Some local organizations are doing their part this Halloween to not create another clown frenzy.
The effort was sparked by a series of clown sightings that wreaked havoc on communities around the world, including a social media rumor of clowns in Centre County.
Last month, Penn State students organized a clown-sighting event in downtown State College.
Local police said there were no known reports of physical clown sighting other than an image of a clown projected onto Beaver Hill apartments.
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The hysteria was short-lived, but had a lasting impact on some local associations.
When asking for feedback from Centre County school district administrators regarding how Halloween is celebrated at schools, the topic of clowns was discussed.
No masks and no clowns this year!
Jeff Miles, BEA superintendent
“No masks and no clowns this year!” Bald Eagle Area School District Superintendent Jeff Miles said in an email.
Most school districts in Centre County have policy that allows staff and students to dress up for the holiday, but limits what they can wear. It generally includes not being able to wear a mask or anything that covers the face.
In that case, dressing as a clown has its limitations.
“We do not have a policy (or) procedure telling students that they can’t dress like clowns on Halloween, however, we don’t allow students to cover their faces (like) masks at any time during the school year for identification purposes,” State College Area High School Principal Curtis Johnson said.
At Philipsburg-Osceola, Superintendent Gregg Paladina said there was some talk among administrators about clowns.
We have encouraged students not to discuss it in schools. Our middle school principal caught wind that students were discussing it in the hallways.
Gregg Paladina, P-O superintendent
“We have encouraged students not to discuss it in schools,” Paladina said. “Our middle school principal caught wind that students were discussing it (clowns) in the hallways.”
Mount Nittany Medical Center even limited costume visits for its volunteers who normally dress as clowns.
“A collaborative decision was made with our longtime clowning volunteers to temporarily limit costumed visits at the Medical Center,” Communications Coordinator Anissa Rupert Ilie said. “While disappointing, our volunteers’ and patients’ safety and protection is of the utmost priority.”
Limiting costumed clown visits at the medical center, she added, not only protects those volunteers who dress as clowns, but also prevents any potentially unwanted, negative attention within our patients’ private healing environment.
MNMC to re-evaluate volunteer clown policy in November
A collaborative effort will be made in November to reevaluate the decision.
“Clown volunteers still serve as active medical center volunteers, helping to make up the more than 600 active volunteers who provide approximately 68,000 hours of service annually,” Rupert Ilie said.