How do you handle Halloween when you’re divorced with kids?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

When you share custody of your kids with your ex-spouse, pulling off Halloween is more of a “trick” than a “treat.” Since the festivities can fall on a weekday while school is in session, or get moved around according to the weather or a neighborhood schedule, a lot of parents don’t think to include Halloween in their custody schedule.

That’s a major problem if you don’t want to miss out on all the joy and excitement that the holiday brings to your little ones. If you haven’t yet finalized your custody plan, you still have time to include it. If your custody plan is already in place, it’s time to communicate with your ex and see if you can work out a mutually agreeable solution.

What are some options for Halloween custody?

Talk to your co-parent about the situation and consider what works best out of the following options:

  • Go twice: There’s no rule that says your kids can’t enjoy trick-or-treating twice in a season. Sometimes the easiest solution is the simplest, so check the times for the festivities in your neighborhood and your co-parent’s neighborhood. If they’re on different nights, just each take your turn.
  • Share the holiday: This can actually work out to be mutually beneficial for both parents and kids. If you and your co-parent can be civil to each other, your kids get to share the full experience with both of you – and you each gain a partner who can help keep the kids out of danger during all the excitement.
  • Split the events: Do your kids have both a Halloween party and trick-or-treat night to attend? Let your co-parent handle one and you handle the other. That gives you each exclusive time with the kids and reduces the pressure on you, as a parent, to manage both events. That’s another win-win proposition for everyone.
  • Alternate years: If you and your co-parent really can’t work together, the only viable solution might be to trade the holiday on alternate years. If you take the kids around the neighborhood this year, it’s your co-parent’s turn the next.


The costumes are already in the store, and the leaves are already starting to change, so it’s definitely not too early to have this conversation with your ex. If custody issues are constantly a problem, however, you may need to talk to someone about putting a better parenting plan in place.

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