Fall has arrived. The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are turning to beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and brown. In a couple of weeks, children will be searching for the perfect costume to celebrate Halloween. About this time parents will realize that they did not consider Halloween when constructing their holiday custody agreements in their divorce papers. Is this a big deal? Consider your ex and the temperature of your divorce relationship so far. Has it been functioning on a mature and mutually respectful level, or has it been strained and tense? Halloween is one of those things that people forget and cause later to ruin your day.
Did you have a “usual” holiday?
Are your children old enough that they have had a few Halloweens already? If your children have already experienced three or four Halloweens, and the tradition included trick-or-treat the houses only on your street, then watching Charlie Brown on television, that is what they expect. Pointing that out to your ex, and having them explain to the children why their holiday is changing is sometimes enough to trade this day with you.
Can you take them together?
Are the two of you adult enough to put your differences aside and go together? If you loved each other once, enough to have children together, perhaps you can push the emotions aside for a few hours and celebrate one day.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years are just ahead. There will be parties, school outings, church services, and weddings popping up. There probably will be days that you want the children to attend, but the day belongs to your ex-spouse. It will be a lot easier to ask for help after you help out. The point is, you are co-parents. You will be co-parents for a very long time. You will be together at recitals, Scouts awards, graduations, and hospital waiting rooms. You are tied together by your child. How you handle Halloween if just good practice.
Kids that are over 8-years-old
If you ask a kid 8-years-old and over what is fun about Halloween, they will tell you it is dressing up like a goon and meeting up with their friends. It is all about getting out at night and acting silly with their friends! Little girls want to look beautiful like a princess or lie punk rockers. Whatever they look like, they want their friends to see them. If they wear the same costume and go into a neighborhood where they have no or few friends, it is not fun. It is not fair to do that to a kid.
Don’t take them just to spite your ex. Especially if you have plans!
Believe it or not, there are parents who really don’t want to do the whole trick-or-treat thing, and They know their ex-spouses hate it, so they are going to take them anyway. That will teach her or him, right? Yes, you have been invited to a costume party but you will just take them along. They can play video games or watch tv. They will be fine.
Kids can get overstimulated and afraid when they are put in a situation like this. Not only are they in a house full of adults that they do not know, but these adults are also dressed in horrid costumes of blood, fur, with axes, bones, and knives hanging from their bodies. They are drinking and talking loudly. They look for their parents but there are several people dressed just like them. You can tell the children that the things they see are not real but at that moment when they are stuck in a room with them, they seem too real for comfort.
Just one day
At the end of the year, if you had given your ex-partner Halloween, he or she would have gotten one extra day. That’s all. Just one extra day. When the day comes that you need extra help, your blessings will come.
The bottom line is your children need to know that both of their parents are on their side.
The scars of a broken family go deep. They need to see you handle yourselves with dignity and grace. Their holiday memories should be good ones. Filled with laughter, mystery, and fun. They should remember how both their parents gave up their time to ensure their kid had the best Halloween ever!