In my past life BC (Before Children),I was a party clown by the name of Lilli Pilli. I now suffer from Former Clown Syndrome, which often afflicts those who performed for just long enough to be bitten by the bug, but not long enough to be burnt out; and can be characterized by attention seeking behaviours and randomly breaking into song in public. Therefore, I feel it’s my civic duty to instruct the general public on clown ettiquette, and the rules on how not to get sucked in by a ‘clown’. Remember the cardinal rule- If in doubt, ask if they can juggle.
So here ’tis- my first list of things you never knew about party clowns.
1) There are ‘clowns’, then there are clowns.
Clowns actually do this for a living, carry insurance, and can do at least one of the following- juggle, ride a unciycle, perform a magic show, stiltwalk; and balloon animals in all shapes and sizes are a given. ‘Clowns’ are 17 year olds in second hand flanno pyjama pants and cheap $5 wigs who can make two balloon animals- a dog, or a sausage dog. Beware of ‘clowns’
2) We can’t find anything without balloons on the letterbox.
If you’ve ever hired a clown and they haven’t turned up, it’s probably because you neglected to tie balloons out the front of the house. In fact, your clown is probably still driving aimlessly around your suburb, looking for Tiarna’s 5th birthday. Even now, 3 years on, I still have the Pavlovian instinct to flick my blinker on every time I see a bunch of balloons tied to a lightpole.
3) We luuuurve party bags.
As I mentioned, most real clowns, clown for a living. No matter how good you are, there are only so many parties you can do. The money ain’t great. Party bags packed with sugary goodness provide the much needed energy to get to the next gig. Be polite and offer your clown a loot bag.
4) We do actually love kids (most of us)…
…but not when they’re pulling off our wigs, getting into our stuff, kicking us or throwing things at our heads. A ‘clown’ will cower in the corner, but most of the time, a good clown can maintain control of the room (no mean feat when you consider 30 kids high on soft drink and lolly snakes). Sometimes, however, your little angels really need a good kick up the butt, and our insurance doesn’t cover that. So if you could step in, that’d be just fab. If not, at least give us a hefty tip.