Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fear of Mascots and Clowns

My 4-year-old daughter has this tremendous fear for mascots and clowns. Whenever we attend birthday parties or costume parties and see clowns or mascots, she starts shaking with fear. One time, I brought her to a Dora show in Ayala mall which she insists on going at first. But when the show started and life-size Dora and Boots started dancing on stage, she began to tremble and scream. Since she was already screaming at the top of her lungs, we just have to leave the venue so as not to disturb those who are enjoying the show. I don’t always enjoy going with her to birthday parties especially those with clowns as entertainers because she would cling to me like a spider the entire party. It saves me a lot though because I don’t have to hire a clown or mascot during her birthday except for her 1st birthday when we had her party at McDonald’s and having “Grimace” as her mascot is part of the package.

Last Saturday, we went to Jollibee to eat dinner. Apparently, there was a party going on and Jollibee mascot was roaming around greeting the kids and adults alike. The mascot chanced upon our table and my daughter almost knocked out our food as she jumped off her seat to embrace me. The mascot even tried to pacify her but she just hugged me even tighter and started to cry.

I don’t know if there’s such a name for this phobia but it sure is freaking me out witnessing my daughter that way. I don’t know how long will she have this phobia or if there’s a cure for this. It’s amazing at how some children her age faces these mascots and clowns with no fear at all. I tried asking my sister who is a psychology major if this fear for mascots/clowns is a normal thing. She said it is normal for kids her age to have this fear for mascots/clowns. When they see these mascots on TV, they perceive them as little creatures and seeing them that big just scares the hell out of them.

I hope she'll get over this fear soon coz it would be quite embarrassing if she still holds this fear even in her teens.


SASSY MOM said...

Don't worry Mhalou, I'm sure she'll get over it my daughter got over it at around 5y/o.

It's just a phase.

feng said...

my 4-year old niece is also afraid of mascots and clowns esp. the adorable Jollibee. when i asked my sister why, she said the fear started when my poor niece attended a birthday party where one of the clowns joked on her. so now, we're slowly convincing her that she need not fear these clowns as they are in parties to make everyone happy. we haven't tried if our convincing powers worked though till we attended another bday party.

maybe you can do the same for alex.

auee said...

hi Mhalou... Maa-outgrow din nya yang "fear" na yan. Ask your sister if it helps to show your daughter that the mascots & clowns are just normal people. My niece saw "Jolibee" getting dressed and lost her fear (and interest) at once, kaya lang kasama nya ako pati Lola nya nung nangyari yun kaya may "support system" sya kumbaga.

Analyse said...

thanks for sharing. i didnt even know that there's such kind of fear.. at least when time comes, i would know that it's normal..

Ice-Ice-Baby said...

My name is Lids, I'm 19 years old and at a flea market, I work as a mascot and have for a year :). I dress up as a raccoon and hand out balloons to the kids, entertain them and give them high 5's.

I've come across many young kids with a fear of me in the costume and kids in general with fears of masks and people in costumes. Most kids love the mascot, but I always get a few kids that get scared, I would often step back and play shy, I would slowly reach in the basket and pull out a balloon but if that didn't work I would hand the balloon to the parent. I would also bend down to the child's height because I understand there are kids scared of people in costumes. I do not approach the child because I don't know the child, I approach the parents first then point to the kid, the parent often grabs the kids attention, but it's also on how the parent reacts to the mascot as well.

Usually, the kids age range that would commonly be scared would be the really small children, which is common for them. Usually if a child gets too scared, the parent would kindly let me know that they're afraid of that kind of stuff and I'm ok.

I'm sure she'll outgrow it; reassure her it's only someone in a costume, ask the person (if there's no other kids around) if they can slightly lift the head of the costume, I've done this on two occassions and it does help as well.

With the mascot costume I wear, you can see the persons actual shoes and hands and also see through the mouth part.

It's normal for young children to have the fear, I used to be scared of Santa lol and my brother used to be afraid of clowns lol. The only time to start worrying would be if the child is in grade 1 or over.

Give her time, the more she's around that kind of stuff and the more she's reassured then she may have a good chance getting over the fear. I would let her watch the mascot with the other kids and try talking to her and explaining to her how the mascot won't hurt her and look at the other kids playing with the mascot. I've also come across parents that would go up with their child to the mascot or would pick them up and go up with them.

This is also coming from someone who's worked as a mascot for a year, I love the job and the kids, and I always get the shy ones as well or the ocassional one that crys. But I've also seen how other parents dealt with it and how I deal with it as well. I hope my advice was helpful :).

And there IS a such fear, it's called masklophobia which means someone who is afraid of masks and people in costumes and mascots.

Best of luck to you and your daughter, and remember we were all four once too :).

Megan said...

I'm a 26 year old woman and for what it's worth, I have a fear of all things masked. This includes mascots, clowns, the Red Robin bird, Santa, halloween outfits with masks, even some helmets or hooded winter clothing. My family jokes wondering what exactly went wrong when I was younger, but we can't really track it down. The only thing that has improved over time is that I used to fear men with facial hair. Good thing that's gone away!
I've found that these masked people are somewhat ok if they are far away and if I keep an eye on them. If they think they're clever my sneaking up on me and bear hugging me (it's happened before), I don't react kindly. :)
Even if I know who's on the other side of the mask (or even if it's face paint) I don't like it.
It is embarassing and annoying, but it's better now that I'm older and can identify, own and laugh at it (even though it often brings tears to my eyes because I get so uncomfortable in situations).
So even if your children aren't able to grown out of it, they'll be ok. It's just a unique "special" quirk that some of us have!