Families with Halloween traditions want to share them with their kids. Some families carve pumpkins, decorate, bake spooky treats, make costumes, visit haunted houses and go trick-or-treating in their community. Halloween is full of fun memories (and candy) for children.
After separation, parents want their children to spend Halloween with them to continue the traditions and fun memories. Some parents are commendable for their flexibility and willingness to share Halloween each year. In other situations, a parent needs a court order to take their children Trick-or-Treating.
Common ways court orders handle Halloween:
The (other parent) shall have the children for Halloween in odd numbered years. The (parent) shall drop off the children at the (other parent)’s home on October 31 at 5:00 p.m. and the (other parent) shall return the children to the (parent)’s home at 8:00 p.m. The (parent) shall have Halloween in even numbered years.
The (other parent) shall have the children for Halloween in odd numbered years. The (other parent)’s Halloween time shall start on October 31 at the end of school or at 4:00 p.m. on non-school days. The (other parent)’s Halloween time shall end on November 1 at the start of school or at 10:00 a.m. on non-school days.
Parenting orders occasionally overlook Halloween when dividing the holidays and special occasions. If Halloween is left out of a parenting agreement or court order for whatever reason, the regular schedule decides which parent has Halloween. A parent could find their child is denied Halloween time with them for several years unless the other parent is willing to be accommodating.
In high conflict situations, it’s unlikely that a parent will give up their time with the child on a fun special occasion. Permission is needed to change a parenting plan or court order. After a final parenting order is granted a “change of circumstances” is needed to return to court to change it. You could be out of luck if Halloween fell through the cracks in your final court order.
When preparing a parenting plan or court order: it’s important to collaborate with experienced professionals to avoid mistakes like overlooked holiday time or unclear wording that leads to conflict.
The Edmonton Family Network has connections to legal professionals and community support services available to help with parenting situations. Email our team to learn more.