With the recent reports of clowns terrorizing neighborhoods, here and across the country, parents are having to talk with their children who are now scared of clowns.
Scott Pickett is a Professor of Psychology at Oakland University said, "Coulrophobia. It's an irrational fear of clowns."
That's the word to describe what many are feeling after a rash of clown sightings.
"Someone wearing a mask or hiding could actually, potentially, represent a fear, because we actually don't know what's underneath that disguise. That's probably why clowns are thought to be scary."
And it doesn't help when some clowns are made to be scary in movies like "It."
Pickett specializes in the study of fears. He says it's imperative for parents to remain calm.
"Children are likely going to learn to be afraid, to have some anxiety based on what they hear from adults."
Pickett said parents should remind their children that people who are dressing as clowns are attempting to scare people.
"They are scaring people, but a majority of clowns are not scary."
Professor Pickett says it's important for children to be okay with seeing clowns at the circus or parties and to know when it's not okay.
"If they do see a clown in a strange situation, in the woods, that it's probably a good idea to tell an adult."
The professor says it's healthy for adults and children to face their fears, but only with a trained professional.