Giant Costumed Characters Are Just Not Natural, Mom!

Our 3 and a half year old son loves to dress-up like a Super Hero.

We are at the point where he has interchangeable Batman, Super Man, Spiderman, and Green Lantern outfits with capes that I attach with little velcro stick-on squares every day.

This is his newest obsession:

The ironic thing is that our son, the fearless and brave Captain America, loves to pretend he is something other-worldly and supra/super-human every second of the day (to include bedtime where he sleeps wearing quick-relase capes), but he is deathly afraid of any unnaturally large figures in real life.

Take, for instance, our recent Chuck E. Cheese visit.

That is our son cowering behind me, on the look-out for the imposing, gigantic rodent.

Whenever Chuck E. Cheese comes out to greet party guests, we know.

The entire facility knows.  All are alerted by the scream that would seem to signal some kind of mortal wound.

If he happens to be slamming gopher heads with that giant hammer when The Mouse emerges, he nearly dislocates his shoulders trying to get away- with instinctual fear-vice grips on the hammer as he tries to simultaneously dart toward us, his parent sanctuary from The Unnatural.

Last year, we attended a Chick fil-A family event.  One of the attractions was the gigantic cow who frolicked with the children as they colored pictures of his trepidatious bovine brethren wearing persuasive sandwich boards beseeching us to eat something, anything, but THEM.

The PR Manager thought it would be a grand surprise for our then 2 and a half year old son to  turn around to find the Chick fil-A Cow standing right behind him while he colored those timid creatures.

Oh, he WAS surprised.

The hysterics that ensued alarmed the entire restaurant.

Some families thought it was funny.

Some families thought paramedics must be on the way.

The PR Manager was horrified and worried we might sue for causing our child some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Chick fil-A Cow was retired for the remainder of the event for fear of driving away customers because of our son’s unending wails.

And, just this past week, we attended a Christmas On The Potomac Event featuring human-filled characters from Shrek:  Princess Fiona, the Ogre himself, Puss & Boots and the Gingerbread Man as the kids decorated Gingerbread Houses and sat on Santa’s lap while eating peppermint cookies, truffles and cotton candy.

Sounds like fun, right?


Here’s who he was hiding from.

But, then again.

There have been indicators that our son could be forever averse to the Unusually Large & Scary.

A year ago, our son clued us in on just how terrified he was of a large tooth mascot for a local dentistry at the Children’s Museum 4th of July Parade.

I have to admit, that thing was pretty creepy.

I, mean-  cows who walk on two feet, a giant green hippopotamus-eared man with a speech pattern more odd than a toddler’s,  and a sleepy-eyed mouse who wears baseball caps and knee pads really just aren’t NATURAL.

We’re not too worried about it.

It’s a double-edged foam pirate sword.

One day, he won’t be enchanted by Super Hero dress-up and the passing of this phase will likely coincide with the day that he sees those huge costumed creatures for what they truly are:  just normal, everyday people who are probably sweating a lot under those cartoon layers.





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28 Responses to Giant Costumed Characters Are Just Not Natural, Mom!

    • Carey- He IS kind of creepy- The new Chuck E Cheese character on the walls is really odd-looking, too! haha!

    • Ang- haha! I feel so bad to laugh- but, boy- was he funny. Terrified but funny. Terrifyingly funny. I forgot you were Chuck E Cheese!!!! You were a great one!

  1. Nico used to be afraid of mascots, we found that out at a mascots festival last summer where there was over 60 of them! He didn’t scream, he would just cling to me and hide. Around Christmas, his favorite character at the time, Mickey, was at the mall, so we went in hope it would cure his fear, I told him we were gonna see him and he would be bigger than daddy and I. We had to look for a while around the mall but when we found him after lunch, Nico was in awe, he danced with him, he got picked up by him and danced in his arms as well. He went back a few times even! So happy he’s over that fear, however he’s still careful around them and checks with me first to see if the character is ok ;)

    • Valerie- I’m so glad Nico got over being scared! I’m sure my boy will grow out of it, too! I hope! haha! Thanks for visiting!

  2. I remember an awesome photo of Liam screaming in terror of a giant tooth at the 4th of July parade. My son was disappointed when we went all the way to San Antonio to see Super Why – his favorite character. He said that Super Why was a kid, and that giant guy dressed as super why was NOT a kid.

    • Lisa- I had completely forgotten about that photo- that was perfect- I have added it since your comment! Thanks for reminding me!!!!! Your son is so smart!

  3. So funny. :) My boy is exactly the opposite — he thinks people dressed up as characters are the coolest things ever. He’ll go charging through crowds trying to get close enough to hug, kiss and high five any giant character he sees.

    This can be a little awkward when the “character” is just a normal guy who happens to dress a little more individually than other people, and may happen to slightly resemble a pirate (in the mind of a pirate-obsessed 5 year old).

    • Jo- I would be laughing so hard if my kid ran up to a stranger thinking he was a pirate and the guy was dressed like, well, himself. hahaha! Your kids crack me up!!!!!

  4. My 2 y.o. and I are having a quiet break at Disneyland as I read this. We came to see the new Cars Land–he LOVES Mater–and we’ve spent most of the day calming his character-induced meltdowns. I think it’s a case of too much happy, but a happy meltdown is still a meltdown. We have serious thrill issues, dude. ;-)

    • Meegan- That is so funny! My kids seemed to handle the characters well until about 2. Then, Santa and The Easter Bunny were no-gos. Our daughter outgrew it pretty quickly but our son has had a real aversion for about a year now. If I didn’t have my camera super-glued to my hands, I’d miss all of his reactions. haha! I do hope you are taking pictures! Enjoy your Disney Vacation!

  5. Aww – my heart was crying for him! As far as my kids reactions to strange characters in costumes – and what ever else…we live in New York City. They’re just lucky they don’t see all the “colorful” women I had to grow up with.

  6. Hudson- I have to ask- how did you embed the video in a comment? I’ve always wondered how people do that!!!! Stupor Duck???? I had never heard of him but I am delighted that you’ve introduced us!!!!!! I’m going to show my kids tomorrow. hahahaha!

    • Simple. Cut and paste the url of the video into the comment or post or page. WordPress of today essential takes care of the rest -its basically a built-in the media gallery I believe. In WordPress of old, one had to have a plug in to do so. I think now depending on your wordpress you have to install a plugin to prevent it if you wanted. Or some themes have it in settings and you allow or disable video comments.

      There is short code that will do just that, but obviously your site didn’t require me to do that.

  7. In almost every picture of Jackson from our Disney vacation he is red and splotchy from crying. He wouldn’t even go near Cinderella. She’s just a pretty girl in a dress!! He’s still not a huge fan of costumed adults – but most of the panic is gone!

    • Bridget- I think that it is totally normal to have a healthy fear of goofy things. haha! Cinderella? I could understand the mean queen! :)

    • Kelly- Haha! I hope they get ready soon! Disney is so great! My kid actually begs to go to places he knows he will see costumed things. He just always is on the lookout for them. Once they are gone, it’s party time. :)

    • I have to admit- that tooth mascot was pretty creepy. hahaha! Ali, you’ll have to tell me what your kids do when the DO come across a giant character in real life! Please do! :)

  8. This is just so cute and funny, but yet understandable too. I know my kids had certain ones they were afraid of, but not all of them like your little guy. I really can’t blame him though. They just ARE NOT natural.

    • It’s totally true, Liz. I can’t blame him at all. Things are still new and they are figuring things out- Glad your kids didn’t freak at all of them! :) Thank you for visiting my blog!

    • Chrissy- My poor son. It’s awful that I document these things for posterity. Just wait- your son will be into super heroes or star wars or pokemon, I bet!

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