Co-parenting children can be challenging, even in the best of circumstances, and the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has presented divorced parents with continual issues. Not only do they have to deal with social distancing, there are health questions, work-related concerns, and difficult school schedules. However, safety must be the main priority when making co-parenting decisions.
Parents may be wondering how to handle holiday festivities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially Halloween events. Different parts of the country will have varying regulations. Having the most up-to-date information available is helpful.
What are the Safety Protocols for Halloween?
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently posted some guidelines that families can refer to. They are discouraging many of the festivities that children normally look forward to. This can be very disappointing for children, but many traditional Halloween activities are classified as high-risk. The most dangerous activities include going to crowded indoor Halloween parties, trunk-or-treat and trick-or-treat events, fall festivals, and hayrides and tractor rides with strangers.
The CDC also discourages outdoor parties where people are not wearing masks or social distancing. It is important to know that Halloween costume masks are not the same as cloth masks. Costume masks must have at least two layers of breathable fabric, must cover the nose and mouth, and should not have any gaps. Pumpkin and apple picking can also be risky since people may not be using hand sanitizer..
Complete Transparency is Essential
The health of family members is extremely important. To make this a priority, co-parents need to be completely transparent about their actions. No one wants to risk losing parenting time, but if one was exposed or tested positive, the other family members need to know. This honest exchange of information will keep everyone safer. The parents can share how each will try to protect the children from being exposed.
Also, if one of the children is exhibiting symptoms and tests positive, both parents should be aware. If one parent feels that the other is not practicing social distancing or is behaving in a reckless manner, this topic should be discussed.
Many parents may also be experiencing economic hardships, such as fewer working hours or complete job loss. This could affect alimony and child support payments, which could cause friction. Arguing in front of the children, especially near the holidays, could upset them. If these disagreements are discussed and settled in a calm matter, it is beneficial for everyone.
How can Families Celebrate Halloween Safely?
Trick-or-treating and parties are not the only ways to celebrate Halloween. There are many other ways to enjoy the holiday, and they do not have to cost a lot of money. Families can involve the children with decorating the inside and outside of their houses, including jack-o’-lanterns. Other fun ideas include family scavenger hunts, scary movie nights, and virtual costume contests.
Having small outdoor gathering that employ social distancing protocols may be doable, but it is not always easy to follow the rules, especially with younger children. If alcohol is being served, this could affect judgment and cause people to disregard the safety rules.
What Should I Tell My Children?
Putting the children’s best interests first means complying with the CDC, local, and state guidelines that apply to Halloween. Many cities may not even allow trick-or-treating, so it is important to stay informed about local laws. Parents should expect that the children may be upset or angry about not being able to go trick-or-treating.
If possible, a family meeting can be arranged to discuss how Halloween will be celebrated, but the parents should be on the same page. They can meet or speak ahead of time and decide the best way to tell the children about Halloween. Remaining calm is extremely helpful.
Giving the children some options can make them feel as though they have control of the situation. They can be offered a variety of things to do, like pumpkin painting, a costumed virtual meeting, or some of the other low-risk options. The more creative, the better.
Should Parents Share Holiday Events?
Even with the ongoing pandemic, Halloween can still be enjoyable. One of the best ways to ensure fun for everyone is to plan ahead of time. Parents should discuss who will have the children for Halloween activities, which can be addressed in a family meeting. If there is a child custody agreement or court order in place, this is the starting point.
Some co-parents take turns on holidays, so that decision may have already been made. Another option is to spend part of the day with one parent and the remaining part of the day with the other. If there are several children, they can be split up between the parents if that is agreeable. For example, one child can carve pumpkins with their father while the other child decorates the house with their mother.
Some separated families are able to spend holidays, like Halloween, together, and this can be a rewarding experience if everyone feels comfortable. Creating new holiday traditions, like cooking together, dressing up the family pet, taking videos, or visiting the grandparents can also make the holiday more special.
If a parent wishes to make modifications to an existing custody agreement, they should speak to a lawyer about their options.
Baltimore County Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Spend Time with Their Children During Holiday Events
This Halloween will be different for everyone, but your family can still make the best of it. Sometimes, holiday events create tension between co-parents. If you need experienced legal guidance regarding a child custody issue, one of our Baltimore County child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County.