Reports of creepy clown sightings are terrifying people throughout the country.
They’ve been spotted in Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, Colorado, and Oregon, according to USA Today.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 30, 2016
On Friday, multiple Facebook accounts set up for clowns contacted junior high students in St. Joseph, and even made a threat to the school district.
All of these sightings have been giving professional clowns in the area a bad reputation.
"It's scary because I see some comments from people that want to kill clowns,” said Ivan Mendez, a part-time clown in Kansas City.
Mendez has been working as Caramelito the Clown for six years. He says he does it because of the joy it can bring to people.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it when you go out there entertaining and see the kids’ reactions, “ said Mendez.
Mendez tries very hard to portray a happy and friendly clown.
He says it all has to do with his makeup techniques and his costume choices.
Most professionals will not wear a mask like the ones you see in the costume stores, according to Mendez.
“I’m trying to make my makeup be happy, I’m not trying to be scary either,” he said.
He doesn’t like to wear a wig and his outfits, some of which cost near $400, are bright and fun. He also sports a skin tone colored nose, instead of the red one most would recognize. In total, it takes him 45 minutes to put his clown face on.
A rule that Mendez has when he goes to events is to always leave home as a clown and come home as one too. He doesn’t like to take his makeup off in between.
Because of this, Mendez and other clowns are worried they will be targeted if someone sees them in full costume out in public.
“I’m afraid for my safety now, I’m afraid for my family because 90 percent of the time my wife and kids are coming with me to help me out and set up everything,” he said.
Another rule Mendez uses is to never approach someone he thinks will be afraid of him so he tries to respect boundaries.
Kansas City police have not taken reports of scary clowns, but they say people should pay attention to a person's actions and not what they are wearing.
"I don't think you should stereotype clowns, but if you see a clown that has some type of suspicious behavior that is in a certain area that seems a little bit odd, by all means call us and we will come out and check it out," said Captain Stacey Graves of the Kansas City Police Department.
Dewey Bond, works as semi-professional clown and his clown name is Wally T. Clown. He says "it's heartbreaking for somebody who is really into clowning."
Bond and Mendez are both a part of the group called Kansas City Clowns COAI Alley 92 and WCA Alley 368. The club has around 40 members. According to their website, it is the oldest clown club and the first to be a dual Alley in the greater Kansas City area. The group offers how to be a clown classes and other talent classes, like puppetry and ballooning.
The group posted a warning to fellow clowns about the creepy clown sightings on their Facebook page earlier this week.
Bond says the scary clowns do not live by the clowning code of ethics.
"I feel sad for you because you're destroying something that is good in this confused messed up world, “ Bond said in reference to the creepy clown sightings.
As for Mendez he plans to continue to make people happy even if the creepy clown sightings continue.
"That reaction when they give it back to you is priceless you know you take it home and you say ‘oh I made somebody smile today.’"