He's big and furry.
He has a huge mouth.
He doesn't have any ears.
He's a monster.
He's the scariest part of Halloween...
to my two-year-old, that is.
He goes by the name of Elmo.
Have you seen this character? He has a high pitched voice and can usually be found on Sesame Street. My son loves to watch him on television. In fact, he even requests Sesame Street just so he can see Elmo. He has Elmo stickers, Elmo books, and even a little Elmo figurine. Silly me, I thought my son might actually want to dress up like Elmo for Halloween. So when my cousin happily offered her daughter's Elmo costume, I was thrilled. Perfect. He'll love it. And it is an adorable costume. From head to toe, it's furry and cozy, and will be perfect on a chilly Halloween evening.
We got the costume in July, and I thought that with my son's cautious personality, this would leave me four months to get him used to it. The first time I showed it to him, he loved it. "Elmo!" he exclaimed. He couldn't stop playing with it. We played with it a few times, not even talking about it being a costume. And then, one day, I decided to take the next step.
"He's your costume." I said. "You get to pretend to be Elmo! Do you want to put him on?"
"No! No!" he immediately responded and dropped Elmo to the floor.
"Are you sure?" I put him on my head, which sent my son running into the next room. Perfect.
This went on for two months. My son would touch him, but would absolutely refuse to put him on. I figured we'd be trick-or-treating in regular clothes this year. That would be cute, right?
And then, my neighbor had a brilliant idea. Her daughter isn't afraid of anything, so she thought that if her daughter tried on the costume, my son might see how much fun it was, and try it himself.
So, her daughter ran around my living room, dressed as Elmo, looking absolutely adorable, and you know what? After a few minutes, my son pointed to it and said, "my turn! my turn!"
YES! We took the costume off my neighbor's daughter and put it on my son. And he skipped around the room, perfectly happy.
The next day, my neighbor's daughter tried on her butterfly costume for my son, and we gave him a turn running around in a tutu and butterfly wings. Super cute.
We'll have to play this little game a few more times before Halloween to make sure he doesn't remember his fear of Elmo. And even then, he still may be trick or treating in regular clothes. But at least he tried it on once. And for my son, that's a major accomplishment.
Is your child afraid of his Halloween costume? How are you handling it?
Sarahlynne loves writing for Shine as a Parenting Guru. She also writes for merelymothers, a website that analyzes and discusses today's parenting issues.