Terrifying clown incidents violate the Clown Commandments

Just putting on a mask doesn't make you a clown, according to clowning trade organizations.  (Photo by Tim Boyle | Getty Images 2003)

World Clown Association president Randy Christensen has a message for these ne’er-do-wells in clown costumes popping across the country and giving people a fright: You are not worthy of the red nose.

Frightening clowns have become a national nightmare as of late, with reports of creeper clowns spreading from South Carolina to California. Officers in Sheboygan, Wis., are on alert for a clown that peeps in windows, and the police chief of Farmington, Minn., issued a warning to “Bobo the Friendly Clown” to stay away from local elementary schools.

The real clowns are not amused.

“Anybody doing that is not a clown,” Christensen said in a statement on YouTube.

“If somebody dresses like a doctor, and is in a doctor smock and is wearing a stethoscope at a haunted house and comes at you with a chainsaw — he is not really a doctor,” Christensen said. “It’s a person impersonating a doctor.”

The same is true for these clown imposters: Just putting on the wig and makeup doesn’t make you worthy. Spreading terror while in costume is actually a clear violation of at least two of the “Eight Clown Commandments” set down by another clown organization, Clowns of America, International.

The first clown commandment states:

I will keep my acts, performance and behavior in good taste while I am in costume and makeup. I will remember at all times that I have been accepted as a member of the clown club only to provide others, principally children, with clean clown comedy entertainment. I will remember that a good clown entertains others by making fun of himself or herself and not at the expense or embarrassment of others.

And the fourth clown commandment goes on:

I will remove my makeup and change into my street clothes as soon as possible following my appearance, so that I cannot be associated with any incident that may be detrimental to the good name of clowning. I will conduct myself as a gentleman/lady at all times.

There’s more to being a clown than just a costume — there’s also decorum.

“That’s a differentiation we need to know,” Christensen said. “Whoever’s doing this crazy stuff is not a clown. This is someone who is trying to use a good, clean wholesome art form and then distorting it, trying to gain access to a child. This is not clowning. This person is not a clown.”