A professional clown who performs in Chester city centre condemns those currently dressing up to deliberately scare people but says the craze is actually making people more aware of his trade.
Ken Arnold, AKA Squeaky the Clown, from Helsby, has been clowning around and making folk laugh since he was 11-years-old, following in his late father Doug’s oversized clown shoes.
But he isn’t best pleased with the ‘creepy clown’ phenomenon imported from America which has seen pranksters donning clown costumes to scare people, with the very young and elderly most vulnerable.
Father and grandfather Ken, who regularly busks in the city centre but also performs at children’s parties, said: “We are near Halloween and something like this always happens, it’s not just clowns. I work with under sixes and children do like to be frightened but in a positive way not a negative way, as long as they feel safe.”
Ken, who performs magic, bad juggling, stilt-walking and puppetry, said he uses a toy spider in his act for that purpose and pretends to be frightened in front of his young audience.
His advice to any children who come across a scary clown is to ‘get away’ and tell an adult ‘This person is frightening me’.
Ken, a former engineer and hairdresser, accepts in some cases the fear may be down to perception.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean they are frightening, just that they look frightening,” he explained, saying the elderly could be alarmed as well as youngsters.
“Clowns do a lot for charity. It’s such a shame. For the good clowns, it’s a very worthwhile profession.”
Many people are asking him whether his business will be harmed by the creepy clowns but he believes the reverse is the case.
“I don’t think it will. We’ve had that much advertising – I had a lovely write-up in a Manchester paper – that it’s made people more aware of the dying trade that is clowning. Clowning reminds people they have a child within. When you start to lose the child, you start to lose big time.”
If the clowning does dry up then Ken, a paid-up member of the Equity Variety Federation, can always fall back on his other acts as a pirate or a Mexican.
To book Ken, visit his website by clicking here.