Co-Parenting on Halloween Doesn’t Have To Be Scary
September 18, 2019
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
By Amanda Yu, Esq.
With the weather cooling down and school having just begun, summer is officially over. While some of us are simply looking forward to the return of the pumpkin spice latte and sweater weather, others are seriously stressing about Halloween: costumes, candy, trick-or-treating, decorations, and parties galore! Here are a few tips to help you navigate many of the most common issues surrounding Halloween.
1. Plan Ahead
If you and your co-parent did not delineate a schedule for Halloween in your holiday parenting time plan, agree on a schedule as early as possible for the coming year. Halloween tends not to be just a one-day celebration, especially when children are younger. If your child is in school or daycare, find out whether there is a parade or pageant for children during the day, so you have your child’s costume ready to go, even if it is before October 31st. If your town or your co-parent’s town organizes any community activities such as an autumn carnival or a haunted hayride, do not wait until the last minute to decide which activities your child will attend.
If you and your co-parent are comfortable going to these events together, that removes one complication from the mix. If you and your former partner co-parent better separately, try to decide early on whether you want to split the holiday itself, if you want to celebrate on multiple days individually, or if you want to alternate the entire holiday every other year.
2. Split Up The Responsibilities
There are a ton of different things that go into having a successful Halloween celebration. Your child needs a costume, there needs to be candy for other trick or treaters, and your respective homes may need to be decorated. You and your co-parent may decide to divvy up the responsibilities alternately, or you may decide to cater to your strengths and tackle individual tasks each year. Whatever you do, transparency is key. For example, if you are handier with the sewing machine and love making costumes, you may choose to take on that responsibility every year while your former partner handles the decorations. If dressing up just isn’t your thing, you can take your child to a pumpkin patch or apple picking instead, and leave the traditional Halloween festivities to your co-parent. If you are not super festive, opting out of intricate costumes and decorations in favor of scary movies and making DIY treats is a great option.
3. Set the Ground Rules
Halloween is a very serious holiday for most children. Kids get free rein to “terrorize” their neighborhoods and eat all of the candy they want. In an effort to avoid any confusion and to minimize the competition to be the “cool parent,” make sure whatever rules are in place are uniform between you and your former partner. If you limit your child’s candy intake, have the same limits imposed when your child trick-or-treats at his or her other home. If your co-parent has strong feelings about the appropriateness of your child’s desired costume, be reasonable and try to work out a compromise.
4. Be Considerate
If the Halloween co-parenting in a divorce happens separately, be considerate of your former spouse feelings. Every parent wants to see their little one dressed up in costume and having a blast collecting as much candy as he or she can carry, especially since children rarely repeat costumes and there are limited opportunities to witness the festivities. And finally: make sure to share photos and videos— it’s just the right thing to do.
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