Creepy Clown Craze – the background

The ‘killer clown’ craze that has been sweeping across America has reportedly landed in the UK.


The terrifying trend of dressing up as a killer clown and jumping out on passers by has reached the UK.

Some incidents are seen as harmless pranks with clowns jumping out on unsuspecting passers by, while some are more serious with school children being approached or followed.

But what is seen as harmless to some can be incredibly distressing to others.

A fear of clowns is known as Caulrophobia and is very common among adults as well as children in the UK. For clown phobics, this latest trend could be more traumatic than a ‘harmless prank’ .

Megan Bell,17, from Gateshead who has a fear of clowns, was chased down the street by a man in a costume.Her message to these clowns is: ‘Please don’t – you are having people fear for their lives, scared to leave the house and traumatising them for a laugh. It isn’t funny, at all.’

There have been many reported incidents throughout the city of Newcastle and Northumbria Police are taking these incidents seriously. Inspector Stephen Wykes told Metro: “The people carrying out these pranks may think they’re being funny but it is leaving a number of young people incredibly distressed.’

These attacks have been happening all over the country and have slowly been getting closer to Leeds. According to Twitter the craze has finally arrived with clown sightings as close as Leeds Beckett city campus.

Tom Jackson, from Leeds, is one of the unfortunate few who saw a clown near Leeds Beckett University campus. He described the experience: ‘I saw a clown walking down the underpass opposite the main campus carrying something. I didn’t feel like sticking around to have a detailed look.’

He went on to say that at first he thought it was funny, but when the clown turned towards him he ran away.

In America people are using social media to report clown sightings with pictures and videos. One of the main twitter accounts in the USA has even tweeted some pictures of clown sightings emerging in the UK.

If you are a fan of clowns and this trend is irritating you, then you are not alone. The World Clown Association is fighting back against these pranksters.

Randy Christensen, the president of the World Clown Association told Leeds Hacks: ‘In my opinion, these horror characters are not clowns. People dressed as horror clowns are not “real clowns.”

‘They are taking something innocent and wholesome and perverting it to create fear in their audience. The World Clown Association shares laughs and “comic relief” everywhere for the positive, wholesome, enjoyment of their audiences. It is true that various horror clown portrayals work against our goal.’

Christensen is so passionate about these negative portrayals of  clowns that he made a YouTube video in the hope of reaching more people with his message.


Frank McAndrew, a professor at Knox College in Illinois, told The Washington Post that the trend is a story that has everything: ‘It can occur anywhere, almost everyone seems amused or interested by it, and there probably have been enough copycats inspired to keep it going whenever it appears to die down. It has the perfect ingredients of an urban legend.’

With no end in sight as incidents are reported everyday and Halloween just around the corner, we are faced with the realisation that the killer clown craze could get worse before it gets better.

Or in the spirit of clowning you could make a joke out of it, like the people at Tetley have done.



By Kennedy Grainger

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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