Clown Fears - How to prevent clowns from being scary
No true clown wants to scare a child. However, some children can and do grow up with a Fear Of Clowns-- the clinical name for this is coulraphobia. The question is, how can professional clowns prevent children from being scared?
Before even discussing make-up, let's look at some basics. Remember when dealing with children, all adults are "giant-sized" from their perspective. When interacting with children, clowns (or other children's entertainers) need to come to their level physically. Get down on one knee, or sit on the floor. Remember what it felt like to be that age.
In a related note, never force a frightened child to come by the clown. Parents will very often try to push an obviously frightened child to go by the clown, often for a photograph. Something I try to do in this situation is to act frightened myself, greatly exaggerating my "fear" while explaining to the parents that I get really scared by little kids when they're frightened. This serves several purposes -- it makes the clown the scaredy cat and lets the child off the hook, it reflects the fear to the child and allows him to be brave in comparison to the clown, and it allows the clown to "lower himself" and raise the child up. Of course, it also gets the message across to Mom & Dad -- when the child is ready, he or she will willingly come by the clown, and the experience will be the happy one the parents wanted in the first place.
(originally published at http://www.clown-ministry.com/Articles/fear-of-a-clown.html)
Finally, think about your clown make up. Remember that the purpose of clown make up is to amplify your own natural features. Do not overdo your make up -- remember, less is more. You want to entertain children, not frighten them.
Tom Raymond, aka Raynbow the Magic Clown, is a professional children's entertainer in the central Wisconsin area, and is available for parties, conferences, conventions and ministry events. Interested in clowns and clowning? Check out Clown Ministry, the largest clowning site on the web!
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