Whimsical Wednesday’s: The Journey To Becoming Hugz The Clown And Beyond; Part 8: A Birthday Party Clown and the Art of Versatility.

Whimsical Wednesday’s: The Journey To Becoming Hugz The Clown And Beyond;
Part 8: A Birthday Party Clown and the art of versatility.

To be honest, my training at clown college, though wonderful and perfect for the circus, was not that practical for “everyday” clowning. Much of the instruction was geared toward performing for a large audience or roaming in crowds. When I was asked to do a birthday party soon after I graduated this became painfully clear. I had no idea how to entertain ten, five-year olds, they pulled on my nose, and stepped on my shoes, and I was horrible. I truly believe it was not until I was a parent that I became a good children’s clown.

When we moved to the Seattle area so my husband Scott could finish seminary I needed to work. We also had a year old active, crazy busy, into everything boy. With the years since clown college I had gained a maturity and a much better understanding of children. They did not scare me or overwhelm me anymore. I had gained other valuable skills to help me with the bread and butter world of birthday party clowning. I could face paint, and had acquired the knowledge of balloon animal art. With these two additional tricks up my sleeve I was ready for anything.
Hugz the clown was now a bit more marketable. I found an agency to work with and my learning curve increased 100% more. “Merry Makers” gave me the opportunity to be a princess, a clown, an elf at Christmas, and a leprechaun in March. They taught me a couple of magic tricks, and the value of a few great props. I did singing telegrams as a gorilla, a duck, cupid, and my favorite character, a bag lady. I got to black out a tooth and pretend to be an old girlfriend, it was awesome. By trial and error I learned how to control a crowd of twenty, five-year olds, and keep the attention without scaring most four-year olds.

Being a mom had changed the way I saw children and how I approached them. I liked kids and wanted them to have a good experience. I was a girl clown and I was not as intimidating as some boy clowns. I figured out what would work and what would bomb without any children or parents being hurt in the process. I now had a birthday party routine including an interactive story, some silly magic, lots of goofing up and ending with face painting or balloon animals. I still did larger events but what got Scotty through school was birthday parties.
One of the funniest things that I remember happening during this time was my son Isaac. He had not seen me as Hugz before. Now he was just over a year, and I was still nursing. I had accepted a full day of parties and came home to nurse between gigs. I did not give a second thought to how Isaac would react, I mean a boob is a boob right? NO! Isaac would not nurse while I was in clown makeup. Even if I put a blanket over his face and talked to him he would just wail. Later when he began to have more words, we were driving in the car and he saw a billboard of Ronald McDonald. He pointed and said “Mama” with a huge grin. I was glad there was not anybody else in the car with us.

Hugz was a viable business and I loved what I was doing. The variety of learning a princess routine, a Barney routine, a singing telegram gig, and Hugz the clown, was interesting and profitable. I really liked kids and found a niche where my creativity and skills could be used to pay bills. Who would have thought?

Next week part 9: Kids say the funniest things and clowning catastrophe’s.


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