A craze is something that becomes incredibly popular, but usually only for a short period of time. Over the last few days, one particular craze has been sweeping the nation – sparking mass hysteria as it has done so. Police have reported a spate of incidents involving people dressed as ‘killer clowns’! Up and down the country, people dressed as scary clowns, the kind you might find in a horror movie, have been terrorising innocent members of the public and causing widespread panic. Children have been chased down the road by clowns, clowns have jumped out on passers-by and some have even been seen lurking in shadows holding knives and other weapons.
The craze seems to have started in America a few weeks ago, possibly inspired by a character in a Stephen King story called Pennywise. It soon caught on over here. In recent days, it has spread like wildfire, with sightings being reported as far away as Australia and New Zealand. With certain areas seeing several incidents a day, the police are complaining that the craze is a drain on resources and they have also warned that sooner or later someone is bound to be seriously hurt. Given that members of the public seem to have started fighting back against the jokers, the likelihood is that it could well be a costumed clown that ends up suffering!
There have, of course, been many theories put forward to explain why the craze has taken off. Psychologists have claimed that putting on a clown mask allows ordinary people to behave in a way they would not dream of doing if their faces were not disguised. Social media has also been blamed for the spread as some believe all the publicity encourages copycat behaviour. Others believe the growing enthusiasm for Halloween over recent years could be another reason as to why we are seeing a rise in such incidents.
Personally, we blame Donald Trump. When such a terrifying clown is given such incredible publicity, it’s asking for trouble!
Want to learn more with Lexical Lab?
- Have you heard of the killer clown craze? Have any incidents been reported where you live?
- What do you think explains this kind of behaviour?
- What other crazes have swept the nation recently? Did you like them? Why? / Why not?
- Can you think of anything else that’s sparked mass hysteria?
- Can you think of any examples of copycat behaviour?