My ride along with Pennywise, the Donut Delivering Clown

Hurts Donut Co. is home to the best delivery drivers this Halloween season

I am not afraid of clowns. But when Kyle and Tyler Howard, the brothers who own both the Des Moines and Coralville Hurts Donut Co. locations, picked me up from where I lived, I was a little nervous.

Mostly because one of them was dressed like a scary clown.

Like I said, I am not afraid of clowns, but I do have an irrational fear of people who wear scary costumes, especially ones complete with even scarier masks.

So I took a deep breath as Kyle, the one dressed as the scary clown, stepped out of the Hurts delivery truck to greet me.

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The Howard Brothers told me about how they had done these scary clown donut deliveries before at the Des Moines location, but this was their first year doing it here in Coralville.

As I talked to the brothers, I noticed that many people would stop and stare at the truck, particularly the scary clown sitting in the passenger seat, and take pictures or videos. Their expressions were mixed, everything from laughter and confusion to being genuinely frightened.

Kyle and Tyler also told me no one expecting a delivery knew that a scary clown would be delivering their donuts. The best part about doing the scary clown deliveries was seeing their customers' reactions, they said.

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“Not everyone is afraid,” said Kyle, “but we’ve had some people who were so scared they wouldn’t even come near the clown.”

“One girl wouldn’t even look at the clown," Tyler said. "She just waited for us to set the donuts down and leave.”

Kyle and Tyler take turns being the clown. On my ride along, Tyler was the clown in the morning shift, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Then Kyle took over for the second shift, which was from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Getting a scary clown to deliever your donuts is fairly easy, Kyle explained. They take the donut order like any other: a customer calls in the name of the recipient, the location of the drop-off and how many donuts the customer wants to order. Hurts also takes requests for anything the customer wants the delivery clown to say or do to the recipient.

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When taking an order for clown delivery, workers at Hurts always ask the the customer ordering the donuts whether or not the recipient is afraid of clowns. This determines how scary the clown will act toward the person.

“It’s always more fun when the customer is really afraid of clowns,” said Tyler.

Our first delivery was to a boy named Derek whose mom called in a delivery to his residence hall, Rienow. When Derek came out to pick up his order he wasn’t terrified, but he was definitely not comfortable with a sharp-toothed clown handing him a box of donuts.

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Our second delivery was to Carousel 2, a local car dealership, for a man named Justin. Justin was terrified of clowns, even though he tried not to show it.

We found him outside hiding from us after he had seen a scary clown walk into the building. It took him a while to come close enough to grab his box of donuts, and when he did he thanked us for the delivery and abruptly got in his car and drove away.

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Our last delivery was to a pregnant woman named Heather at Neumiller Electric Inc. The delivery had been called in for her by all of her coworkers.

She freaked out as we entered the building and ran to the back of the office, hoping to hide from us. When we found her, she grabbed the box of donuts and ran away. Her coworkers thanked us for making them laugh and scaring their friend, and we were on our way.

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Shadowing Kyle and Tyler while they delievered both donuts and memorable scares to their customers was definitely the highlight of my week. You could even that say my fear of people in scary masks is gone!

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University of Iowa Coralville delivery driver Hurts Donut Co. Iowa City scary clown