Learning Not To Obsess Over My Kid’s Costume

The first time Max wanted to be Lightning McQueen (the lead character in the movie Cars) for Halloween, I thought it was super-cute. I bought the costume, he wore it. Easy. And did I mention cute?

The next year, Max wanted to be Lightning McQueen again. Great, I thought. No need to buy something new. Way to recycle! By the time the next Halloween rolled around, Max was in the throes of his car wash obsession and I obliged by making him a portable car wash.

And then, the following year: Max wanted to be Lightning McQueen yet again. I was dubious; it just didn’t seem…normal. Now, “normal” is a word that should have gone out of my vocabulary the second I had a kid with special needs, but still, from time to time I’d wonder why Max behaved the way he did and whether it was telling me something worrisome about his cognitive development. We pulled out Lightning McQueen from storage, looking a little worn for the wear.

Cut to Halloween 2012. Max wanted to be, wait for it, Lightning McQueen. This time, I had a different sort of concern. At 9 years old, would he look too baby-ish in the costume? Would kids stare at him even more than they already did? In the end, I decided I had to let Max be Max. We got a brand new Lightning McQueen and he gleefully trick-or-treated in it.

Last week, Max’s school had a Halloween celebration and Max couldn’t wait to get into his good old Lightning McQueen outfit. It’s what he’ll be wearing today at our town’s Halloween parade. This will be the fifth year  that he’s been Lightning McQueen, and I have no qualms about it. I mean, I think he’d look great rocking other costumes and I’d love to see him in them. But ultimately, Lightning McQueen makes him happy—and isn’t that what Halloween is all about?

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