I belong to a Clown College graduates listserv, and lately there's been quite a good discussion on it about clown makeup, costumes, and why kids are scared of clowns.
Some of the folks lament the trend toward more minimal makeup, preferring the old-fashioned full clown makeup, complete with wigs, gloves, big shoes, and loud costume. Others think that the more minimal makeup is the way to go, particularly if the clowning is close to the audience.
Here's a sample, sort of. The guy on the left is an auguste clown. The lovely lady in the middle is a whiteface clown, complete with gloves and hat perched on her wig. The clown-doctor on the right, while he has a wig, is a more subdued, minimalist makeup.
Some clowns get even more minimal than Doctor Clown, using only a red nose, or oversize glasses, or mere touches of white or red to complement a more subtle costume.
The discussion touched on the supposition that the full-blown costume and makeup can be scary to kids, while the more minimal makeup/costume is less scary. A couple clowns postulated that fear of clowns is just a trend, that it isn't a real fear but a made-up phobia. Everyone believes that kids can indeed get scared of clowns, but professional clowns know how to approach kids to prevent that from happening.
But all of the discussion is clowns talking to clowns. I'd like to know what YOU think, especially if clowns scare you, or squick you out, or fill you with fear. How did you come to fear clowns? Did one get up in your face when you were little? Did you read Stephen King's It and develop that fear based on the horrible Pennywise? Did you read news stories of clownish serial killers?
And if you love clowns, how did you come to love them? What kind do you prefer? Fully made up and costumed, or simply red nosed and subtle?
Don't be shy; tell me what you think. I'll share your responses with the grads. (Don't worry; I won't name names!)