magi sumpter

What to Do When a Clown Shows Up in Your Bedroom

      It happens to all of us every now and again. About once a month I would wake up from a restless sleep to faint honking and the squeak of rubber shoes. And there, standing over me with a wide smile slapped across his face was my clown attempting to put on a show. 

     At first, I had no issues with the clown. He would show up about once a year, give or take, do a little number, and leave out of the window into the black night. I thoroughly enjoyed his shows—even now they give me a joy I can’t quite place in any other interactions in my life—but I have two young daughters and another bun in the oven now, so every minute of sleep matters to me. And his appearances becoming much more frequent didn’t help. 

     My children saw the clown one time. My oldest, Natalie, was having a nightmare and toddled into our bedroom to sleep beside her mommy when she came across me, wide-eyed, watching the clown dance. I had to run to the kitchen and console her with a glass of cold water and a pack of fruit snacks. I told her that every little girl gets a clown some day, and he’s nothing to be afraid of, but she wasn’t convinced. 

     My wife didn’t particularly enjoy the clown, either. He woke her up, too, and the next morning over a cup of coffee, she grumbled with her messy hair and sleepy eyes that he isn’t that good and that she’s glad her clown stopped showing up five years ago. I shot back that getting your very own clown was a rite of passage to becoming a woman. Her response, without fail: “And getting rid of him is a rite of passage to becoming an adult.” 

     And she was right. I pondered the question for a good long while, and the next time I came toe to toe with the clown, I tried to get rid of him. I told him to shoo, tried to push him out of the window myself, did everything in my right mind to retire him prematurely. But nothing worked. 

     I overhear my coworkers talking about their clowns all the time—”Oh, mine scared my husband last night and left colored handkerchiefs all over the bathroom,” “Well, mine broke a mirror while juggling bowling pins. Guess I’ll have seven years of bad luck, haha.” And after asking around, it seemed no one had a straight answer on how to deal with said clown. 

     So of course I went to my wife. She’s a much better researcher than I am, so she spent a few days holed up in isolation with a laptop and a few Red Bulls trying to get the information we needed. Eventually, after a nice conversation with a few women on Reddit, she compiled a step-by-step list to follow to best deal with your clown (and, best case scenario, to get rid of him). I tested out this method back in September, and as of today, I am officially three months clown-free! I cannot express how much the extra hours of sleep have helped me throughout my pregnancy, and the little ones can sleep in my bed with me without fear that a clown will scare them from their slumber. 

     So if you’re still struggling to tame your clown, I’m going to share my wife’s tried and true instructions here! That way you can sleep soundly, knowing that you are still a woman, and a well-rested one at that.


     Without further ado, here’s WHAT TO DO WHEN A CLOWN SHOWS UP IN YOUR BEDROOM: 

STEP ONE: When your clown appears, ask for 

his name before you say anything else. 

     This step may seem self-explanatory at first, but you’d be surprised how much the shock of seeing a clown in your bedroom at the witching hour can take the words right out of your mouth. Be vigilant. Ask for his name. This way you can determine what breed of clown you own, bettering your chances at understanding his intentions. 

     If his name is something like Squiggles, Patchy, or Texas Pete, you are dealing with a circus clown. This is the most common species of clown. They are renowned for their hard-working demeanor and upbeat attitude. There are many reasons why one would want to keep a circus clown around; they invest a lot of time and energy into perfecting their routine for maximum enjoyment. Each joke is perfectly crafted to bust your stomach open. However, in the same vein, their energy and loveable nature might be a little overstimulating to some people, which is perfectly understandable. My clown, Dimdim, has a special fondness for the water-spraying flower gag, which is only cute the first four or five times. He filled up the apparatus with Kool-Aid one time, and let me tell you! My wife woke up the next morning thinking I had died. One ambulance and one laundry cycle later, we didn’t speak for two days. 

     If his name is something like Roland, Tom, or Archibald, you have yourself a court jester. Unlike the circus clown, court jesters are somewhat lazier, yet more alert. They specialize in puns and improvisation and rely less on physical gags. Court jesters are ideal for married couples and children, as they’re the least likely to cause any fear and do their best to make their subjects comfortable. 

     And lastly, if he says nothing at all, that is not a clown. That is a mime. 

STEP TWO: Ask your clown why he is here. 

(This step does not apply to mimes. If you are in 

possession of a mime, please direct your 

attention to Step Three.) 

     I’m sure at some point, everyone has asked their clown why he comes to their bedroom. Of course, this is a natural reaction. However, asking his name first establishes a level of trust in the clown—simply asking why he’s there implies that you don’t want him there. If you ask your clown’s name first, then he is more likely to give you the true intentions behind his appearances and listen to what you have to say in return. 

     If he says he is here to make you laugh, he is lying. Go to Step Four. 

     If he says he is striving to make recompense for some cruel deed committed during his lifetime so he can peacefully pass on to the afterlife, you can safely free your clown of his shackles here. Simply take him by the hands and close your eyes. State his name, and then yours, and tell whichever God you worship that all is forgiven between your clown and the world. From there, you will feel the weight of his hands in yours begin to lighten. Do not open your eyes until your hands are completely empty. From then on, your clown will not appear to you at night unless you specifically request him from the afterlife, in which case he will show up to you beside your bed in a more translucent, ethereal form. 

     If he is confused by your asking, stating that you bought a ticket for the show, reach into the top drawer of your nightstand. There will, in fact, be a VIP ticket to a clown performance sitting amongst the junk. Return the ticket to the clown and ask for a refund. Your clown will then leave through the window as he is accustomed, and you will be $20 richer. This method may take several tries before he leaves for good. Clowns sometimes have trouble understanding nuance. 

STEP THREE: Get rid of the mime (if 



     Mimes are simultaneously the rarest and easiest species of clown to rid yourself of. (I say “clown” lightly, as I’ve stated previously that a mime is technically not a clown.) Since a mime cannot tell you his name, there is no opportunity for you to build any sort of trust between the two of you. 

     You will notice that almost immediately upon waking, the mime will begin closing himself into a box. This is when you strike. All you have to do is get out of your bed, walk over to your mime, and open the box. From there, the mime will spread wings and fly out through the window, never to be seen again. 

     My wife had a mime, and she says to this day she hasn’t been woken up by him, though she occasionally spots him on the craters of the moon, flying around with his mime partner and mime children. 

STEP FOUR: Kill the clown. 

     A clown is neither human nor animal, so ethically, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you do have some sort of moral impasse preventing you from killing your clown, you can call a loved one to kill him for you. The police will not respond to 911 calls pertaining to clowns, as cops are deathly afraid of clowns, so don’t bother. 

     You can only kill a clown using blunt force. DO NOT SHOOT YOUR CLOWN. Clowns are known to have more elastic skin than humans and cannot be punctured with bullets or a knife. In fact, anything shot towards the clown will simply ricochet back to the point of origin; pulling a gun on a clown is a suicide mission. 

     I personally recommend keeping a hammer or a baseball bat under your bed and out of sight. That way your clown won’t learn your means of self-defense beforehand, giving him time to adequately prepare a counter strike. 

     For circus clowns, I recommend aiming for the kneecaps first. His face would be too cushioned, given the large red nose and the fluffy wig. After you take him to the ground, you are more than welcome to strip him of his defenses and bash his head in. Dimdim, frankly, was an easy kill. He didn’t resist much at all and died in a good nine to ten swings of an aluminum bat. The worst thing about it was the cleanup afterwards. 

     Court jesters are scrappy and put up more of a fight, so prepare for some light bruising at the very least. But since they have less resources to work with, being medieval peasants and all, you can easily take them down no matter how frail you think yourself to be. And then you are free, free from your clown. 


     So there you go! For those of you still out there wrestling your clown, I hope this finds you well so you can free yourself of that ball and chain. And for those of you who are already clown-free, I pray you’ll send this to your friends to help them out. A giant thank you to my wife for compiling this information for me and thoroughly instructing me on how to be clown-free. When my daughters eventually meet their clown, I will share this information with them so that they, too, can live in peace. 

     But for now, it seems we’ll all get a full night’s sleep.

3 March, 2021

Magi Sumpter (she/they) drafts divorce papers by day and eats them with spinach artichoke dip by night. You can find them as the editor-in-chief for Southchild Lit, or on Twitter @MagiSumpter.