Sunday, October 9, 2011

Divorce and Halloween: It Doesn't Need To Be Scary

Photo used under Creative Commons from wwarby

by Nigel Lawson

With Halloween just around the corner, fighting your way through department store crowds in search of the perfect costumes for the kids and bags of Hersey's Miniatures might not be the only thing your dreading this Fall. Dealing with an ex-spouse might be just as scary, especially if this is your first Halloween after divorce.

Well, no fear! Here are some tips to tame any ghoulish ex-spouse on All Hallows Eve.

1. Involve your kids.  Before making any plans, talk to your children.  Ask them what they would like to do for Halloween.  At this point you can ask if your ex-spouse has made any Halloween plans with your children.  It would be horrific if you made extensive plans and then found out your spouse has already promised to take your children to the neighborhood haunted block party.

2. Be ready to share.  If your ex has not mentioned spending time with the children on Halloween, don't assume he/she has no plans.   Speak to your ex and decide who will have the children that evening.  In some cases parents may opt to share Halloween duties.  One parent may purchase costumes and dress the children while the other takes them trick or treating.  A second scenario for children may be trick or treating separately with each parent in two different neighborhoods.  I'm sure your children wouldn't mind doubling their candy supply.

3. Plan early.  Halloween is one of those holidays that often slip our minds.  Before you know it, its October 30th.  If you haven't spoken to your ex by this time, calling the night before will probably result in an argument.  If your custody agreement includes certain holidays, and Halloween is one of them, you're in the clear.  But, if you're like most people, Halloween is often forgotten.   Plan ahead of time.  If you would like the children for the whole evening, call your spouse at least a month before.  This gives him/her plenty of time to make plans of their own.

 4. Speaking of plans... If you agree to having the children stay with your ex-spouse the whole evening, don't sulk at home alone.  Keep busy with relative and friends.  Take the opportunity to pass out candy at a neighbor's house or dress up and go to a Halloween party with friends. 

5. Play nice with Mom or Dad.  What every your arrangement is with your ex-spouse for that evening, always be courteous.  Children are deeply affected by negative comments made by one parent about another parent.  It confuses them and results in resentment of the offending parent.  Be considerate around your ex-spouse and children.  Halloween is a time for costumes and fun.  It may also be a time to put on a mask and set our differences aside to get through the evening.


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