EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Clowns are known for making kids laugh and smile, but Pernicious The Clown has another agenda: Scaring the community for a good cause.

Pernicious loves dressing up and causing people to feel frightened. The character is one of many portrayed by the 30-40 actors at The Hidden Haunted Attraction in East Liverpool on Irish Ridge Road every Friday and Saturday of October.

However, scaring others is nothing new for this clown.

Pernicious would hold haunted houses at his own house every Halloween. He said that kids knew they were going to be scared, but they also knew that they were going to be getting some candy.

“I would wrap my entire porch and close it, you know, it’s a mini haunted house on my front porch. You go through my entire front yard, a cemetery scene, you name it,” Pernicious said.

As he got older, he knew that he wanted to be a charitable clown. When Pernicious was in high school in 2017, he signed up to do his first haunt for volunteer hours for the National Honor Society. However, Pernicious said that he kept clowning around, so he never did get inducted. 

“I kept clowning around, so I never did get inducted. so fast forward to now, I stuck with it because I found enjoyment out of it,” Pernicious said.

Pernicious still loves to scare anyway.

So when I get a chainsaw or an ax and start chasing them through the parking lot, that’s adds a whole nother level of scare. I’ll pick up kids. I’ll tell you, I’ll grab them up and run across the field with them. I have no limits,” he said.

Pernicious was previously named Psycho the clown, but he later decided that he wanted to change his name. Pernicious by definition means highly injurious or destructive. Walkers of the trail can see Pernicious with his ax, his sledgehammer and even a chainsaw.

“I go a little crazy at night. I’m calm in the daytime, but when the sun goes down and the moon is out, Pernicious is out to play,” he said.

As for the name Psycho, it was passed along to his brother, who he wanted to carry on the name. Pernicious likes that scaring has become a family tradition.

“He was very upset when I quit doing the haunted house at my house on Halloween. So when he was old enough to come up here, you know, that just added a whole nother level of happiness for him,” the clown said.

The nonprofit that runs the event, Tri-State Trillium Foundation works together with Hidden Oaks LLC to raise scholarship money for graduating seniors.

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 are interested in furthering their education in any way, whether it be college, trade school, police academy, etc.

TSTF Board member Dawne Bednarek, of East Liverpool, said that they provide the scholarship to give area students the financial ability to pursue whatever career they wish.

“There’s not always grants and scholarships for the kids that don’t want to go to big universities. So we try to help out seniors in 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 provides two to five $750 scholarships to graduating seniors each year, depending on how much money is raised. The Hidden Haunted Attraction has raised $33,775 for graduating seniors. The group hopes to continue to get the word out.

Bedenarek has been scaring for 12 years. The older adults have approximately 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 get community hours. It gives us a chance to really mold 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 as far as interacting with the audience outside the haunt. He comes to the front, he goes to the back, he’s kind of all over the place,” Bednarek said.

Pernicious enjoys giving back to his community as a part of the program.

“You know, every scare is another dollar towards a scholarship. That’s the way we have to look at it. so as long as we’re doing our job, then somebody else is benefiting from it. so that’s where the passion comes from,” Pernicious said.

The Hidden Haunted Attraction is every Friday and Saturday night in October from 8 p.m.- 11 p.m on the 1600 block of Irish Ridge Ridge Road in East Liverpool. There is a haunted trail, a mini golf course, 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 rates on tickets, reach out to thehiddenhaunt@gmail.com.