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Tricks (or Treats!) for Co-Parenting on Halloween
Halloween is quickly approaching which means lots of sweet treats, crazy costumes, and family fun! However, if your family is experiencing divorce, Halloween may also be a stressful time as it starts the difficult question of, “how do we share the kids for the holidays?”. Whatever the decision there is not one parent who wins or loses! Your whole family can have a fun and spooktacular Halloween with these tricks to co-parenting on Halloween!
Being able to both accompany your children as they trick-or-treat is ideal for children in divorced families. If you choose to share the night together, here are some tricks to remember:
1. Put your child first!
Being around your co-parent can bring out complicated thoughts and feelings. Despite these emotions, remember that successful co-parenting occurs when each parent values how important it is to put their child first! Take time to listen to what your child wants to do. Maybe they want to trick-or-treat with their friends, or dress up and parade around the house. Halloween is a holiday for the kids to have fun! If it’s possible, for the one night, put aside your own feelings and make decisions with your child in mind first.
2. Make decisions ahead of time.
One of the most important things to avoid on Halloween is arguing in front of your children. Show your children that you and your co-parent can cooperate! This means that you’ll want to figure out how the night will go ahead of time. Things to consider are what time you’ll meet up, what neighborhood you’ll be going to, how long you’ll stay out for, and who your child goes home with at the end of the night. Making these decisions ahead of time will help make the rest of the night flow smoothly!
3. Enjoy the night!
Children pick up on tension and stress easily, so it is important for you to relax and enjoy the night as well! Take pictures of your child in their costume, hold their hand as you walk around, and simply let yourself enjoy the quality time you are getting with your child. Yes, your co-parent may be with you as well but that does not have to change the fun that your child has, or that you have. By doing this, you send a message to your child that says, “We love you and are committed to making you happy! We can put aside our issues for you.”
Not all cases are the same, so if you would rather choose to split the day or alternate which of you is with the children each year, here are some ideas on how to handle your Halloween:
1. Leave the Choosing to the Parents
Do not force your child to choose between one parent or the other. Putting your child in the position of choosing parents can be emotionally distressing so do not set them up for disappointment or unnecessary stress. Your child comes from both you and your co-parent, so they love you both! Talk to your co-parent to decide who will have your child at what time/year/days. If this seems difficult, you can always reach out for professional help!
2. Create new traditions!
Just because you do not have your kids on Halloween night does not mean the fun ends. Create a new tradition with your kids! Halloween events occur throughout all of October. Maybe your business throws a Halloween party that you can take your kids to? Does your community host any trunk or treat events, or pumpkin patches? Could you find a day to watch Halloween movies and decorate the house together? Halloween is not limited to one day. Your child will feel lucky that they get to celebrate Halloween more than once, and you will both get to bond during this quality time together!
3. Share the highlights.
Send photos of your children in their costumes to your co-parent. Let your children know you are doing this, as it is a kind gesture that will feel good to your children. If you’re the parent getting the picture, when you see your children, make sure you tell them how much you loved their costume! Stay engaged with your child and ask them about how the night went or what their favorite parts were. These simple actions can help your children feel more comfortable and confident about your family’s divorce because they’ll know you are still part of their life.
We hope these tricks help make Halloween a treat for your entire family! Remember that using a creative and kid centered approach to sharing holidays can make even the most complicated situations a success. Happy Halloween!
While risk can’t be avoided completely, we can take steps to ensure we are minimizing risk as much as possible. Here are some ideas for fun and safe alternatives to trick-or-treating:
- Hide Halloween candy or small treats around your home or backyard and send kids on a Halloween candy hunt!
- Start a new family tradition of having a spooky Halloween dinner together. Have kids get involved in cooking or setting the table as appropriate.
- Carve or decorate pumpkins with friends or neighbors at a safe distance outside, and show off your creative designs.
- Get crafty with your kids and create fun and festive Halloween decorations for your home.
- Host a virtual costume contest with other families or relatives so kids can show off their costumes!
- Create a scavenger hunt for Halloween- or fall-themed items around your neighborhood. Walk around as a family and point out fun decorations or pretty fall leaves.
- Queue up a Halloween movie night at home. Make it special with themed snacks and drinks, or build a comfy fort together with blankets and pillows.
If you do decide to go trick-or-treating, it is important to avoid going door-to-door to multiple households, where it can be difficult to socially distance and the risk of exposure is higher. Instead, limit your area to a friend’s house or other small, familiar area to stay safer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress the importance of wearing protective masks whenever you are in the presence of others. When trick-or-treating, ensure that everyone in the family is wearing a cloth or surgical mask (not just a costume mask). Do not have children wear a costume mask over a cloth or surgical mask as this can make it hard for them to breathe.
After returning home from trick-or-treating, have the entire family wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and lay out collected candy on a clean surface for a few hours to allow time for any virus on the candy to die.
From all of us at Kids’ Turn San Diego, we wish you a fun and safe Halloween!
Source: Kaiser Permanente