Halloween is a holiday not just for kids but adults, too. It's a fun holiday when we can dress up and play the role of monsters and vampires and celebrities or the like. Plus, all sorts of candy and treats abound.
But it's not a holiday for which anyone takes a day off. For that reason, not many people think of it when it comes to holidays and child custody. Fortunately, when parents are divorcing or otherwise creating a parenting plan, the State of Illinois (as well as Cook County separately) provides a Parenting Plan form. This form guides parents through the process and helps them make sure their parenting plan includes the basic details. Halloween is included in this form as are many other holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Diwali, Ramadan, and other holidays.
So, to answer the question if Halloween is a holiday to consider in Illinois for parenting plan purposes, the answer is: yes. Here are a couple of ways the holiday can be split between both parents so that your child is treated with memories and not spooks on Halloween night.
Example 1: Alternating Years
As with most holidays, parents tend to break them up according to the year. So, under this arrangement, one parent may have the child in even years while the other parent has the child in odd years.
The benefit to the method is simple: planning in advance so there's no confusion and everyone is on the same page. It also allows for a day of consistent fun without disruption to go from one home to the other home.
Example 2: Splitting Up the Day
Many times both parents want to enjoy their child on Halloween. It's always fun to see children in their costumes and to enjoy their smiles while trick or treating with friends. One parent could have the early afternoon where he or she helps the child dress up and then takes the child trick or treating for half of the time. Then, the other parent meets the child at a pre-arranged location and time to enjoy the remainder of the evening. You can alternate the timing each year.
This method also has its benefits: both parents get to enjoy some quality time with the child each year. There is, however, one caveat: Halloween can come and go quickly and the time it takes to meet the other parent is time taken away from the evening. Things can happen. It's dark. It's crowded. Someone may be late. So, it's important to be aware that things just may not always go smoothly.
Example 3: Replacing the Halloween with Another Holiday
For parents who do not live close to their child, spending Halloween with the child may not be feasible. There's no time off of school (or work for that matter), so having the child travel to spend Halloween with the parent may not work. But, in lieu of this holiday, maybe the parent who lives far away can enjoy another holiday regularly, like Labor Day or Memorial Day.
The important thing about parenting plans is flexibility. The important thing about parents working together is communication and always keeping in mind the best interests of the child. Working together, Halloween (or any other holiday for that matter) can be great fun for everyone – and that's probably the best treat any child can ask for.
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