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Planning for Halloween as divorced co-parents

Halloween is still weeks away. However, if you're a divorced parent sharing custody of your kids, you know that everything requires a little more planning than it used to.

If this is your first Halloween parenting across two households, communication with your co-parent may still be a little tense. However, as always, remember that your kids should be your focus -- particularly on this holiday.

Talk to your co-parent or communicate in whatever way works best for you. Find out if the kids have a party at school, with friends or elsewhere. Do they want to trick or treat? Halloween falls in the middle of the week this year. Therefore, they may have plans for the weekend before instead of Halloween night.

While it's fine to ask your kids if they have plans, don't ask them which parent they want to spend Halloween with. They should never be placed in that position. Make your decision with your co-parent and then tell the kids.

If the kids are planning to go trick or treating, you'll need to decide how to handle that. For example:

  • If you and your co-parent live close to each other, maybe you can split the night, and they can spend time with each of you separately.
  • Maybe one of you can stay at the house and deal with trick-or-treaters, and the other can walk around with the kids.
  • If you and your co-parent get along well enough, perhaps you can all go out together. That would give the neighbors something to talk about.

Both parents can always find a way to celebrate Halloween with their kids, even if it's not precisely on the holiday. However, if you and your co-parent live far apart or if your co-parent isn't going to be able to share in the festivities for other reasons, encourage your kids to take and share photos and videos with their other parent. If you don't get to celebrate Halloween with your kids, don't make them feel guilty.

If the holiday doesn't work out the way you'd like, you've got some big holidays coming up soon. If you haven't included holidays in your parenting time schedule or you're still working it out, this is a good time to consider doing so. Having a plan for how and where the kids will spend these days can alleviate stress, conflict and misunderstandings for the whole family.

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