When it comes to divorce and Halloween – it doesn’t have to be scary.

Halloween is just around the corner.  It’s time for picking out costumes, going to the pumpkin patch, and figuring out who gets to take the kids trick-or-treating. While most of the major holidays are officially designated to one parent or the other in your separation agreement, Halloween isn’t usually one of them.  But it’s still a day that’s important to children and often to their parents as well.  The challenge comes in working out the best solution for everyone involved:  you, your children, and your ex.  There are several solutions, and the right one for your family depends on your individual situation.

♦ Alternating Years:  This is pretty much the same way you probably have the other holidays worked out.  You get certain holidays in even years and other holidays during the odd years.  It can be hard when you can’t have your children on a given day, but there’s no doubt that it’s fair. This is an ideal solution if you don’t live close to your ex or if you have a difficult relationship.   If you’re currently going through a divorce and Halloween is important to you, go ahead and have it added into your agreement.  If the paperwork has long been filed and gathering dust, you could always have it added or simply talk it out with your ex.  But make sure you have any agreements written down to avoid confusion or hurt feelings later.

♦ Split the Night:  Each spouse taking part of the night can work out very well for former couples who might still live reasonably close.  It’s a great compromise that can keep everyone involved and happy.  This does take a bit of cooperation between you and your ex, because you’ll need to work out who will get the kids for which part of the night.  Most likely, the kids won’t mind trick-or-treating in two neighborhoods instead of one!

♦ Everyone Together:  It sounds idealistic, but this solution really can work for some people.  If you and your ex are on friendly terms, it could be very beneficial to share Halloween.  Your children get the opportunity to see that their parents are capable of working together, and neither you nor your ex have to miss out on fall festivities.  To ensure that it goes smoothly, get together with your ex in advance on where you’ll go and how long you’ll spend.  Don’t exclude new spouses or stepsiblings from the fun, and make it a big event.

At the heart of it, the most important thing is to put your children first, keeping them happy and blissfully unaware of any hard feelings between you and your former spouse.  Don’t let them feel bad if they are trick-or-treating with your ex instead of you.  It’s also crucial to have good communication; if you’re open to ideas for splitting Halloween, it’s likely that your ex will be, too.  There are only so many years that your little ones will want to go trick-or-treating anyway, so make the most of it and work together to find the right compromise.