Trick or treat? An unneccesary evil or fun for all the family?
Halloween is like marmite - it tends to polarise opinion.
There are people who love the thrill of fancy dress and enjoy a good party, complete with a witch’s hat and an apple bobbing competition. As a parent, it can cause difficulties when considering whether you feel comfortable with your children partaking in Halloween festivities, particularly if your views are not shared by the other parent, or if the parents of your child’s friends adopt a different attitude to the occasion.
Some parents find the concept of their children dressing up as a ghost, wandering around the local town, knocking on the doors of total strangers, asking for sweets to be entirely inappropriate if not completely unsafe. Other parents take the view that so long as the children are supervised by an adult and they are knocking at the homes of families or friends known to them (who are perhaps also forewarned of their spooky visitors and told to stock up on sweets!) then it can be harmless fun.
Regardless of your personal views, allowing your children to ‘trick or treat’ at Halloween can divide opinion, even between parents living in the same household. For separated parents, this can be yet another hurdle to navigate if your views do not align with those held by the other parent. It is therefore important to have discussions about your respective views and expectations around occasions such as Halloween so that you can agree what is appropriate and safe for your child in advance. Early discussions can ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises or last minute disappointment for the children.
A parenting plan can be a useful tool to set out the arrangements for children so that there are misunderstandings and any areas in dispute can be discussed in plenty of time. Many parents find mapping out a calendar for the year ahead can also help to ensure everyone is working with the same dates and from the same document. For example, a common arrangement is for children to spend the first half of the half term week with the parent with whom they have spent the previous weekend under the usual term-time arrangements. Sometimes there can be confusion as to when the term time pattern ends and the holiday pattern begins. It is therefore often helpful to communicate the specific dates to the other parent well in advance so that if there is any disagreement or difference of opinion, there is time to find a resolution.