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OK, it's time to stop.
Scaring children is never OK.
What do I mean?
The rapidly spreading, and now international trend of people dressing in creepy-looking clown masks has reached Hudson and caused children across the country to fear the white-faced purveyors of fun.
On Sept. 30, a non-Hudson student attending an auto class near Hudson Middle School decided it was a good idea to don a clown mask and wig for a few grins and giggles.
The merry prankster succeeded in getting a reaction from students -- middle school students.
"They've seen the news, and it scared them," a district spokesperson said of the middle school students.
Staffers and school administrators had to be called to calm the worried students.
On Sept. 28, a person called Hudson Police and reported seeing a person dressed as a clown and carrying a chainsaw on East Streetsboro Street. The person was gone when police arrived.
Sightings of scary clowns, which begun over a year ago as a prank, has spread across the country with recent reports from as far away as England.
However, this is no longer a harmless prank. These sightings are scaring children -- I know.
I received a message from a terrified 8-year-old boy a few days ago. I happen to be one of the few people his mom and dad allow him to text.
"What should I do? Evil clowns came to my town," he asked.
The poor boy, who lives in California, was terrified, according to his mom. I let him know they were silly kids just dressing up to scare people.
"OK," he said.
I hoped I was right.
Stop it, people.
Kids are panicking.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not anti-prank.
I once put a casket and a real, but discarded tombstone in a buddy's front yard. The casket contained a mop figure with gloves and some improvised blood (ketchup) and a few other items.
But, he was an adult.
I actually love pranks. It's in my blood.
My dad loved pranks and a few are still legendary 12 years after his death. One or two of Dad's pranks I still cannot talk to with certain people -- thanks, Pop.
But the pranks did not scare children.
Did I say I love pranks?
Aside from the casket, I've cleared out businesses with stink bombs (I'm hoping the statute of limitations has expired on those three). I've also put peanut butter on certain porcelain fixtures in bathrooms, frightened a variety of friends and freaked out a co-worker or two at different jobs.
However, the difference between me and the clown-costumed fright merchants is that my pranks did not frighten children.
Let's knock off the clown pranks, which have now turned violent.
According to reports, people have shot at and been shot at by clowns. A man in another state told me his daughter was one of two girls grabbed by men wearing clown costumes, taken to a stranger's home, and released unharmed several hours later.
Who would have thought that in 2016 zombies would be loved and clowns hated and feared?
If you feel the need to pull a prank, stay away from the creepy clown costume. This is an election season -- there are already too many clowns around.
And, whatever you do, do not wear creepy clown costumes on Beggar's Night.
Kids will be traumatized.
Tell you what, if you really feel the need to pull a prank, I can tell you where a slightly used casket and a pile of old marble stones are.