Dealing with Kids of Divorce on Halloween
The pumpkins are carved, the ghosts are hung and the Disney Princess and Storm Trooper costumes have been purchased. Everything is all set for creepily jovial, sugar-high fueled fun! Everything, that is, except the logistics regarding who is taking the kids trick-or-treating; you or your ex. Uh-oh. This could be a potentially frightening night, for all the wrong reasons.
Before you end up forever haunted by the memory of this spooky holiday, let’s take a look at what the divorce experts have to say about successfully wrangling the wee ones this year. We’ve collected information from Diane L. Danois, J.D., bonusfamilies, hermentorcenter.com, brendashoshanna.weebly.com and divorce360.com in an effort to keep the kids grinning widely on this much Hallowed Eve.
Some holidays can be tough for divorced parents; luckily Halloween typically isn’t one of them
Determining who will have custody of the kids on Christmas/Hanukkah or Thanksgiving can be a truly trying experience. Expectations from both sides of the families can be huge (“I need to see my beautiful grandchildren on the high holy days!”) Thankfully, Halloween isn’t really viewed as that important to most parents (the kids don’t even get off from school), so relinquishing control of the tykes usually isn’t that big of a deal. On the other hand, Halloween is very highly regarded in the kid community as much celebrated and glorious day (they get to dress up AND eat a bag a’ candy), so it’s important to think about their wants more than your own.
Unlike a lot of other holidays, actually sharing the evening experience with your ex can be decent (granted, depending on how much you would like to see your ex as an actual skeleton, of course). The kids are obviously adorable in their little Batman and Frozen outfits and the atmosphere is generally light (despite the frolicking devils, witches and demons, naturally). Pairing up with your ex partner to drive your offspring door to door to beg for cavity inducing morsels can be a relatively harmless experience, all things considered.
Pick your Poison
If you fall into the ‘I can’t even be in the same room as my ex without taking a machete to them’ camp, then taking the kids out together is not really an option. So, you need to decide who will mind them. The easiest solution? Whoever enjoys the holiday more themselves should take them. Meaning, if you revel in all the ghoulish elements yourself, the result is that your children will have more fun with you. The whole point of this day is for your babes to have a good time, so obviously put their interests first (C’mon, you’re a parent; you should be beyond used to this). Another factor that can help you and your ex decide who should have them this eerie eve is if your kids have a group of like-minded goblins they want to troll a particular neighborhood for Reese’s with. If they have a set cadre of trick/treating chums, let whichever parent is more conveniently situated, geographically, have them. It just makes the most sense and won’t confuse the kids at all.
You’re the (Boogey) Boss
All of the professionals in the child psychology field unanimously seem to agree that this should be your decision (who takes whom), not your kids. Putting them in the middle is not a good idea (clearly there are few, if any, circumstances where this is advocated). You and your ex should determine who’s taking them beforehand and then that’s it, end of discussion. The final nail in the coffin…
As with all holidays in general, the kinder you can be (or at least appear) to your ex in front of your kids, the better for their overall well-being. Nobody wants to see Mummy and Dad-ula arguing about petty things on a day that’s supposed to be full of creepy cheer. Slap a grin on your face and get through the day; you’ll have the rapidly approaching Thanksgiving to grumble about soon enough.
Keep your Solo Spirits Up!
Finally, if you hand the kids off to your ex and will be spending the night by your lonesome, don’t let the little ones think you are sad about it. Wish them luck in scaring the other kids so bad that they wet their pants, kiss their clown-make-up laden cheeks, check to see if they’re wearing those annoying reflectors you got them and send them on their merry way. Even if you’ll be Netflixing a scary movie all alone, make sure the kids think you are genuinely happy about it. Nobody wants to treat-or-treat while thinking about how sad their left behind parent is (womp womp).
Follow these scarily simple tips and a good night will be had by all. Then, you will have truly earned the right to ransack their sugary loot and gorge yourself silly on mini-Snickers.