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‘Scary clown’ phenomenon adds new Halloween fears


Central Oregon haunt designer Sheri Stirewalt scares people for a living.

But in her 11th season working for the Deschutes County Scaregrounds, she’s never seen this type of fright outside of the haunted house.

“I’m just amazed that people would even think to do something like that,” Stirewalt said Wednesday.

“Our environment here at the haunt — you know, we have zombies, we have serial killers, we have clowns — people are coming here to be scared. But to be scared when you are not expecting it, that would be frightening.”

Stirewalt said since the “scary clown” phenomenon broke out around the country, she will be taking extra precautions this Halloween season by having extra security and some local law enforcement.

“The Redmond Police Department is wonderful,” she said. “They patrol our parking lot on our busy nights, and they provide a presence, and it’s wonderful.”

Scaregrounds worker Jeff Ingersolls said this year, he is hesitant to take his young kids trick-or- treating.

He hopes local law enforcement will step in if there is a scary clown sighting.

“There has already been incidents of them seen around town, and might as well step it up and protect the kids,” Ingersoll said.

Meanwhile, the Bend Police Department said it is aware of the phenomenon, and on alert.

“The one day that you would expect to see a scary clown costume is on Halloween,” said Lt. Clint Burleigh. “So we have several officers already scheduled to work that shift.

“We’re going to be out there and make sure our presence is known in the neighborhood that we do have officers that can provide the safest Halloween,”

Because for people like Stirewalt, a safe scare is always in season.

“For me that’s it,” she said. “Just to have a great event where kids can turn out and do some good, clean scares and have good fun.”

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