Family Magazine

Are You Afraid Of Clowns?

By Monicasmommusings @mom2natkatcj

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clowns

Sparkles the Clown with my middle daughter at 5 months old.

See the clown in the picture to the right here?  That is Sparkles the Clown AKA Monica of Monica’s Mom Musings.  This picture was taken at a church function when my middle daughter was just a baby.  Needless to say, my children are not afraid of clowns.

I do not get to put my clown duds on as often as I used to, but I am a real professional clown.  And I have been since I was 15 years old.

I am so good at it actually that the first time I put the costume and makeup on my own mother had no idea who I was.

I am a completely different person when I am Sparkles the Clown.  I am much more outgoing than I normally am.  And this is why my own mother did not recognize me.  She watched me walk up to complete strangers and talk to them and make them laugh.  And she recalled the little girl whose older brother used to introduce me to everyone.  He’d say, “My name is Dan and this is my little sister Monica, she doesn’t talk!”  He did all of the talking for me.  It seems that I might still have that problem where someone else does all the talking for me, my alternate personality, Sparkles the Clown.

And for many years now I have had to deal with children and even adults who are fearful of clowns.  I must admit, I understand the children.  Funny story, when I was around 5 years old I think my parents had a party for me at Ground Round and they had a friend of the family dress up as a clown.  I was terrified of her.  Everyone kept telling me I knew her, but all that makeup and the big feet, ummm no I know no one that looks like that.  I was petrified.  So since becoming a clown myself I have calmed many children’s fears of clowns by showing them my makeup and a picture of me all dressed up so they can see that it’s nothing to be afraid of.

But it seems I have to do that for adults too.  Because many adults are afraid of clowns.  Adults are a little trickier to convince though.  But I’m going to try my best.  It would be nice if knowing the person who is the clown were enough, but I’m guessing it’s not going to be so I’m going to tell you all about clowns.

Three Different Kinds Of Clowns

clown

Sparkles the Clown with my oldest (almost 10) and middle (almost 7).

Yes, there are different kinds of clowns.  Three to be exact.

  • White face (which I am)
  • Auguste
  • Hobo

Each different kind of clown has a different personality type and they also have a different look with the makeup.

The white face clown which I am is pretty self explanatory with the look.  Obviously they have an all white face.  They try to cover up as much skin as possible.  I usually have white gloves except when I’m making balloon animals because I can’t do that with the gloves on.   I’m mostly covered head to toe so you can’t see any skin.

The personality for this type of clown is more of the boss.  She is the one who turns the jokes around on the other clowns to make them the butt of the joke.

The Auguste clown has more flesh tones.  They don’t completely cover their face with makeup and use some of their own skin tone.  Also gloves can be worn with the fingers cut off.

Personality wise the Auguste clown is the joker of the group.  He’s the one who usually becomes the butt of the jokes after attempting to make the other clown the butt of the joke.  Think cartoons for a second.  You know how Bugs Bunny always turns things around on Daffy Duck?  Well, he would be like the white face clown and Daffy Duck is the Auguste clown.  He’s a master of slapstick comedy.

Finally the Hobo clown looks like you would expect a hobo to look.  He’s got a scruffy looking beard and tattered clothes.  Often times he has a painted on sad face.

He is the low man on the totem poll of clowns.  He cleans up after the other clowns.  He’s also clumsy.  Falling on chairs for comedy purposes.

So that’s the basics behind clowns.  Bet you didn’t know there was so much to know about clowns.  Bet you thought they were all one in the same.  Each person who becomes a clown needs to decide what best suits their personality.  The white face is definitely more suited to me.

clowning

Sparkles the Clown with my son at 15 months.

Makeup Application

The process of putting the makeup on is not an easy one.  It’s an oil based makeup.  Baby powder is used to make it stay on and baby oil is used to remove it.  It takes me at least an hour to put the makeup and costume on by myself and half an hour to remove it, not counting the shower that I then need to take.

I start out with my white base.  I smear it on kind of like cold cream and then pat my face with my fingertips to remove all streaks and make it smooth.  Then I powder my face.  I have to make sure I get every inch of my face so the makeup does not wipe off.  Then I brush the powder off with a blush brush.

Next comes the eye makeup.  With a black pencil I draw on eyebrows which are actually above my own eyebrows.  Then I draw the black lines on my eyes with black lines to the side of my eyes and under my eyes.  Next I move onto my lips.  Using a circular top I make an indentation in the white makeup on the corners of my mouth so I have something to trace.  With red I paint my bottom lip only.  I bring my smile down onto my chin because everything on a clown needs to be bigger and more prominent.  I must powder again.  This isn’t easy because I end up with powder in my mouth.  I check to make sure it’s all dry and brush it off again.  Now I outline my lips with the black.

Once this is done I need to add a little rouge to my cheeks and sparkles to make me Sparkles the Clown.  I then get my costume on.  Wig on and finally a little glue to stick my nose on.

Once the makeup is on it does not wipe off and I can sweat and it won’t smear off.  You can touch my face and about all you would get on your hands are sparkles.  And that’s the process I go through to transform myself into a clown.

Who Becomes A Clown At 15?

Yes, at 15 years old I became a clown.  It was not some sort of life long dream of mine.  I had no intention of being a clown.  The priest at my church when I was growing up was a magician.  One of the biggest fundraisers for the church was a huge magic show.  Many of the church members participated and that included me.  I was one of the assistants every year in the magic show.  One year the entire 2nd act of the show was a circus act with magic.  My priest’s wife was a clown and she taught me everything I know today about clowning.

Clowns of America International

Clowns of America International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t entirely know how I got chosen to be a clown.  I think we all had a try at it and that first time I did it at a church fair when my mom didn’t recognize me was sort of my audition I guess.  I was sort of a natural at it.  I actually joined our local Clown Alley and chapter of COAI (Clowns Of America International) with my priest’s wife.  I even went to a convention one year.  Yes, clowns have conventions and boy do they know how to have fun!

I learned how to make balloon animals and do face painting.  My favorite thing was and is puppets though.  I have done birthday parties, parades, fairs, and other public events including at my children’s school.  It has been a great thing for me and has given me a lot of really great skills which have impressed my kids.  How many kids moms can make balloon animals?  I have often said if I could figure out how to be the hostess and entertainment at my child’s birthday party I could throw a great party cheap.  Alas, I can’t do both of those jobs.  So there hasn’t been a clown at my children’s birthday parties, but my kids do not have a fear of clowns.

I don’t think anyone should be afraid of clowns.  I know movies like It do not do much for squashing people’s fears.  I have even met parents who encourage a child’s fear of clowns because they didn’t want the child talking to strangers.  I respect that in a way, but I don’t like my children to be fearful of things.  Living in fear and having a healthy knowledge of what’s dangerous and how to avoid dangerous situations are two different things.  I think we can teach our children about stranger danger and still let them be okay with clowns.  I think a lot of times this could be the adults fear of clowns projecting it onto the child.  So I hope that with a little understanding of clowns maybe people will be less fearful.  We’re not creepy child molesters; in most cases anyways.

For me I started doing it to play a part in a magic show.  I continued doing it because of the freedom it gave me to let down my hair and have the kind of fun I was too nervous to have as just Monica.  And it has become a wonderful arsenal in raising my own children by giving me skills that most other parents do not have.  As silly as it sounds to see the pride in my kids’ eyes when they tell people their mother is a clown just makes it all worthwhile.

So what do you think of clowns now?  Did you learn something you didn’t know before?  Do you now think differently of me?  Did you even get this far or did you run at the sight of the first picture of a clown?

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