Dear Grandparenting: This grandfather is still deciding what to dress up as for Halloween. Our neighborhood does it up big with an annual adult Halloween party, and we’re starting a costume competition with a $250 first prize.
Ever tried going to costume party without a costume? Everyone thinks you’re a party pooper so I had to do something. Halloween is supposed to be scary, right? So I took that ran with it.
I wound up buying this splendid large oval clown mask for $16, decked out with a snow white face, two big black eyeholes, an evil black smile with teeth dripping blood, with a tuft of green hair poking out from under a tiny black hat on top. With my old black topcoat and black gloves, I figured I was good to go.
At the very least, I was positive this would give my grandkids a run for their money in the costume department. My grandson Dino wasn’t so sure. “Don’t be another scary clown. Those guys are too scary,” he said and ran off. That was that, and I let it go at the time. Is there something I’m missing? They say I’m still going strong for being 89, but it’s harder keeping up. Vernon Mason, Randolph, VT
Dear Vernon: For reasons unknown, America and other nations are experiencing a mini-epidemic of bizarre incidents involving people costumed as creepy clowns.
Clowns are a common sight Halloween evening, but these creepy characters appear throughout the year, day and night. Reports they act strangely or menace or scare bystanders has put law enforcement in dozens of states on notice.
Some attribute the creepy uptick to the recent release of the film “It” – based on the book by acclaimed horror novelist Stephen King – which features a clown as the supernatural protagonist. Then again, clowns strike many as a little creepy. In the extreme, individuals develop coulrophobia, an irrational fear of clowns.
Clowns are unpredictable. We wonder what they’ll do next, or maybe what’s really going on behind that happy face. Their very unpredictability can cause a knee-jerk distrust and apprehension among observers. Humans are highly sensitive to facial appearances, so exaggerated and distorted features – oddly shaped mouths and noses in Technicolor – can trigger a subconscious red alert.
We can only hope grandchildren don’t become Halloween copycats and decide to clown around, leaping from behind a bush to scare grandparents ambling by.
Grand remark of the week
Sandra Thomas from Pittsburgh, PA reports she saw a little girl and an older lady walking along together in Delaware’s Christiana Mall.
The girl wore a white T-shirt with ”I’m Definitely Not Spoiled, Just Very Well Taken Care Of By My Grandmother” in red letters on the front.
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.