Lulu the Clown - A Star Comes to the Caldwells

Lulu with her soft fuzzy bunny rabbit - petting permitted!
Lulu with her soft fuzzy bunny rabbit - petting permitted!
Diane Lilli
7/1/09

The recreation department of Caldwell and West Caldwell officially opened up their camps last week, and the kids who have been stuck indoors with all that rain were ecstatic.

Besides running around, playing on the playgrounds, and doing arts and crafts, the recreation team is offering plenty of extra activities for the younger set. There’s the ever popular trip to Camel Beach, flying saucer days from Carvel, movie days, foul shooting contests, Jackals games, visits to both Westville and Cedar Street Pools, bowling, roller skating, speed and agility classes, and more.

Along with all of these fun things to do, there’s another reason for kids – and their parents - to smile. This summer, as every summer, Lulu the Clown made her traditional, wildly popular appearances.

On June 26, Lulu the Clown spent her morning at Memorial and Francisco Parks, where the hundreds of children greeted her like an old friend.

While the camp counselors sat with their young charges, this clown got the ball rolling fast. She did balloon tricks, magic, singing, dancing, and all kinds of interactive games with the children. The two shows, though informal, were polished and professional. Ringling brothers couldn’t have done it any better.

One little girl, who watched her try to make a birthday cake out of magical ingredients, was thrilled to find a warm fuzzy surprise.

“It was a rabbit,” said the amazed 7-year old. “And it was better than a cake.”

And, to no one’s surprise, the best part of Lulu the Clown’s act was this simple touch of a soft bunny, who sat patiently while every single kid in attendance pet him.

Lulu the Clown has been around since 1993, and often shows up at parties and local events around the area.

But how does a seemingly typical young woman decide to become . . a clown?

“At first I thought it was a big joke, when my girlfriend came one day and said she knew someone who is hiring – he needs a clown,” she said, laughing. “She told me ‘you’ve got the personality and you’re good with kids’.”

Pausing for a moment, Lulu added, “I didn’t go to it – it came to me. It found me. The art actually found me.”

Becoming a gifted clown takes training, and Lulu learned from many sources.

“I studied with someone who had been formally trained, and I also learned from books, videos, other entertainers,” she explained. “I am also part of an association of clowns.”

When asked if the clowns’ meetings were filled with exploding balloons and gags, Lulu said the exact opposite was true.

“Our meetings are serious,” she said. “We go over how to entertain and interact with children.”

Lulu, who majored in education and psychology in college, said her school work helped prepare her for her happy career.

“I kid you not; I did this while I was in college,” said Lulu. “My child psychology studies have been instrumental in my dealings with kids. Also, what I learned as a mother and substitute teacher has helped me.”

When push comes to shove, as many a clown will tell you, a honking nose and smiling face is a performer’s way of reaching out to children.

“You have to understand them,” she said. “The children are individual and separate and apart from us. As adults, we forget sometimes the mind of a child and how it works.”

If you would like to reach Lulu the clown for private parties, visit her website at www.Lululaughalot.com or call 973 361-3777.