DOMINIQUE BAYENS, TSE ERNEST, NABILA MORGAN
With Halloween just around the corner, concerns have been raised that the clown craze that recently swept across Australia and the world will make a comeback.
Edith Cowan University criminologist Jelena Vranesevic said it was likely there would be a rise in people dressing up as clowns and terrorising neighbourhoods this weekend.
“Whether the people dressing up know it or not, there are many sinister actions behind [dressing up as clowns],” Ms Vranesevic said.
“I believe a lot of the people dressing up and scaring different groups of people was just a prank and a copy of what they saw on social media.”
A trend that started in the Unites States earlier this year has seen communities terrorised, as people dressed up as clowns carried various weapons including knives and chainsaws around quiet suburban neighbourhoods.
ECU psychologist Ricky Aarons said the prospect of social media fame had encouraged these minority groups.
“With a limitless platform for sharing with social media innovations, small minority groups who engage in delinquent behaviours are being constantly recognised and acknowledged for their actions, consequently perpetuating the pandemic,” Mr Aarons said.
Earlier this month there was a spate of clown-related incidents in and around Perth.
However, the creepy clowns have gone quiet these past few weeks.
Mr Aarons said that while it may be a joke, the “clown craze” could have significant negative effects on the community.
“From a psychological and sociological perspective, the current trend of clown terror is significantly detrimental on society and the overall sense of safety and well-being across communities worldwide,” he said.
Owner of Cannington costume store AJ’s Costume Hire, Tina Wild, said there were not as many people hiring clown costumes this year.
“I think everyone’s a bit scared to [hire clown costumes] right now in case they get in trouble,” Ms Wild said.
She has still had customers come in to purchase clown attire, however.
“Last night a couple came in and bought two masks to scare their friends,” she said.
Constable Care spokesperson Suzy Curtis said while no parents had contacted them with concerns about their children going out to “trick or treat” this Halloween, it was not a good idea for kids to dress up as clowns if they were heading out into Perth neighbourhoods.
“Given the current situation with clown costumes, it may not be a wise choice of costume,” Ms Curtis said.
“We recommend parents not to encourage children to dress up as clowns.”
Ms Curtis said parents should put their children’s safety first this Halloween.
“In light of the clown pranks, parents should reassure their children they are safe,” she said.
“Parents should remain vigilant and continue to teach their children not to go anywhere alone with a stranger.
“We encourage parents to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to police.”
Constable Care has published its top eight tips for parents to keep their kids safe during Halloween.