This year October 31 falls on a Friday, which, as a newly separated or recently divorced parent, you may already be aware is the traditional day of the week when children switch homes for weekend visitation with their other parent. What does this mean for Halloween? No matter where your child spends it, here are some co-parenting tips for how to make trick-or-treating safe and fun for everyone.
Be prepared: If you are set to pick up your child after school on Friday, in addition to the normal weekend gear, check with your ex to make sure your child packs his or her Halloween costume. Be aware that in a growing number of New Jersey schools, Halloween parades or costumed parties are no longer celebrated for safety reasons, so don’t assume that kids will automatically have their costumes on, or even have them in their backpacks.
Because Halloween is on a Friday, it could also be the case that your former spouse did not purchase your child a costume, knowing that you will have custody of your child during trick-or-treating hours. Communicating in advance with your ex on this issue is key. Since your child is spending time with you on Halloween, it may be a nice gesture for you to pick out a costume together during one of your visitation days leading up to October 31. If you plan to do this, let your child’s other parent in on the plan.
Get to know your neighborhood: If you’re newly divorced and your children have only spent limited time in your new home, they may not be too familiar with the neighborhood. You might not be, either! Because getting lost in the darkness of Halloween is not much of a treat, take time now to acquaint yourself and your kids with nearby streets and houses. Talk about which routes you might take on Halloween and introduce yourself to the neighbors you see outside. Feeling safe is a big part of having fun on Halloween.
Stay Flexible: Are your kids disappointed because they won’t trick-or-treat with their friends this year? In deciding what to do on Halloween night, think about what your children need to feel safe, comfortable and happy. If older kids want to spend time with friends, you may want to make a different arrangement for this particular Friday, perhaps opting for visitation to start Saturday morning.
Likewise, have you considered spending Halloween together as a family? With all the prep work so many spend getting ready for October 31, Halloween almost feels like a major holiday. Going out trick-or-treating with both of you might be the magic spell that makes your younger child feel happy and safe. Think about whether this might be right for your family.
After all, if you and your ex both dress up in costume, it will be that much easier for you to stand the sight of each other.