Halloween is a very exciting event. Show me one person who doesn’t love dressing up and getting free candy. Most people at least like one or both of these options. Children and, in particular young children, really enjoy Halloween.They get to dress up, pretend to be something that they are not and get treats for doing so. So don’t let a rocky marriage or divorce ruin the Halloween experience for your children.
Keeping Halloween fun for the kids after divorce
Even if you and your former spouse are not on the greatest of terms, the following is a list of actions you can do to make the holiday the best one possible for your children:
1. Check your parenting plan and then consider ignoring it. Some parenting plans do include timesharing schedules for Halloween. Consequently, make sure that you check your parenting plan to determine if there is a Halloween provision. If one exists, remember that you’re bound to follow the plan UNLESS you and the other parent agree otherwise (usually in writing). If the Halloween provision seems reasonable to you, then follow it. If on the other hand, Halloween was overlooked in your plan or your Halloween provision doesn’t make sense, get in touch with the other parent and attempt to arrange something, an alternative, which works best for your children. However, do not unilaterally make a change to the existing parenting plan without obtaining the agreement of the other parent in writing;
2. Don’t put your children in the middle. It goes without saying, that as with any parenting issue, don’t put your children in the middle. Halloween is supposed to be for them. Make a joint decision as parents. Don’t make your children have to choose one side or the other. And don’t ask, “Don’t you want to spend Halloween with Mommy (or Daddy)?”;
3. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until October 29 to ask the other parent for time on Halloween or to change the Halloween timesharing parenting plan. Planning ahead allows you to prepare your children for the upcoming holiday and manage their expectations in advance. Children need to know what to expect in the coming days, weeks and sometimes months. By preparing them for Halloween in advance, you’ll decrease the chances of a Halloween meltdown, both by your children and by you or the other parent;
4. Share the night. If you and your former spouse live in different neighborhoods, make arrangements to have your children split the evening and trick-or-treat in both neighborhoods. Your children (particularly when they’re young) will not disagree with this option. Other ways to share the holiday are to try to Skype or do Facetime with your child in costume. If you’re in a different town, you can arrange for a Halloween balloon or cookie delivery. You can also celebrate before Halloween by making a trip to a pumpkin patch, carving jack o’lanterns, or watching age-appropriate scary movies with your children. If Halloween falls during your time period, make sure to send pictures of your children in costume to the other parent. Hopefully they will repay the gesture in the year when they have Halloween or some other important holiday or event. Extend the celebration by sharing photographs of your kids in their costumes to all members of their family. Use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to share the fun;
5. Costume Picking. Most schools have dress codes that are enforced on Halloween. Some even have banned dressing up altogether. Some schools find Halloween costumes to be too violent or too provocative. As a co-parent, both of you need to set boundaries and be good examples of what is acceptable. So make sure that you cooperate and communicate about the costume that your children are going to be wearing during trick-or-treating;
6. Be flexible. If your children want to trick-or-treat with neighbors and familiar faces, by all means make that a priority. If your former spouse is residing in a neighborhood that you take your children to, make it a point to be cooperative, offer the opportunity to walk with your children together or separately; and
7. Spending the night alone. If you’re separated by some distance from your children or if the other parent is uncooperative, you may find yourself spending Halloween alone. Even if you’re planning to spend a quiet night alone, let your children know that you’re okay. Don’t tell them how much you’re going to miss them or emphasize your loneliness with them. Let your treat be giving them the permission, knowledge, and comfort that you’re going to have a fun evening too. Don’t ask your children with whom or where they would like to spend Halloween. Your children don’t need or want the pressures associated with having to choose. Assume that your children would want to spend time with both parents if possible.
Halloween is the unofficial beginning of the holiday season. Halloween might easily be overlooked in a timesharing visit. If you are a newly divorced or separated parent, the next 120 days are going to test your patience and communication skills with the other parent of your children. However, you should view it as an opportunity for a parent who is recently divorced or going through a divorce to work on improving his or her relationship with both the other parent and their children. Keep in mind Halloween should be a fun holiday for your children and know that you, whether it’s your day for timesharing/visitation or not, you should take the steps to make that happen.
After divorce, keep your children’s best interests in mind and you and your children will have a fun and Happy Halloween.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss financial issues related to divorce, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312.