31 Days of Happiness Countdown: honoring the grit and grace of Debbie Reynolds. (Day 28)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 28 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

GIF from "Halloweentown."


It's been one year since we lost Debbie Reynolds. The acclaimed star of stage and screen passed away suddenly last winter, just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

Before her passing, Reynolds left the world with a canon of stupendous performances. But few roles were as charming and carefree as Reynolds' star-turn playing Kathy Selden in the 1952 classic, "Singin' in the Rain."

Reynolds was only 19 when she took on the role, and while she had experience as an actress, "Singin' in the Rain" would be her very first foray into singing and dancing. You read that right: Reynolds had to learn how to sing and dance well enough to keep up with her costars, seasoned performers Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. No pressure!

O'Connor and Kelly. GIF from "Singin' in the Rain"/MGM.

As an experienced song and dance man, Kelly was angry about the casting, but the studio believed in Reynolds, and gave her a shot. She had three months to learn to dance, and she practiced nonstop, nearly 8 hours a day with multiple teachers. The great Fred Astaire even dropped in for a word of encouragement on one especially difficult day.

Reynolds' practice and effort paid off on the silver screen, when she not only kept up her co-stars, but in many ways, outshone them. In the scene below, Reynolds sings and dances with the ease and grace of a performer with a lifetime of experience under her belt. It's ebullient. It's effortless. And once you know how hard she worked for it, it's so, so satisfying.

Here's to Reynolds, and every woman who laughs in the face of a challenge and comes out on top.

More days of happiness here: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5/ DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17/ DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / [DAY 28] / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / DAY 31
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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Photo by Tod Perry

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