While Halloween is not a religious holiday, it is one that is widely celebrated by American children. It is a rite of passage for children who celebrate to dress up in a Halloween costume and trick-or-treat. Some parents love celebrating Halloween with their children. Others are fine with snapping a few pictures and calling it a day. In a divorce case, Halloween can either be a hotly contested holiday (usually when small children are involved) or one that is absent all together in a parenting agreement. Handling Halloween when two parents are no longer together is best done by putting in an Allocation Judgment exactly what will happen each year on Halloween.
There are many different ways parents choose to split Halloween. Some parents just say whoever has the children on Halloween has them, pursuant to the regular parenting time schedule. Other parents treat it as a traditional holiday and alternate years with who will have the minor children on Halloween (i.e. Parent A in even years, Parent B in odd years). The even tougher part to throw into the mix with Halloween is that more often than not, Halloween falls on a school day, and school is in session (or lets out early). So, when I allocate Halloween for clients, I will often put in exactly what happens if it falls over a weekend versus exactly what happens if it falls during a week day. For example, I might put Parent A in even years, Parent B in odd years, and define “Halloween” as from after school on October 31st until 7:30 p.m., if it falls on a school day, or, from 9 a.m. on October 31st until 7:30 p.m. if it falls on a non-school day. If parents are really into Halloween and want to see their children on Halloween every year, I might suggest that they put in a schedule similar to above, but that language is inserted where the parent who doesn’t have the children on Halloween can see them for two (2) hours to take pictures and do a little bit of trick or treating, etc. This scenario would only work in situations where the parties get along reasonably well and can work together to set up times and exchange locations, etc.
Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children, and there is no reason for parents who cannot get along to dampen the mood. If Halloween is important to the parents, exactly what will happen on Halloween should be set forth in an Allocation Judgment, so as not to ruin the child’s holiday fun. Have a Happy and safe Halloween, from Anderson & Boback!