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How can I stop being very afraid of clowns?

How can I stop being very afraid of clowns? – from a discussion on Quora

First, you need to recognize what it is that you’re afraid of. Are you afraid of people acting “zany” like the Three Stooges, Jim Carey, the cast of the Carol Burnett Show, Laugh-In, etc.? If not, you’re fear probably isn’t of clowns themselves.

Are you afraid of clowns in makeup? If so, that’s a different thing entirely.

Here’s a true story to illustrate the point: Some years ago, I was hired to perform as a clown at a birthday party. Since the children were younger, I arrived in my clown costume, but no makeup. After some silly shenanigans to warm up the crowd, I told the children that I was going to put on a simple version of my makeup in front of them, so they could see that there was nothing to be afraid of.

No sooner had I said that than one little boy ran and locked himself in the bathroom.

I spoke to him through the door: “Are you afraid of me now?”

“No,” he answered through the door.

“Would you come out if I put on just a little bit of makeup?”

“No!”

“How about if I put on just my red nose?”

He opened the door a crack, said “Okay,” and held out his hand for me to take.

We went out into the living room, and all the makeup I put on was my red nose and entertained the birthday party. At the end, that same little boy came and gave me the biggest hug.

Here’s the point of the story: makeup, when put on by a professional clown, is only a tool. It doesn’t hide the performer’s face.  It exaggerates his/her features, so their facial expressions can be seen from a distance, such as from a circus ring to the top row of the seats.

Sadly, some people nowadays grossly exaggerate clown makeup to look “scary”.  These people are no more clowns than someone in a rubber Hillary Clinton mask is a politician.

Why are you scared? Probably because the memory of some ‘scary’ clown (It, Killer Clowns from Outer Space, some foolish person at Halloween, etc.) colors your perception.

If you want to overcome your fear — go by some real clowns, whether at a circus, a clown alley ( a place where clowns gather to improve their skills), etc. You’ll see that they’re actually nice people who want to make people smile.

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