How is Halloween addressed in your Parenting Plan?
Your parenting plan should address the holidays that are important to you, and for many people that includes Halloween. It may not be at the top of your list like Christmas or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but Halloween is a holiday that feels like it is limited – your kids are only young once. Most parents want to spend as many Halloweens as possible with their young children while they still enjoy dressing up and trick-or-treating. How can you accomplish that while splitting or sharing holidays with your child’s other parent?
If you have a strong coparenting relationship or the ability to put your conflicts aside for one night per year, your parenting plan could include a provision to trick-or-treat together. You would each get to spend time with your child or children each year instead of alternating and feeling like you’re missing out. This option requires excellent communication, as it can create confusion for young children to celebrate holidays with both parents if mixed messages are being sent. If you and your coparent have a high-conflict relationship, this is your least likely option.
Many parents plan Halloween as an every-other-year holiday in their Parenting Plan. In odd years, one parent will have the child for the specified time, and the other parent will have visitation in even years. When Halloween is specified as a holiday in the Parenting Plan, the holiday time would override any regular parenting time schedule.
Another choice would be to divide each Halloween evening between both households, with an exchange in the middle of of trick-or-treating hours. This may be emotionally exhausting for your child, and logistically difficult if don’t live very close to each other, or if your towns or neighborhoods do not follow the same trick-or-treating scheduled hours.
If you have significant disagreement over your children’s Halloween costumes, you may need to agree that the parent who has the parenting time on the day of Halloween gets final approval over your child’s costume choices. This way, the decision-making will alternate to match the visitation time.
Please also be cautious and make sure that your child’s costume adheres to the school dress code for costumes regardless of which parent has parenting time on the holiday.
What can I do if it’s not my weekend or parenting time?
While trick-or-treating can be an exciting time in your child’s year that you don’t want to miss, many other events surrounding the holiday can give you the the opportunty to dress up and do autumn activities with your children. Fall festivals, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and trunk-or-treat events often have scheduled hours that are in addition to regular day-of Halloween festivities. Plan ahead for your weekend or weeknight parenting time just prior to Halloween, and you’ll have plenty of fall activities to enjoy with your children even when it’s not your year for trick-or-treating.
What if we can’t reach an agreement?
If the conflict level of your coparenting situation is so high that you are not able to come to an agreement, mediation is a great first step to try to find common ground. If it’s just not possible, it’s time to reach out to your attorney and discuss your options.
With Pro Legal Care LLC attorneys, you’ll start with a free attorney consultation appointment, where our Illinois or Wisconsin attorneys will go over the details of your situation with you and help you develop a path forward for conflict-free coparenting. Call us today at (815) 200-8802 or reach out to us online and we’ll be in touch.