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How do I Overcome a Fear of Clowns?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The fear of clowns is a common phobia that can be conquered by identifying the cause of the fear. Many people have had such a fear since childhood, and many scientific studies have found that children are commonly afraid of clowns because they recognize the human form but cannot discern any true identity. Others may have had a traumatic incident involving clowns which may have led directly or indirectly to a fear of clowns, while others may have watched a scary movie about a killer clown or some other sort of pop culture reference. Whatever the cause, it is important to remember that clowns are supposed to be fun and silly, not frightening, but it is also important to remember that fearing clowns is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about clowns is that the clown's true face is concealed. The first step to getting over your fear of clowns is to remember that there is a person underneath that makeup, someone who had it in his or her mind to entertain and help people smile. The clowns in scary movies are caricatures meant to scare you; clowns in real life are dressed that way to make you smile. It may help you to talk to someone who regularly dresses up as a clown to understand their motives. Talk to them when they are not wearing their makeup. If possible, have them show you their wigs, makeup, and clothing. Familiarize yourself with it and recognize the absurdity of it.

People watching a scary movie with clowns.
People watching a scary movie with clowns.

Do some research on clowns. Fearing clowns may result from not understanding the clown's purpose. This may be true because of all the pop culture references to menacing clowns. The reality is most clowns are jovial people, not menacing ones. Watch a video of a clown performing. If you grow comfortable watching the clown's routine, consider watching a clown do a live performance. Go to the performance with someone you know and trust so you feel more at ease. Most importantly, stop watching any movies or reading any stories that feature menacing clowns, as these stories worsen the fear and are a misrepresentation of the large majority of clowns.

A clown.
A clown.

If all else fails and your fear of clowns persists, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist may help you work through the issues that have led to your fear of clowns, and they can help you better understand why your fear of clowns is so persistent. Such a persistent fear often indicates a much deeper problem that only a professional can tackle.

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Discussion Comments


What do I do? It didn't work for me. I still faint at clowns and stuff. People say I'm really weird but I can't help it.

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    • People watching a scary movie with clowns.
      By: Scott Griessel
      People watching a scary movie with clowns.
    • A clown.
      By: Patrick Hermans
      A clown.