Treating your children to a fun and stress-free Halloween should be a high priority—whether you or your ex have the kids on Halloween.
Many parenting plans do not delineate Halloween as a holiday or special day to be shared. This might have been intentional, or simply forgotten in the parenting plan.
If your parenting plan does not include Halloween, it is essential that you check the calendar to see whether you or your ex have the kids that day. But, most important is to keep your focus on the children and not on your ex.
Tip #1: Above all else, make your child’s safety a priority.
This should be a “no brainer,” but child safety can get overlooked if the focus is on your relationship with your ex instead of your child. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, communicate with your ex and know where your children will be trick or treating.
If your children are old enough trick or treating alone, make sure they bring a flashlight and cellphone in case of an emergency. Also, make sure they only trick or treat at the homes of people you trust.
Tip #2: Be considerate and offer some time or activity to your ex so that he/she will have an opportunity to enjoy the holiday with the kids.
Many children will feel sad about their other parent missing out on the fun. Also, keep in mind that next year may not be your turn to celebrate Halloween. A little generosity can go a very long way in improving your relationship with your ex. So be generous—your children will appreciate it.
Tip #3: Don’t ask your children whom they want to be with on Halloween.
Most children want to trick or treat with their friends. This is particularly important as the kids get older. Children also like to trick or treat in “their” neighborhood. If you have recently moved to a different area but are able to take the kids to their former neighborhood—do it, even if your ex’s friends reside there. Remember, it’s not about you!
Tip #4: Create new Halloween memories with your children.
If you didn’t have Halloween “get togethers” for your children and their friends in your pre-divorce life, this is a perfect new “tradition” to begin.
Depending on the age of your kids, it can be making Halloween cupcakes, cookies, and crafts, dressing up in costumes and entering a Halloween parade, or watching Halloween movies.
The important part is getting together and having fun with a new holiday tradition. This is not the time to compete with your ex over who can make the best costume.
Tip #5: Don’t let Halloween be a frightening holiday.
Do whatever it takes to avoid a conflict with your ex. This is not the day to bring up late child support payments. Don’t “forget” to pack your child’s Halloween costume. If you are in the presence of your ex—be civil and pleasant, even if you have to rehearse in front of a mirror. Your children will be grateful for many years.
Remember, if your parenting plan does not include Halloween or other important days of the year, you can modify it to address these issues. Having clear guidance could potentially alleviate this otherwise stressful situation.
To learn more or to discuss your options, we are here to help your family. Call us at 770-333-1620.