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The Clowns are the antagonists of the book The Midnight Clowns and are circus clowns, but are actually much more evil: their seemingly friendly natures are a disguise.
They lure children into their circus, entertain them with their routines, then they give them a potion which will imprison them and brainwash them into being mindless slaves, or "Minims" as the Clowns call them. The Clowns keep a horde of brainwashed, enslaved children in this way, and the children will only be freed if the Clowns are dead.
The Clowns are nocturnal stalkers, only appearing at night, and they follow their victims home - the Minims do so too, but only to warn them and try to protect them; the Clowns sleep in coffins during the day and one day one Minim opened the coffin daringly, only to have the Clowns swarmed on him and dragged him inside a caravan to eat him. The Clowns leave threatening messages with more of the potions, and this is dangerous because it is up to the children to decide whether to evade them or not.
The Clowns major weakness is sunlight, as revealed at the end when the children lure the Clowns into a cemetery at daybreak and the Clowns cannot get inside their coffins; they just break apart and turn to ash.