On Sunday afternoon we attended a birthday party for my college roommate's 1-yr old son. Kevin joined in some of the fun with the other kids there, throwing balloons around, running in circles and ganging up with balloons on the oldest boy who took everything in stride. Then came time for the goodie bags to be handed out and there was a special treat. A well-dressed Storm Trooper made an appearance to hand out the bags!
Perhaps I've mentioned previously that Kevin is afraid of costumed characters, won't wear costumes, doesn't want us to wear costumes, etc. You can imagine his distaste of the Storm Trooper!
He ran screaming and crying from the front of the room and I recall leaping over a few tables and some startled grandparents to get to him because he couldn't see us. I carried him, shrieking, out of the building. He continued screaming with tears running down his contorted face for what seemed like an eternity and he kept yelling that he wanted to go home, he wanted to get in the van, he wanted to sit in the van by himself, he WANTED TO GO HOME. I didn't feel comfortable just leaving like that and then I came up with what might be my most brilliant parenting move yet.
I went back inside (Andy was outside with Kevin) and waited until all of the families had taken their pictures with the Storm Trooper and I asked him if he could take off his helmet and talk to Kevin so that he could see that he was a real person wearing a costume. The man (it's funny to say that as he is my friend's little brother's friend from high school but technically he is a man now) was very happy to make things better for Kevin so he took off his helmet keeping the rest of the suit on and peeked out the door to say "Hi" to Kevin. We spent a few minutes pointing out that he was just a man in a costume and that he was really very nice and he talked well to Kevin.
After that was over, Kevin wanted to see the man without any of the costume on so we waited around until he came back out and then Kevin couldn't get over the fact that he was wearing his ball cap backwards. "Why he have that backwards?" "Why he wearing his hat backwards?" "Why he wearing it like that?" Without any screaming and crying, we figured we could just explain away the hat conundrum without an intervention.
Kevin still talks about the man in the costume and he seems to be processing it well. Earlier in the year he talked for months about the Easter Bunny that we saw at the mall so I'd say he's doing ok. I'm glad that we were able to avert the almost guaranteed nightmares he would've had from that well-meaning Storm Trooper.