Editorial: A little too spooky

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It’s that time of year again. No, we don’t mean the time of pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking and general fall fun. It’s the time of year when all the people who love Halloween a little too much come out of the woodwork. It’s time to get spooky.
But what happens when scaring people goes too far? What happens when kindergartners burst into tears because they are too afraid? What happens when college-aged students are afraid to walk to the library once the sun goes down? What happens when the movie industry creates a fantasy that people aren’t afraid to bring to life?
Clowns. It’s the clowns. You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about the clowns. At first, it was something we only saw happening on Tumblr, the internet’s dark place, until it actually became real and was quickly spreading across the country. Slowly but steadily, the clown craze moved closer and closer until it happened: a clown sighting at the University of Toledo. Last week, the University’s first supposed sighting of clowns was reported around Parks Tower.
Guys, this isn’t funny.

Getting scared around Halloween is one thing, but that is why there are places to do it. People pay good money to get scared out of their wits by people dressed as zombies or monsters. They get a thrill from being scared, but that doesn’t mean they want to be scared all the time. Let’s face it: We can probably tolerate being scared around Halloween because that’s what we do on Oct. 31. There’s no excuse for this craze to make Halloween a year-long event.
Other people actively avoid being scared at all because they just don’t want to be scared. There is a large portion of the world that genuinely hates terrifying things (some of our editors included) and that is okay. Actually, it’s more than okay. They have a right to not want to be frightened in their day-to-day lives, and that includes walking in public.
Clowns are just something that happen to scare a lot of the general public, whether it’s from movie portrayal, bad memories as children or just the way they look. There is a reason why people don’t dress like scary clowns (or regular clowns) on a regular basis. We don’t walk around trying to frighten others; do you?
Aside from the dressing up part to creep people out, there is another very real threat with this sudden clown population boost. Some of these clowns carry weapons, such as bats or knives, and that’s not fun at all. People dressed as clowns chase after those who they see on the street and even go as far to stalk others.
This is no longer funny. This is a real threat to our safety and well-being as a country. You may get a thrill out of it, being the clown, but I promise you that thrill will dissipate quickly after you are injured because you pushed someone too far. Threatening people will get you nowhere, and if you have nothing better to do than going around scaring people, you are sad.
And just in case you don’t know, that behavior is criminal and may have life-changing consequences. You may think you’re just having “innocent fun” but the UT Police Department wants to remind you that scaring people in public places is a serious crime and can lead to criminal charges of inducing panic and menacing, as well as to Student Code of Conduct charges.
So stop dressing up as clowns, stop frightening others and stop causing real problems. This isn’t The Purge because The Purge isn’t a real thing. It’s a movie and that is where it should stay: in a fictional universe.

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Editorial: A little too spooky