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Halloween Tips For Divorced Parents


Excitement is building for the kids.  Costume shopping is happening.  But what if this is the first year that you are a single parent? Most parents don’t really think much about Halloween when they are deciding on a parenting time schedule.  Does your parenting time schedule address Halloween as a holiday?  It could; maybe it should!  If it does not, here are some ideas how to make the best of it.

Deal with it.

Even if your court order does not address Halloween, you are still allowed to address it.  You are not just allowed to address it, but in most situations, a parent should address it.  Even if you want to ask for or offer some extra time, and you expect the other parent will reject your request or offer, you still should give it a try.  Your request will signal to the other parent that you care; your request via text will build a record for future legal proceedings that you want to co-parent or spend time with your child.

Create twice the fun.

If you and your ex live in the same city, why not allow your child to trick-or-treat in both parents’ neighborhoods. Double the candy.  Double the bonding.  Do you think your ex will blame you for that offer at the next court hearing? The judge will certainly give you credit.

Take the jump.

If you have a decent co-parenting relationship, invite your ex to go trick-or-treating together.  It will be awkward, but it sends a message to your children that you are willing to live through the awkwardness for the sake of being committed to your child.  Remember, children learn from your actions. 

Offer alternatives to activities together.

Think outside the box to make this a memorable event for both parents and especially your child. Even if Halloween itself is insufficient time for your child to spend time at both houses, there are often many other Halloween events, such as trunk-or-treat events at businesses, churches, and schools.

If you are just not able to attend the same events, maybe one parent can attend a school event or have some time to decorate the house and carve pumpkins, and the other parent gets time to go trick-or-treating.

Whatever you do, discuss it, and don’t ignore the other parent, because that’s basically the same as ignoring your child.

Beyond the parents.

If your ex lives far away or doesn’t want to be involved, don’t ignore the extended family.  Send the grandparents some photos of the kids in costumes. Is it odd to reach out for the first time?  Yes, it might be.  Will they reject your palm branch?  Maybe.  Will you feel better for doing the right thing?  You should!

If you end up alone with the kids on Halloween.

Don’t punish your kids for your ex’s poor co-parenting.  If possible, send your kids a text wishing them a great time. They may respond with some photos of their loot. Ask them afterwards about their outfit, if they got a lot of candy, and avoid the conflict.  Keep a journal of what happened.  If the lack of co-parenting is a continuing problem, call our child custody attorneys at 616-285-0808 to establish more specificity in your parenting time order.