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Halloween Post-Divorce

on Oct 1, 2017 in Divorce

Fall has officially arrived!  That means it is not too early to start planning for the Halloween post-divorce holiday.  Halloween is a quintessential “kids holiday.”  Planning for the evening in advance keeps the focus on your children.  

Consider whether you can embrace your life co-parenting your children.  Would it be better for one parent to be in charge of the evening?  Planning ahead makes for a great night.  Create wonderful memories with your children.  Here are some helpful tips to make it a spook-tacular night!

Costume Selection

One of the most important decisions for a child is what costume to wear.  Parents should check the school rules first.  Some costumes are not allowed because they are considered too violent or suggestive.  Both parents need to be aware of the costume selection.  If one parent thinks it is not appropriate, it can cause unnecessary issues between two parents that have an ongoing relationship raising children.

Live in Two Separate Neighborhoods?

If you and your ex-spouse live in different neighborhoods, consider splitting the evening.  Trick or treat in both neighborhoods.  Remember to include your children’s friends.  

First Halloween Post-Divorce

Parents must be especially sensitive of their children’s feelings the first Halloween after a divorce.  Consider how comfortable they are in a new neighborhood.  Where are their friends?  Have they made friends in their new neighborhood?  Stability and traditions are important to children, especially after a divorce.  When making plans, ask the children about their preferences.

Planning is Vital

First, consult your divorce decree.  Does your parenting plan cover Halloween?  It is a holiday frequently overlooked.  If it is covered, follow the arrangement agreed to or ordered in your parenting plan.  If not, communicate with the other parent about plans for Halloween.  Will one of you be having a party?  Is your neighborhood safer for trick or treating?  Discuss these factors ahead of time.  Do not leave decisions until the last minute.  Do not ask your children who they want to spend the holiday with.  These decisions need to be made by the parents, not the children.

Blended Families

When possible, celebrate the holiday together.  Trick or treating with your ex-spouse and his or her new significant other may be awkward for you.  However, it sends a powerful message to your children.  It shows you can set aside any differences for them and work together as a team.  If everyone can get along, this is the perfect night to show it.  Halloween is also a fairly short, busy evening.  This is not a Thanksgiving dinner.  Bouncing from house to house, catching up with the neighbors, and seeing kids dressed in fun costumes leaves little time for awkward conversation.  It is also focused on the children and not your annoying ex-mother-in-law.

Split the Evening

Sometimes, the parents are not ready to spend Halloween together.  If necessary, split the night into separate celebrations.  Consider spending one night preparing for Halloween.   October 30th is also known as Mischief Night.  Costume shop or carve pumpkins that night with one parent.  Spend Halloween trick or treating with the other parent.  Make the holiday two nights instead of one. 

Alone for Halloween post-divorce?

If you are alone for the evening, make sure your children know you are okay. Have fun yourself.  Halloween has become an adult holiday as well.  Find friends that are having a party or going out for dinner.  Dress up yourself.  Halloween can be fun for all ages.

Social Media

Remember social media on Halloween.  Post pictures for family and friends to enjoy and share. Use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  Halloween is very visual, making it perfect for pictures on social media.  Stay positive and have fun!

Passing Out Candy

Frequently, in two parent homes, one parent stays home to pass out candy to trick or treaters.  Has this been a family tradition?  Consider continuing this tradition instead of both parents going out with the children.  

Hate Halloween?

Unfortunately, some parents simply do not like Halloween.  If that is you, perhaps you should let the other parent handle the holiday.  Of course, if that is not an option, put a smile on your face and focus on helping your children have a good time. 

Young Children

Remember, make special accommodations if you have young children.  They may not have enough energy for two separate Halloween celebrations.  In those cases, the evening will be short and grown adults should be able to get along for an hour of trick or treating.  Make Halloween fun for your young children.

Extended Family

Children of divorced parents often feel divided.  Extended family want to see children dressed up for Halloween.  Consider having extended family come to where the children are.  Seeing extended family, especially during the first Halloween post-divorce, sends a message of unity.

Stay Flexible

Listen to your children.  What do they want?  Are they comfortable in the new neighborhood?   Do they prefer hanging on to old traditions?  Do they prefer trying something new? The goal is for your children to have happy memories, regardless of which parent those memories are with.  Particularly with your first Halloween post-divorce, take some time to consider your options and plan ahead.

If You Are Considering Divorce

If you are considering a divorce, you probably have lots of questions.  How is parenting time determined?  How do courts calculate child support?  What expectations are reasonable?  How have other people handled challenging issues, such as custody of small children, health care, etc?  At Fait & DiLima, our attorneys focus exclusively on family law issues.  We have offices in both Frederick and Rockville, MD, for your convenience.  Contact us for a consultation, to address the specific questions you may have.  Let our experience guide you.