Halloween can be a fun holiday where people play dress up, but lately scary clowns have been taking it a step too far. There is a lot of anxiety built up around clowns and both children and adults are being terrified by individuals dressed as killer clowns that have been taunting them and scaring them during the middle of the night. Coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns is a real phobia and there’s nothing funny about it.
The fear of clowns is the result of not knowing who lies behind the scary disguise. The clown wears cheerful makeup to deconstruct their facial features and create a new identity. Clowns can also break social norms: the mask makes them do things that others can’t do socially, like interact with unknown people with ease. Some researchers believe that coulrophobia cases began increasing after the 90’s, when Steven Spielberg’s classic horror film “IT” depicting a murderous clown was released, and the portrayal of Joker as an evil character in Batman movies did not help the matter either.
The phobia can cause a state of panic, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and feelings of fear. Many people suffer so much, that it prevents them from doing everyday things, like eating a hamburger when seeing a clown pass by.