In search of Conner's costume

Mom's effort to find son's Halloween outfit quickly attracts strong following

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Conner Langford's favorite Halloween costume was sold at a garage sale the year before he died. His mom is hoping to get the costume back.

COEUR d'ALENE - It was just a costume.

It was white with red stripes and sleeves, gold french fries poking out on top, a place for a little face to peek through. The sack to hold treats read "Ketchup."


It was exactly what 6-year-old Conner Langford dreamed of being for Halloween, so when his mom saw it on eBay, she quickly bought it.

"He wanted to be french fries," said Natalie Langford. "He loved it. Oh, l loved it. He was so cute in it."

Conner wore it for trick-or-treating in 2009. It was sold at a Hayden garage sale in July 2010.

The next year, on May 6, 2011, at the age of 8, Conner Riley Langford died.

The son of Bryan and Natalie Langford suffered from Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that caused seizures, up to 20 a day.

It affected his development, his mom said, but never his spirit.

"Even on his worst day, if you asked him how he was, he would simply say, 'I'm happy.'"

"He was that kind of a kid."

Her son died late Thursday or early Friday, after he was put to bed. Thursdays and Fridays each week are difficult for the family. Natalie often thinks of him, remembers and looks at pictures of her son.

That's what she was doing Thursday when she stared at the photo of Conner in his prized costume. She gazed at his small, smiling face, and wished, at that moment, she still had that Halloween outfit, that it hadn't been sold at a garage sale.

"It's just a little piece of him," she said.

So the Hayden resident said she got "a crazy idea" and turned to Facebook and posted that picture on Shop and Swap, an open group site, basically an online yard sale.

"I sold this at my yard sale last year before my little guy passed," she wrote. "I would give ANYTHING to have it back. If you bought it or you know who did, please contact me!!! 208.209.5452."

She posted it at 4:56 p.m.

"I just wanted to have it back because it was one of his favorites," she said.

"It may seem silly to some," she added. "To me, it's just happy memories."

No one thought it was silly.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to help.

The posting "went viral."

There were 68 comments late Friday, and many said they posted the picture or planned to post it on their Facebook site.

In the comments, many said they would try their best to find that costume.

* "I will keep my eyes open...Im always thrifty shopping. My heart gos out to you & your family,God bless."

* "Natalie, the picture itself is priceless because it contains the little man you love so much! Reposted on my wall...good luck! :)

* "Shared this on my wall....So sorry for your loss. Will be praying for the return of the costume. God Bless you and your family Natalie."

* "Natalie, I just wanted to let u know that I copied ur sons pic and wrote down on paper all the posts u wrote and am posting it on my FB page to share with all my friends and have them keep an eye out. Best of luck, my fingers r crossed and prayers r being asked."

Natalie was touched that so many cared, that so many wanted her to have that red and white costume back. The outcry to locate it, "turned into this amazing thing."

"It made me cry that people were so unselfish and willing to help a mom find a costume that her son wore and loved," she said. "They realized how important it was to me."

The french fries costume wasn't supposed to be sold.

It was accidentally placed outside with the rest of the items for the yard sale, and while Natalie was sorting through some things, a woman picked up the colorful costume and bought it for $10.

"I didn't have the heart to take it back," Natalie said. "I regretted it ever since."

Natalie said Conner was unique and quirky. He loved Herbie the Love Bug. He loved giving hugs.

He also loved dressing up and Halloween was his very favorite holiday.

"We called him the master of disguises," she said, laughing quietly. "He would always dress up in these amazing outfits."

The french fries get-up worn by Conner should be easy to recognize, but if someone needs more proof they have the right one, it has a smudge of red face paint on the inside.

Natalie said it would be fabulous if she could find the costume again. But she'll be OK if she doesn't.

"If not, I'll walk away with a big smile, knowing people are that wonderful," she said. "Even if I don't get it back, this means the world to me."

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