You either love them or you hate them. Clowns that is. Not necessarily the person behind the grease paint and baggy trousers, no, rather the persona of the clown itself. If you watch the audience during a clown show you will see expressions that are either filled with joy or tinged with terror. And this is especially evident when looking at children. This fear has been linked to the process whereby a child starts to make sense of facial features and it is thought that the clowns own reliance on exaggerated facial features maybe what triggers the fear which can be carried into adult life. This phobic reaction to clowns is called; coulrophobia.
Professional clowns have usually attended a clown school where homework revolves around tying balloons into animals and other shapes, learning face painting (something becoming more popular at children's parties) and learning how to clown around and make people laugh. Lastly, a professional clown develops and then keeps to his/her own face make-up design.
As you would expect clown costumes come in a number of different styles some reflecting the thoughtful and reflective Pierrot style of clown, or the Harlequin clown, often seen as the leader of the group carrying a slapstick with which he exerts his control, albeit that he inevitably loses the stick and the group use it against him.
With the exception of Pierrot and Harlquin, clowns will be garishly dressed and can either have a bald head or colourful mop head so finding a clown costume for yourself or your child should be easy. Patterns for clown costumes are readily available from larger haberdashers and colourful fabrics are all you would need. If making a costume is too time consuming due to the popularity of the theme, clown costumes are readily available all year round.
If you choose to buy a clown costume then the options will be between visiting your local fancy dress store or shopping on-line through an internet based fancy dress costume site. In either case, they should also be able to offer you a selection of clown wigs, oversized clown props such as glasses, bow-ties, flowers and combs all or any of which will squirt water along with the more skilful spinning plates and juggling balls. And don't forget your clown make-up and false nose.