KUSA - It's no laughing matter. The U.S. appears to be experiencing a decline in its clown population.

The New York Daily News reports membership in the World Clown Association has dropped from 3,500 to 2,400 over the last decade.

Apparently young people aren't interested in becoming clowns and the old ones are dying.

Colorado Clown Alley President Molly "Skiddles" Kleeman is well aware of the trend. She says they've recently surveyed former members to try and get some answers.

The 2012 World Clown Association clown of the year says they used to have around 300 attendees at their conventions, but now it's more like 100.

"Clowning isn't all fun and games, it's a lot of work," Kleeman said.

She said clowning can be expensive between wigs, makeup, costumes and the like.

Colorado Clown Alley has nine people expected to graduate in a few weeks from the 10-week Colorado Clown College course they hold each year in Englewood.

The current course they offer costs $160 which includes $40 in annual dues.

If there's enough interest, they'd consider holding another course before next January-but she can't guarantee anything. She says it's a lot of work to put on.

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Kleeman says in the Denver area, hiring a clown for a party averages around $150 to $200, depending on the party size and other factors.

If you're hiring a clown, she recommends one that's part of an association, such as World Clown Association or Clowns of America International. She says that ensures you'll get a clown who's well trained and professional.

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