From Modern Family to The Simpsons the idea that kids (and adults) are afraid of clowns has become a popular cliché. Now, most of the kids that we know aren't actually afraid of clowns, but we asked GigMasters member Vera Gabriel of Very Much the Clown (Baltimore,MD) to give us some tips about hiring clowns for a child's party and how to calm fears.

Here are some of Vera's tips:

• Before hiring a clown, make sure to ask how the clown handles shy or fearful children. Clowns tend to be resourceful people most of whom have great techniques for easing the concerns of an anxious child.

• If your child is afraid of clowns and you find yourself at a party with one, move to a quiet part of the room where the performance can be viewed from a distance. Observing the fun and play should help alleviate fears.

As to how Vera herself handles shy and fearful children:

• I arrive with my puppet "Bear," who is small, like the children. I often direct conversation to Bear, that way the attention is diverted from me, to Bear, who the children may relate to better. Little people also warm up quickly to balloon animals. Lighter make-up usually works better with a younger crowd, and in general a gentle and happy approach is always best!

Are you afraid of clowns? Is your child? Let us know in the comments below! If you're looking for a clown or other entertainment for a children's party, don't forget to check our Kids' Parties resource page.

small child with clown

Photos courtesy of Vera, Very Much the Clown