|Photo credit : Ian Aberle (Flickr)|
Yesterday, Juliette mentioned that she was scared of walking home from school on her own (just around the corner and she only does it once a week) because she was worried about killer clowns following people home with a chainsaw. It's not as crazy as it sounds because last year, there was a spate of people dressing up as evil clowns and attacking people in the street with knives, not in our town but not that far away. I checked online and couldn't see ANY new stories so I told her not to worry, it's old news and it's just people sharing horror stories. Sophie showed me a Facebok page where "Come Back Clowns" say that "they're on the way to the north - watch your backs!" but I told her it's probably written by ten year olds getting their kicks by scaring people older than them.
As Pierre was off sick today, I did the morning school run and there was a gang of primary school kids screaming "there's a clown around the corner" and then running off to look, then saying there was blood all over the lampposts and generally having great fun scaring themselves silly. I told Juliette that they were making it all up and if there WAS anything on the lamppost, it would be ketchup or fake blood, as the shops are starting to stock Halloween goodies.
What worried me more was the fact that they were running along in the middle of the road minutes before the school run when cars would be arriving left, right and centre. I had a word with them to say they were more likely to get run over than attacked by a clown, then had a word with the teachers who'd started arriving so they could mention it in class. Pierre was a bit worried too so I told him it's like Scooby Doo, it's just people who dress up, not real evil clowns. Juliette came home for lunch and said that her teacher had said that the next person to mention clowns would be punished. End of story.
But then there was a story on the news tonight (you can see it here but it's in French) - on Tuesday, three 11-year-old girls in Boulogne (about an hour away) were followed home from school by a bunch of people dressed up as evil clowns, armed with kitchen knives, insulting and threatening them. They were picked up, in tears, by a passer-by who took them to a nearby chemist's to safety. The clowns (in reality three 18-22 year old boys) have made a statement on their Facebook page to say that they don't intend to create mass panic, they just want to "do like in America" and scare people on film "for a laugh". They've said that they'll be back for Halloween - but as they target school home times and that's during the holidays, I'm not sure how that will work.
How do you convince your kids that the bogey man doesn't exist when some sick individuals think that scaring children half to death is funny ? They may be laughing on the other side of their faces (or graves) if they carry on though because lots of people are now threatening them on Facebook.