Don’t fear the clowns

Clown+masks+sit+idle+on+a+shelf+at+Mr.+Funs+Costume+%26amp%3B+Magic+Emporium+in+Cuyahoga+Falls%2C+Ohio%2C+on+Thursday%2C+Oct.+26%2C+2016

Clown masks sit idle on a shelf at Mr. Fun’s Costume & Magic Emporium in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2016

Rachel Duthie

Despite nationwide hysteria surrounding recent clown sightings, the Kent State Police Department advises students that “they shouldn’t be concerned” by those who decide to play the part this Halloween weekend.

“There is going to be quite a few (people dressed as clowns) and that’s all a part of the event,” said Tricia Knoles, a Kent State community resource officer. “Becoming disorderly, chasing someone and attempting to assault someone can happen to anyone, at any time and in any costume.”

Knoles stressed that dressing up as a clown isn’t against the law — and does not warrant arrest — unless illegal activity is involved. Students should avoid causing panic over clown costumes and, instead, focus on their personal safety.

Police departments across the city are working together this weekend to implement strategic surveillance of Halloween, making the students’ safety their top priority.

“We are more concerned about alcohol consumption and making sure students are getting back to their dorms and apartments safely,” Knoles said.

Reports of threatening clowns started occurring nationwide this August. Most of these sightings were largely centered at schools and universities. While many were written off as hoaxes, more than a dozen people have been arrested in connection to the sightings.

Kent State had its own clown scare earlier this month, when a photo depicting a clown standing by what appeared to be the outside of a university dorm hall, surfaced online. After further investigation, the sighting proved to be a hoax, and the photo populated online was old and had no connection to Kent State.

Students expressed differing opinions about those dressing up as clowns this weekend.

“As long as it doesn’t touch me, it’s fine,” said Makala Scriver, a sophomore criminology and justice studies major. “I’m afraid that Halloween they might … find it easier to hide within all the other clown costumes, since there is probably going to be a ton, considering everything that has been going on.”

Sudeep Tuladhar, a computer science graduate student, said that if there are huge masses of people — including the occasional clown —then it won’t affect much (in terms of fear).

“But, say, I’m alone in the road and see a person dressed as a clown — that will surely be (more) scary, than what it used to be,” Tuladhar said. “Clowns have always creeped me out.”

Kent State’s police department advises students to be aware of their surroundings this weekend, stay in large groups and know their limitations when it comes to alcohol.

Downtown Kent’s Halloween festivities take place Saturday night.

Rachel Duthie is a features correspondent, contact her at [email protected]