Cue the carnival music. Tie those balloon animals. Refill the seltzer bottles.
The clowns are here.
Did you jump into the nearest bush when you heard this? Well, you're not alone. You may have coulrophobia -- a fear of clowns.
Richard Arbogast, chief medical officer for McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, said that 10 percent of people, young and old, have a negative reaction to clowns.
A 2007 study by the University of Sheffield in the U.K. polled children at a children's hospital about decorating the ward with pictures of clowns. Every child said "no" to the clowns.
Asked if there has been more reports of the fear of clowns among adults, Arbogast checked with the director of the behavioral health division at the hospital.
"The answer in what they are seeing clinically is, no, there is no increase," Arbogast said.
"But if you think about it, clown phobia is a little bit like elephant phobia. If you have an elephant phobia, you are probably not going to go to the therapist. You're just not going to go to the zoo."
The reason behind developing a fear of clowns changes with age, according to local experts. But one former clown is pointing the finger at Hollywood and its depictions of evil clowns for adults' and older children's fears.
"The big frustration and, really, irritation that I have is with Hollywood," said Gary Willden, Weber State University professor and the former entertainer known as Lupo the Clown.
"It just makes me angry that clowns are made the bad guy in so many horror movies. People begin to have a bad impression of what clowns are all about."
Pennywise the Clown, from Stephen King's "It," played by Tim Curry in the movie, is often cited as the stereotypical evil clown. And such evil clowns could be the reason behind many adults' fear.
The Joker, played by Heath Ledger, chilled audiences as he terrorized Gotham City in 2008's "The Dark Knight." There was even a cult classic, 1988's "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" that had an effect on molding perspectives.
"Personally, what I have found is you don't see clowns very much anymore, except for in terms of a frightening person," said Jim Bird, child development professor at Weber State University.
And Hollywood doesn't stop there, with just clowns. The entertainment industry uses scary Santa Clauses, and even scary children, in horror films.
"It's characteristic of the movies and entertainment to take almost anything that we know and exaggerate it to an extreme degree," Willden said.
"You take something that is not threatening and make it very threatening. That's what generates horror."
While Hollywood might have changed the viewpoint among adults, toddlers' first experiences with clowns come straight from the clown.
"When I talk clowning, I always emphasize to people the importance of not coming on too strong with kids," said Willden, who has taught university-level clowning classes. "You don't run up into some little kid's face with all this grotesque makeup with funny hair and go, 'Oh, hi.' It can just be terrifying."
Jennifer Delaney, of Brigham City, has experienced the fear firsthand with her daughter. She was transforming herself into JoJo the Clown, her clown persona, and she went to her 2-year-old daughter's room to wake her for the day.
"As soon as she saw my face, she freaked," said Delaney.
That fear is common for toddlers. The reason? The makeup or the mask.
"They really take their visual cues to determine who the person is," from the face, said Bird.
"So when you paint your face, it's like, 'Oh, who are you now?' It triggers that stranger anxiety that all of us are prone to."
Plus, there is an art to the clown makeup, according to Willden. Some clowns are just too over-the-top.
The clown paint is supposed to exaggerate features -- to make the eyes appear bigger and finish with the red nose. The trouble area for Willden is the big, red smile.
"That's just not good makeup," Willden said. "When we teach clowning, we emphasize that you don't put red on the upper lip. You go around the side and down onto your upper chin."
Delaney has since learned from her daughter and other children that minimalism is better.
"I have done it very simple where I just do little circles and a wig and make it very basic. As long as they can still recognize me as a person, they do fine," Delaney said.
Also, clowns and parents can take steps to ease small children's clown anxiety.
"You warm them up. Children are going to take their emotional cues from the parents," Bird said.
Willden noted that when he worked a parade as Lupo, he would seek out the grandmas and grandpas. He would joke with them, or sit on their laps. Then the child, observing that, felt more comfortable.
"Small children, I'd approach slowly and I wouldn't crowd them. You don't invade their personal space," Willden said.
There are people with a fear of flying that is so crippling that they never board an airplane. They might seek out counseling in order to overcome the fear.
An adult with a fear of clowns, though, doesn't typically seek out therapy. He/she might just ignore the circus or carnival.
Coulrophobia is simply an irrational fear. "It's a fear out of proportion to the experience itself," Arbogast said.
There are hundreds of phobias listed on the Internet -- and, likely, everyone has a fear that's on that list.
"We all have a little bit of craziness in us," Arbogast said.
"Sometimes, it's a little cute. Sometimes, it's creative. Sometimes, it gets in our way."