By Tom Mustin
DENVER (CBS4)– A week before Halloween, the creepy clown hysteria is kicking into overdrive. The Denver Zoo is taking a stand by banning clown costumes from its annual “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween event, but not for everyone.
“It’s kind of like a huge panic right now,” Tyler Schnekenberger told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
For the past few months, devilish clowns, real and imagined, have been reported across the country, including in Colorado.
The Denver Zoo said the ban was the next logical step.
“This year people are really hyper-vigilant to it, ” said Denver Zoo spokesman Patrick Phelan.
Phelan says there have been no threats against the zoo, but the current clown climate dictated the costume ban.
“It was something that we felt had reached a point where there would be enough people that would be concerned about the clown costumes that we needed to ban it this year,” said Phelan.
Phelan says the ban is meant for adults. Small children in clown garb will not be turned away.
The move comes after clown costumes have been removed from some costume stores nationwide, and banned in several Colorado school districts.
Emily Kurland says the zoo ban goes too far.
“Not all clowns are evil,” she told Mustin. “I understand the concern, but to ban all clown costumes is a little over the top.”
Tyler Schneckenberger says most of the creepy clown calamity has been a hoax, but children’s safety is not worth the risk.
“I feel like most of it is overkill, but I feel like it could be smart just to be safe this time around, just because it’s been so prominent lately,” said Schneckenberger.
And with clown mania reaching its peak this Halloween, the “lion’s” share of parents have no problem attending boo at the zoo… clown-free.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said parent Tanya Hicks.
Boo at the Zoo features 25 trick-or-treat stations, animal demonstrations, and family friendly entertainment.
The event kicks off its two-weekend run Oct. 22.