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Halloween and child custody issues: Creative solutions

Over the last few decades, Halloween has become a bigger holiday than ever -- for many people, it kicks off the entire "holiday season." Some even prefer it to Thanksgiving or Christmas.

It's also a major sore spot for divided families who still have kids young enough to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood or attend Halloween dress-up parties in their costumes. No parent wants to miss the opportunity to see his or her little princess dressed up as a real princess or his or her favorite little warrior decked out like a ninja on the prowl for candy.

Is there a way to make Halloween easier?

Traditionally, parents with joint custody have just rotated the major holidays -- which means that one parent gets Halloween while the other parent gets Thanksgiving this year, and it switches next year.

Frankly, that's a terrible deal for everyone -- parents usually feel like they're missing out on a precious childhood moment that will be lost forever and the kids usually feel cheated because they don't get to show both parents their costumes.

If Halloween is an important holiday to share with the kids, consider asking your ex-spouse out for a cup of coffee to discuss some alternative ways to handle the issue:

  1. Find out if your neighborhood trick-or-treat times are different. If they are, see if you can simply agree to each take the kids trick-or-treating in your own neighborhoods at the different nights or times. That way, you both get to experience the fun of the night and your kids won't exactly be disappointed about getting to go out twice!
  2. See if you can agree to put a truce between you, whatever your issues, for the 2-3 hours allotted for trick-or-treating and take the kids out together. That's often a blessing, especially if the kids are little and hard to keep track of in all the costumed chaos.
  3. See if one of you can attend the school party or take the kids to a community-organized Halloween party while the other handles trick-or-treat night. That may be less satisfying, but it's better than missing out entirely!

For more ideas on how to handle child custody issues, especially when looking for creative solutions to common problems, reach out for legal guidance.

Source: Divorcemag.com, "Holiday Parenting Time Issues," Henry Gornbein, accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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