How to Not Ruin Your Kid's Halloween

Old couples, new partners, and kids in the middle. While we typically (hopefully) consider the impacts of our "bigger" holiday plans and their implications for children, Halloween can sometimes skate under the radar. If you're going through a separation or divorce, or otherwise not sharing a life with your co-parent, check out these tips to avoid hurting your chidl in the process:

Just as with Thanksgiving and Christmas, this is about your kids. Not you. Especially if the divorce is still new and raw, trying to cooperate in a joint Halloween celebration is the best solution. Your children may already have a Halloween routine in their familiar neighborhood they love. If so, try to keep this ritual stable for them, at least for now.

But please, do not invite the new boyfriend or girlfriend to tag along. Don’t use the contact between you as an opportunity to discuss your finances or argue over past hurts.

If this isn’t feasible, you’ll need to be flexible about the time and place for celebrating Halloween with your kids. Fortunately for you, there should be many events on the weekends leading up to October 31. Start by carving pumpkins or visiting a pumpkin patch earlier in the month. Pick a time to go see an age-appropriate scary movie or have Halloween movie night with a few of your kids’ friends at home. Let your kids dress up where feasible before Halloween. It won’t matter to your little ghosts and goblins when they celebrate with you if there are multiple opportunities to enjoy Halloween with both parents.

Whenever possible, talk before October 31 and away from your kids about issues you disagree on. Settle issues about costumes or candy consumption between you first, then present a united front to your kids. The only wrong decision is one you’re still arguing about. It can be difficult, but working with your co-parent is what’s best for your children. Get help from a therapist or divorce coach if you can’t come to an agreement. Yes, even if it’s over Halloween costumes. This can be important to your kids.

One final word of advice. It is important to work together to give your children the opportunity to enjoy Halloween with both of you. Do not ask them who they would rather spend the night with; children do not need (or want) the pressure of having to choose between their two parents. Start with the assumption that, in a perfect world, your kids would want to trick-or-treat together with both of you at the same time. Then go from there.

Noticing troubles in the land of co-parenting now? Sort it out before the "major" holidays. 

The children will inevitably grow up, and rest assured that they  will have different ideas about how they want to celebrate Halloween. They'll naturally have more say and more responsibility over the years, and your input will matter less (teenagers, I tell ya). This could affect your parenting agreement and parenting time schedule. Learn to be flexible. As your children mature, and as time goes on and living situations change,  you may well desire an adjustment to your original agreement. That's ok - it's not impossible.

If you'd like guidance on creating and implementing a holiday schedule for your co-parented child, or want some ideas on how to celebrate, give us a shout: (773) 797-2730 or email here. Our mediation services can help you create a plan with the co-parent for other special days including birthdays and bigger holidays.