When I was a child, Halloween was the day my father came home from work early to walk my sister, brothers, and I around the neighborhood in the costumes my mother made. Store-bought costumes were out of the question. The rule was that all homework had to be done before we could go out. While my dad walked up and down neighbors’ driveways with us, my mother stayed home to hand out candy that she stockpiled in a big ceramic pumpkin. My mom loved to see all of the costumes on the children who came to the door. When we got home, she checked our loot for anything suspicious, which also gave her the chance to steal those Nestle Crunch bars she coveted.

Families have different rules and traditions surrounding Halloween. But when parents decide to separate and divorce, things inevitably change. Some parents hold tight to try to keep traditions alive, while others seek to immediately change things. Parents often cannot agree on who will buy the costumes and who will take the children trick-or-treating. Sometimes, parents insist that they both walk around with the children, which is good solution in situations that are truly amicable, but creates stress for the children in those that are not. A good compromise is to alternate each year, with one parent responsible for both the purchase of the costume and the trick-or-treating duties. Remember that your children need time to adjust to all the changes to come as a result of a divorce, and in many instances, allowing the children to keep their usual routine in the first year post-separation can provide comfort. Remember, too, that Halloween is for children, and is not about the adults. Your children want to collect candy and be with their friends, not see their parents argue.

While it can be hard to let go of traditions, it can also be fun making new ones. What matters most is that your children do not feel caught in the middle.