Halloween can be such a fun time – kids in all sorts of crazy and creative costumes, so excited to go out and parade their looks and get candy! Parents enjoy seeing their children happy and want to share in the fun. But for parents who are no longer together, Halloween can be a real nightmare.
How can parents make sure Halloween works for everyone?
It is common for Halloween to be one of the holidays on the list of holidays that are alternated in A and B years on a Parenting Plan, which means one parent could get left out every other year. That means missing far too many Halloweens given how quickly kids will outgrow that age. So, one move parents can make is to share Halloween, in one of at least three ways. First, the parents can agree to go together with the children to trick or treat. Second, the parents can share the evening by having 45 minutes of trick or treating with one parent at that parent’s house and 45 minutes of trick or treating with the other parent at the other parent’s house. Third, the parents can agree to have Halloween divided into two different days. Every year, schools and a variety of organizations like churches and scouts have “trunk or treat” parties a week before Halloween. Parents can alternate between the “trunk or treat” and actual Halloween, all in order to maximize both parents participating in some Halloween fun.
The goal for Halloween should be putting the children first and insuring their fun, and having them not feel guilty they cannot take part with both parents. To do that, parents need to put their own feelings aside, which can be challenging in some relationships. But remember – the children will feel hurt if both parents cannot take part, and it will ruin Halloween for everyone. So, find some way to share the joy of Halloween together.
Halloween is also a process, so making sure each parent has a part in the process helps the children too. For example, each parent could have alternating roles – one year one could help pick out or make the costume, while the other parent plans a party or an outing to Pumpkin Land or Boo at the Zoo. Each parent could go candy shopping and pumpkin carving with the children. The more parts available, the more the children feel each parent is happily participating, and the less likely the child will feel any guilt or sadness.
If for some reason none of these possibilities work for you, at least be sure to share photographs of all the fun with the other parent, and if you end up being the left out parent, do not let your child see you sad or feeling lonely – be cheerful and happy for the child.
If parents think of the child first, Halloween can always be a fun time of the year, even for parents who are no longer together.
If you have questions about custody and Halloween, contact us – we can help.