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Handling Halloween with your co-parent

Halloween is nearly upon us. There is a good chance that your kids already know exactly what they want to be this year. If you haven't purchased their perfect Batman, Elsa, witch or other costume or sewn on those final details, you still have some time.

There is more to Halloween that trick-or-treating. Sarasota has some great events on the calendar that are fun for the whole family. What are they?

  • Night of Fun, Fish & Fright - The Mote Aquarium is hosting a costume "party" on October 21. Kids dress up and trick or treat within the aquarium.
  • 25th Annual Pumpkin Festival at Hunsader Farms - Enjoy live music, crafts, scarecrows, games, hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, kid train rides, face painting, and more on October 22 and 23.
  • 28th Annual Pumpkin Fest at the Fruitville Grove - More Halloween-inspired fun on the October 22nd weekend. Kids can ride ponies and a mini train, go on a hay ride, paint pumpkins and have their faces painted, enjoy a petting zoo, and enter a costume contest on that Saturday afternoon.
  • 19th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest - Fido and Tabby can get in on the action too with the Sarasota County Humane Society's pet costume contest on October 26.
  • Pumpkin Splash - Head to Arlington Park and Aquatic Center on October 22 for pumpkins, games, activities, candy, and other prizes.
  • Haunted Houses - If spooky is your aim, try one of the many haunted houses and tours throughout Sarasota County, such as Ghost Hunting Tours at Historic Spanish Point, Haunted Trails of Oscar Scherer State Park, the Venice Ghost Walk Tour, the Hellton Inn Haunted House, and Boo Fest at Lakewood Ranch.
  • Trick-or-Treating - You can take your children to Village of the Arts, Downtown Venice, or Siesta Key Village on Halloween for safe and fun trick-or-treating activities.

With so many family-friendly activities to engage in this month, now is the time to make plans, address expectations and set boundaries with your co-parent.

Co-parenting tips for Halloween

Co-parenting can be challenging year-round, but holidays, birthdays and other special occasions often present additional obstacles. A good way to prevent anger, frustration and misunderstandings is to develop clear and defined guidelines beforehand. For many divorced and separated couples, these issues are detailed in their parenting plans.

Does your parenting plan talk about Halloween, your traditions and associated rules? If so, be sure to adhere to these agreed-upon guidelines, and inform your child's other parent as soon as possible if there are any needed modifications. If your parenting plan isn't this detailed, it's a good idea to broach the subject well in advance. Cordial civilized communication is key.

Guidelines to observe:

  • Don't use your children as messengers. Speak directly with your co-parent.
  • Invite your ex to schedule a time and place convenient to you both to discuss Halloween plans and considerations.
  • Don't demand. Discuss and make requests and suggestions.
  • Be respectful of each other's ideas, feelings and input.
  • Pick your battles. Don't argue over small things just for the sake of winning.
  • Enter into discussions with a mindset for compromise.

Things to Discuss:

  • Who will have the child(ren) on Halloween?
  • Will you split the day or the evening?
  • Who will take your tykes trick-or-treating? When?
  • Who is responsible for a costume? Is it a joint venture?
  • Talk about activities you would like to attend with your child(ren) and whether you can both agree that they are age appropriate and amenable to you both.

Discussing these issues and designing a plan together for Halloween and associated activities is a show of respect, caring and consideration for your children.

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