Boo Hoo – Halloween and Custody Issues

halloween kids divorced separated parents child custody st louis mo

Halloween should be a day of excitement and sugar crashes, cute costumes and one of the few innocent child moments we carve out in our tech-heavy society. Many parents look forward to this holiday and spends weeks preparing – for proof just look around your neighborhood and see how many neighbors have decorated their yards and homes or even built a haunted house.

For children whose parents do not live together and operate under a court-ordered custody schedule, Halloween can prove a source of frustration for everyone, most unfortunately the child.

Typically, Halloween is a holiday that is alternated every other year; as a result, one parent misses out entirely on the Halloween experience every year. Parents can do more to make better schedules or to become more accommodating for the sake of the child.

First, parents can agree that the child will go trick-or-treating with both parents on Halloween, with each parent agreeing to a shift. With younger children, this works particularly well – one parent has a small meal and gets the costume ready and takes the first run of houses, after which the other parent either comes to the same neighborhood or takes a run near his or her house, after which the parent and child get to divide up candy and enjoy.

If both parents want to be a part of the costume fun, parents can plan to make or buy the costume in shifts and parts. If both parents want a party atmosphere, both can have the child help make decorations and host parties on Halloween that the child attends. Few children will refuse a chance to go to two parties!

Where the parents simply cannot communicate or work together, even in this alternating on the same day fashion, parents can still share in Halloween by taking advantage of “trunk or treats” that happen the week or so before Halloween, where schools or religious groups host safe trick or treating in parking lots. One parent gets actual Halloween, the other the trunk or treat, and that way each gets to experience some of Halloween with the child. Parents can also plan decoration activities or pumpkin carving to add to the experience.

If parents stay focused on the point of the holiday – for kids to have fun and parents to facilitate the fun – all can enjoy. It may take some creativity, but it does not mean a parent needs to be shut out for the day.

If you have questions about custody and Halloween, contact us – we can help.