This is a tough question. My 7th grade daughter is Freaked. Out. And that’s partly because she and her schoolmates are looking up information on their own, getting each other all amped up about it with things that are true, and untrue. However, it is true that there are reports coming from all over the US, putting schools under lock down, and creating extra work for police.

USA Today reports that at least 10 states, (and ours is one of the latest—Great Falls), are experiencing reports of clown sightings, and Facebook posts that are threatening, or at the very least, unnerving. There are reports of chases, attacks, or just loitering, and pictures of clowns carrying weapons. Which, by the way, we have pictures of my daughter posing with clowns wielding weapons from a haunted house last year, so I’m sure those are readily available on the internet for anyone looking to set up a fake Facebook or Instagram account. One of those Facebook accounts had been created by a 10-year-old boy. And by the way, if you’re ignorant enough to dress up like a clown and creep, you might oughta be aware that there are reports of clowns being shot or stabbed because people have come unglued.

Most of the threats have turned out to be hoaxes, and there are some clown-related movies coming out, like a remake of Stephen King’s “It” next September, which Warner Brothers says the sightings are absolutely NOT part of a viral marketing scheme. And an independent movie with “Gags the Clown” absolutely DID use clown sightings in Wisconsin to drum up some publicity. Reportedly a haunted house in Minnesota also used some creepy clowns to get some attention.

This is not the first time there have been “creepy clown sightings.” Back in 1981 there was a rash of clown sightings near Boston, with clowns trying to lure children into their vans with candy. Much of the country maybe didn’t hear about it, since that was long before social media. These kinds of reports are just ripe for going viral.

First of all, we need to remember that there have not been any reports of children actually being abducted or hurt. As I’ve explained to my daughter, ANYONE in a mask (clown or not) where you can’t see their face (even when you know who it is), can be really scary. So my best advice to her is to be aware of her surroundings, and to be cautious. She’s scared that someone may try to hurt her. If someone wanted to hurt her, they don’t have to be in a clown mask. At this point, if you’re only looking for clowns as a threat, you may be overlooking other real dangers.

Clown sighting timeline:
USA Today Story:
Great Falls:
Great Falls/CNN: Legitimate possibilities for Sightings:
1981 Sightings: