburg, is not concerned about the clowns when trick-or-treating because she will be going with her young children this year. “If I had older children who would potentially go out on their own unsupervised to trick-or-treat then I would be concerned for their safety,” she said.
Meredith Scott, of Lancaster, shares the same level of concern as Hayes-Sauder. “I am more concerned with razor blades in the candy or puncture marks on the candy wrappers than I am concerned about the clowns,” she said.
The individuals who hand out candy must also be on alert and aware of who is walking towards them. Thomas Wells, a York College alumni and resident of West Springettsbury Avenue, handed out candy without issues last year but is worried this year.
“I just sat on my porch [last year] with my girlfriend and handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters for the full two hours of Halloween,” he said. Wells received the email sent out from York College’s Campus Safety concerning the clowns; he said he has no idea what he would do if a “clown” presented itself. “My house is not exactly conducive to handing out candy because of the front door, leaving me exposed on the front porch,” Wells said.
As people waited in line at an on-campus café, Appell Café, the worker lightened the serious situation with humorous advice to students concerning if clowns were to attack. “You go for the ‘juggler’,” he said.
Campus Safety Director Edward Bruder said that there has not been any reported clown sightings since the email was circulated that informed students of the reports, including a car full of clowns driving down West Jackson St. and a car of clowns on west campus possibly with weapons.
Bruder said that Campus Safety always has additional officers on duty on Halloween night. This is out of precaution, not because there has been a history of increased incidents on this night. Trick-or-treat night for Spring Garden Township, York County and the surrounding areas will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31. Bruder advised students to “go out in groups, stay on well lighted streets and avoid short cuts and alleys. Lock up your house or apartment and close your windows if you go out for the night. Be smart and be safe.”
Campus safety wants to remind everyone to have fun, but look out for one another on this year’s Halloween night. “We do encourage everyone to report things they believe are suspicious or unusual,” said Bruder.