Why I Stopped Being a Clown

On the journey to discovering who I am, I started my own business at 19 or 20 years old. I was a clown for hire for $20 an hour. The career choice was as bizarre as how I chose it.

I wore a handmade clown costume and cheap grease make-up one Halloween and learned how to make balloon animals from a book checked out from the library. A neighbor asked if I could come to her child’s birthday party as a clown. I thought, “This is a good income.” The public relations person for Safeway also saw redeeming qualities in clowning.

Safeway took a handful of volunteers, including myself, and had a clown from Barnum and Bailey’s circus train us in make-up and acting for parades. So, I bought professional make-up and items to go with my costume from a store on Broadway in Tempe, Arizona. For $20 an hour, I was hired at parties. It was the shortest career path in my life.

The first party, not affiliated with friends, was a woman in a wealthy neighborhood. She took my $20 an hour literally and practically pushed me out the door the minute the hour was up with no tip. I changed my rules. I charged $20 an hour for minimum two hours to make the time it took to apply and take off the make up and drive to the destination worthwhile.

A corporation hired me for their annual parties. I had a different costume–long johns, oversize pants, and a tall Cat-In-The-Hat candy striped hat. The sexual harassment and innuendo from the “old men” at the party were more than I could stand. I persevered through it.

Finally, an apartment complex hired me for their party. This was a disaster! It was what ended my career. Their children were out of control and violently grabbed my wig off. Another child took my bag, which had my keys and wallet, disappearing with it somewhere around the complex. The adults watched and laughed. When I was done with the party, retrieved my bag, I took my money and never did another job again, especially for that place.

I think it takes a very special and patient person to put up with the kind of people female clowns encounter. What I loved were the looks I got as I drove my beat-up old chevy car to the next party in full costume. I also enjoyed doing fake magic tricks for small children and making them laugh.

Years later, I would create a ministry called, “Clowns for Christ,” at the church I attended. We even walked in a parade. This, too, had a short life. One person called attention to how much he didn’t like it. With little support, I ended this ministry.

I still know how to do balloon animals and recall how to wear and apply the make-up, though the only item left from my clowning days is my balloon pump. For a church or a ministry, I would do this again. Professionally, I have hung up my big floppy feet and have turned to other more pressing matters. For a little while though, it was fun to have a creative side job that started when I was on the brink of adulthood by accident on Halloween. It is also symbolic of how God will use the creative side of ministry to reach the lost or to bring a smile to the faces of the weary. Just because a ministry doesn’t look like how you would do ministry, doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate.

Here’s a few creative ministries from WorldVenture: 

What strange careers or creative ministries did you do? Explain in the comments.