EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) — Clowns are known for making kids laugh and smile, but Pernicious The Clown has another goal: to scare the community for a good cause.
Pernicious likes to dress up and scare people. The character is one of many performed by the 30-40 cast of The Hidden Haunted Attraction in East Liverpool on Irish Ridge Road every Friday and Saturday in October.
However, scaring others is nothing new to this clown.
Pernicious held haunted houses in his own house every Halloween. He said the children knew they were going to be scared, but they also knew they were going to get candy.
“I would wrap my whole porch and close it up, you know, it’s a mini haunted house on my porch. You go through my whole front yard, cemetery scene, you name it,” Pernicious said.
As he got older, he knew he wanted to be a charity clown. When Pernicious was in high school in 2017, he signed up to do his first hangout for volunteer hours for the National Honor Society. However, Pernicious said he continued to clown around, so he was never inducted.
“I kept clowning around, so I never got inducted so quickly, I continued because I found fun in it,” Pernicious said.
Pernicious always likes to scare anyway.
So when I pick up a chainsaw or an ax and start chasing them across the parking lot, it adds a whole new level of fear. I’m going to pick up the kids. I’ll tell you, I’ll grab them and run across the field with them. I have no limits,” he said.
Pernicious used to be called Psycho the Clown, but he later decided he wanted to change his name. By definition, pernicious means highly harmful or destructive. Trail walkers can see Pernicious with his axe, mace, and even a chainsaw.
“I get a little crazy at night. I’m calm during the day, but when the sun goes down and the moon is out, Pernicious is ready to play,” he said.
As for the name Psycho, it was passed on to his brother, whom he wanted to carry on the name. Pernicious loves that scaring has become a family tradition.
“He was very upset when I stopped doing the haunted house at my house on Halloween. So when he was old enough to come here, you know, it just added a whole new level of happiness to him,” said the clown.
The nonprofit organization hosting the event, Tri-State Trillium Foundation, is working with Hidden Oaks LLC to raise scholarships for senior graduates.
The Tri-State Trillium Foundation is made up of four board members. The Tri-State Trillium Foundation Scholarship supports graduating seniors in the tri-state area who wish to further their education in any way, be it college, trade school, police academy, etc.
TSTF board member Dawne Bednarek, from East Liverpool, said she was offering the scholarship to give students from the area the financial ability to pursue the career of their choice.
“There aren’t always grants and scholarships for kids who don’t want to go to big universities. So we are trying to help older people within a 20 mile radius of east Liverpool,” Bednarek said.
The scholarship was established in April 2020. The scholarship application can be accessed online. The organization offers two to five $750 scholarships each year to senior graduates, depending on the amount of money raised. The Hidden Haunted Attraction raised $33,775 for senior graduates. The group hopes to continue to spread the message.
Bedenarek has been scaring people for 12 years. The older adults have about 100 combined years of community service, while mentoring the younger actors for the future. Some of the adult actors have participated since they were 14 years old.
“They have community hours. It gives us a chance to really shape teenagers in a positive way, while having fun scaring people,” Bednarek said.
She had some kind words to share about Pernicious.
“He’s also probably our most outgoing character when it comes to interacting with the audience outside of the lair. He comes up front, he goes in the back, he’s all over the place,” Bednarek said.
Pernicious likes to give back to their community through the program.
“You know, every scare is another dollar towards a purse. That’s the way we have to look at it. so as long as we’re doing our job, somebody else benefits. so that’s where it comes from. passion,” Pernicious said.
The hidden haunted attraction takes place every Friday and Saturday night in October from 8-11 p.m. on the 1600 block of Irish Ridge Road in East Liverpool. There’s a haunted trail, mini-golf, live music performed by the Empty Bottles Band (October 29), and food vendors.
More information regarding tickets can be found on their Facebook page. For group pricing on tickets, contact [email protected]