Halloween is a very exciting holiday, especially for young children. Who doesn’t love dressing up and getting free candy? Don't let a rocky marriage or divorce ruin the experience for your child. Even if you and your estranged spouse aren’t on good terms, there are things you can do to make the holiday work out as best as possible. Here are some helpful tips to help you get through it.
Communicate With The Other Parent
It’s important to figure out ahead of time how Halloween will be spent. Don’t leave open-ended decisions that will just confuse you and your child. Important questions to consider:
- Which house and neighborhood will the child spend Halloween this year?
- Is Halloween going to be spent together or separately?
- Who will be responsible for the costume?
Ask The Child
This is the child's holiday! Getting the child’s input on what he/she would like to do gives them a say in the decision-making process. However, you don’t want to put the child in the middle by asking something such as "Do you want to go to Mom or Dad's neighborhood for trick-or -treating?" Simply ask, "Where would you like to go trick-or-treating?" Most children want to go trick-or-treating with their friends in their own neighborhood (especially if the family split is recent). Try to design your plans around their comfort level and what makes the evening fun for them. It is very important to let the child know ahead of time what the plans are for the holiday, so they have realistic expectations for how the night will play out.
Share The Experience
If possible, both parents should try to spend time with their child. For Halloween:
- One parent can handle the costume and dressing up and the other can take them trick-or-treating.
- Half the night can be spent with one parent and the other half with the other parent.
- Frame your dual celebration in a positive light. Mom and Dad get their own celebrations of the holiday with you.
- Being without your children on Halloween (especially if you have your own traditions) can be difficult emotionally. Keep the focus on making sure your children enjoy the evening and do not discuss with them how upset you are that you won't be with them.
Even if you and your ex-spouse are on bad terms, it’s essential for the child to see you interacting in a positive manner. No fighting. No yelling. Keep the environment a festive one. It is the holidays after all.
If it’s been decided to spend the holidays separately, switch off the responsibility for Halloween festivities. One parent can share the holiday with the child one year, and the other the next. To embrace the spirit of the holiday on your off -year, create traditions of your own. Have a pumpkin carving night where your child and their friends get dressed up in their costumes and carve pumpkins while making popcorn balls or other treats. Keeping your focus on your child and what makes the holiday fun for them will help them adjust to the split and keep the joy in the holidays ahead for you.