By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 12-year-old South Philadelphia kid is using a horrifying experience as the inspiration for his Halloween costume. Charlie Buhl was attacked by a crocodile in Cancún, Mexico.

“I knew it was a crocodile,” Charlie said. “It felt like a metal clamp, just squeezing super tight on your leg.”

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Charlie was attacked by a crocodile over the summer while on a family vacation at Club Med Cancún. He was playing hide-and-seek on the lagoon with other kids at the resort’s kids club.

“One of my friends, he came up and said he found a really good hiding spot,” Charlie recalled.

But lurking nearby was that crocodile.

His mother, Jennifer Buhl, was having dinner at a restaurant also on the resort.

“I didn’t know if he was alive or dead. I didn’t know which son it was,” she said.

Charlie underwent multiple surgeries while still in Mexico and he has the scars to prove it.

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Proving a sense of humor goes a long way, Charlie and his friends are making a crocodile costume for Halloween.

“It’s 16 feet long and we’re going to get a lot of candy,” Charlie said.

The reason it’s 16 feet is that that’s 3 feet longer than the actual crocodile that attacked him.

Club Med Cancún is helping with Charlie’s recovery, but his mom says she’s concerned this could happen to another kid if changes aren’t made.

“If Cancún doesn’t heed this warning and fix the situation, then more people are going to get attacked and somebody is going to die,” Buhl said.

Club Med Cancún said in a statement, “Club Med Cancún has reinforced the area around the lagoon by increasing the number of signs, lighting and installing taller fencing to further protect the safety of our guests and staff from the surrounding lagoon.”

As for Charlie, his recovery continues. His therapy includes a hyperbaric chamber. He walks with a slight limp and still can’t play soccer. He has this warning for any other person playing hide-and-seek at Club Med Cancún.

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“Be careful. There’s crocodiles,” Charlie said. “If you see anyone near the lagoon or in the lagoon, just warn them.”