Divorced & Trick-or-Treating: How to Help Your Kids Enjoy the Night!
For children Halloween is one of the most exciting nights of the year. A time to dress up and walk the neighbourhood collecting candy, the memories can last a lifetime. For families who are separated/divorced, navigating the Halloween evening can be a little bit more challenging, so I’ve compiled a number of tips & tricks:
1. Plan Early
make sure you and your ex-partner are in communication about the children’s costumes at least a week before the big-night. By planning early you can discuss whether or not you’re going to share the costs of a costume, what trick-or-treating plans you have and how both parents will get to see the children during the evening.
2. Hangout Together If Possible
If it’s appropriate, come together to trick-or-treat with your children as a family unit. While the emotional wounds of the separation/divorce can be tricky for parents, coming together even for the short period of time can provide your children with the attention of both parents – something they often crave, while creating a positive post-separation memory.
3. If Alternating the Holiday, Include an Extra Event
If you have a schedule where you don’t have parenting time with your children this year on Halloween, create an extra event on the day you do have your children. If you have your children on the days leading up to Halloween, check your local library and community centres as they often host Halloween events each day leading up to the big night. If you have your children after Halloween, you could always create a Halloween party in your home, full of costumes, candy and movies so that they can enjoy the spirit of the holiday with you as well.
4. Avoid Making Children Feel Sad or Guilty
Parents not able to spend the Halloween evening with their children or for those where the evening didn’t go as you wanted, don’t make the children feel sad or guilty. Any feelings that parents have about the separation/divorce should not be projected on to the children – if you’re feeling frustrated, angry or hurt talk to a therapist or friend. Be sure to encourage and support the children by highlighting all the fun they had/or will have on Halloween and taking a genuine curiosity about their experience.