Due to well-publicized creepy clown sightings, clown decorations for Halloween were banned in the county. Besides the banned decorations, clown costumes could not be bought in Warrenville’s stores as per Sheriff Hawkins’s edict.
Tommy Parker didn’t care much for rules in his fifth grade classroom or at home, and he certainly wasn’t going to let Hawkins stop him from being a scary clown for the Halloween party.
On the night before Halloween Tommy crept up into the attic and found the clown costume his older brother wore years before. The multi-colored jumpsuit and floppy felt shoes were okay, but he loved the sinister mask and the plastic butcher knife accessory; this clown costume would be perfect.
The next day in school the teachers were all talking about something in the hallway. Tommy’s best friend Billy Dee (so named because Billy Dee Williams was his parents’ favorite actor) leaned over to him and whispered, “I think something big is going on.”
Tommy nodded. “Like when poor Principal Olson died.”
“Yeah, right,” Billy Dee gushed.
Their teacher Ms. Tate came back into the room forcing a smile. She was the first teacher that Tommy ever liked. His teenage sister said, “She looks like Taylor Swift,” and Tommy fell in love sometime after that first week of school when she came in wearing a polka dot dress and black high heels looking like some kind of teaching superstar.
“What’s wrong, Ms. Tate?” asked pesty Marie Reynolds, the girl that had annoyed Tommy since Kindergarten.
“Oh, nothing is wrong at all,” Ms. Tate said, crossing her arms and biting her lip. Tommy knew something was definitely wrong.
After dark Tommy went to meet Billy Dee in the back alley behind Joey Martin’s house where the best Halloween parties were always held. Tommy carried the costume in a bag during the ten minute walk, just in case Hawkins or one of his deputies was around. Sure enough during his journey he saw three police cars with deputies patrolling the streets to watch over the trick-or-treaters as they went house to house with their parents.
Bill Dee was waiting for him dressed like Lando Calrissian from Star Wars. “Hey, you were supposed to be Jason Voorhees,” Tommy said.
“Yeah, but my Mom sewed this for me. She took a picture and they’re going to send it to the real Billy Dee.”
Tommy started putting on his costume. “Well, your mustache looks fake and that wig is weird.”
“Yeah, I guess. Hey, my parents heard on the radio about a killer clown in Barton. Mom says he killed three people.”
“Bet that’s what the teachers were talking about,” Tommy said as he finished transforming into a clown.
“Are you crazy?”
“Dude, Barton is far away. Besides, I’m not letting that stupid sheriff stop me from wearing this.”
Just as Tommy had slipped on the mask they heard an approaching police car siren, screeching tires, and what sounded like three gunshots from the street in front of Joey’s house. As they looked at one another in disbelief, a large man dressed like a creepy clown came rushing toward them carrying a huge butcher knife that was dripping blood.
“Oh, crap,” Billy Dee screamed. They moved back and tried to hide in the corner.
The clown glanced at them as he ran by and saw Tommy. He yelled, “You got balls, kid!”
Tommy took off his mask and threw it on the ground. The boys looked around the side of the building and saw a police car with the driver’s side door open; a deputy lay on the grass clutching his bloody shoulder.
The Martins and their guests ran outside trying to assist the deputy. Mr. Martin was on his cell phone calling for help. Tommy looked at the clown running away from them. “You’ve got your cell?”
Billy Dee nodded. “Sure, why?”
“Let’s go!” Tommy ran in the direction the clown had taken with Billy Dee running after him.
“What the hell are we doing?”
Tommy said, “We’re going to catch that clown.”
They ran through the park and saw blood on a still swaying swing. Billy Dee asked, “That can’t be dripping from the knife?”
Tommy yelled, “He’s bleeding – the deputy must’ve shot him.”
Rushing over the ballfield quickly, they spotted the clown across the road leaning against a building trying to catch his breath. Billy Dee said, “I’m calling 9-1-1!” Tommy saw the clown opening a window. Realizing it was Ms. Tate’s house, he started running toward it.
“Tommy,” Billy Dee yelled, “are you crazy? Wait for the police!”
Ms. Tate apparently saw the clown climbing in the window with his butcher knife and screamed. Tommy jumped up and wrapped his arms around the clown’s legs; his weight pulled the clown down on top of him.
Tommy lay sprawled on the pavement as the clown got up and stood over him with the knife, noticing the costume jumpsuit that he had seen before. “Like I said, you got balls, kid, but now I’m gonna cut them off.”
As the clown prepared to bring the knife down on Tommy, five successive shots rang out; each one hit the clown in the chest, but the last one knocked him down. Tommy looked up to see Sheriff Hawkins holding his gun.
A sobbing Ms. Tate poked her head out the window. “Tommy Parker! Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Tommy said as he got up. Billy Dee came running with several deputies following him.
Hawkins looked up at Ms. Tate. “Are you okay, ma’am?”
Ms. Tate said. “Yes, thanks to Tommy it would seem.”
“About this costume…” Tommy started to say.
Hawkins put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “Let’s get you home to your parents.”
As they started walking away Tommy looked back. The deputies had handcuffed and turned the clown over; his green eyes had a preternatural glow, but it was the crooked smile frozen in death on a grotesquely painted face that Tommy would never forget.