06 August 2007

The Scare Clown

I discovered something major in one of my art workshops:
Kids are afraid of CLOWNS!

Yes, you read it right.
I got violent reactions when I used clowns as a theme.
I was surprised and opened the subject for discussion.
Suddenly, everybody had their own clown horror stories to share!

Here are some of the kid's reasons for not liking clowns:

1. He grabs you during parties.
(children are wary of strangers even in their funny costume)

2. He looks scary.
(some clowns do look scary than funny and some kids can see through the make-up)

3. He is not funny at all.
(I think this refers to those clowns quickly hired for the event but who has no experience with children that their actions are sometimes dopey if not scary)

4. They saw a cartoon or movie that depicted a clown as a villain.

When I asked the kids if they ever told their parents or adults about this, most of them said no. And I am not surprised. A lot of kids in my art workshop release their silent fears, anger and confusion in their workshop plates instead of confiding them to their parents or any adults. And art works as an effective tool in therapy work. Some artists use their canvas to express their angst.

So the next time you see children cry in front of fun and colorful mascots and clowns, do take the time to understand their fears instead of scolding them for acting silly. Your friendly approach might encourage children to voice their other fears.

In the meantime, it would be helpful to remind your party guest characters to consider child-friendly approach and tricks. . .
a demo plate made by Esther Mercurio and Lui Bacaltos (2004)