Trick-or-Treat! How to Effectively Co-Parent on Halloween
October 12, 2021
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
Scrolling through Twitter recently we read tweet that joked, “For Halloween this year, my ex is going as an Active Parent.”
And yet for many divorced parents who co-parent together, Halloween is no joke. Whether it’s assembling or purchasing a costume, decorating one— or two— homes, figuring out the trick-or-treat schedule (Halloween’s on a Sunday this year) or simply deciding what’s allowed and what’s not with regards to the ongoing pandemic, co-parenting on Halloween is more necessary than ever.
So while this is a topic we’ve covered in the past, each Halloween— like each divorce situation— is unique. Let’s look at a few things you can do to address Halloween 2021:
- Listen to your child. It’s their Halloween, so what do they want to do? Both co-parents should talk honestly about what they want the holiday to look like, and level-set their expectations. Where do they want to get pumpkins from? (Are the co-parents on good enough terms to go together?) What do they want to dress up as? (Is the costume appropriate?) How much trick-or-treating will each co-parent be responsible for? (And what goodies are allowed to be eaten right away, and what is to be saved for later?) Like any holiday, Halloween is about giving your child the best experience— creating memories for the future— while making sure they feel safe, happy and respected.
- Talk respectfully with each other. Try to listen to your co-parent. (No matter who has the parenting time, it’s their Halloween too. What do they want to do?) Is there a way in which the co-parents split the Sunday, and each co-parent takes the child(ren) trick-or-treating to the other co-parents’ house? Do you agree on what the child will wear, and, if not, why not? Find a way to talk about it. Remember, the goal is to create memories for your child— and that takes respect.
- Be mindful of the pandemic. As children under the age of 12 aren’t yet able to be vaccinated (perhaps by the end of the fall), and as Halloween is a holiday that traditionally involves approaching strangers on their doorsteps, per C.D.C. recommendations it’s a good idea if everyone involved wears a face mask. (Try finding or making one that matches your child’s costume!) Also, as always, be mindful of what you, your child and your co-parent may feel comfortable doing. If not everyone’s comfortable trick-or-treating, try staying home and watching a classic movie like Hocus Pocus or The Addams Family. Or try turning each room in the house into its own trick-or-treat zone!
- Get in on the fun. Finally, Halloween is a terrific holidays for families of any kind! With costumes and dress-up, candy and spooky decorations, don’t forget to have fun yourself. Whether that means dressing up to answer the door or creating a haunting playlist, showing your child that Halloween can be chillingly fun even with divorce will feel great for both of you.
Don’t dress up as an Active Parent… be an awesome co-parent every day of the year, not just Halloween! (And do dress up, be it as Wonder Woman, Superman, or even the Great Pumpkin!)
Everyone at Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC hopes you have a safe, happy and sppoktacular Halloween. No matter the holiday, if you need co-parenting help please reach out at: (201) 488-1161 and learn more at: www.lmllawyers.com