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Trick or Treat? Celebrating Halloween with Your Step-Kids

By Nottage and Ward on October 19, 2012

Trying to figure out how to celebrate Halloween after a divorce is difficult, but what if you’re a step-mom or dad? In the final part of our “Trick or Treat?” blog series, the Chicago family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward discuss some of the issues facing stepparents in connection to Halloween and their overall desire to be an important part of their step-children’s lives.

It’s tough being a stepparent. You want your step-children to accept you as a mom or a dad, but this is often an uphill battle because you don’t want them to harbor ill feelings about the fact that you’ve literally taken the place of their biological parent. While Halloween may be a good opportunity to show your step-kids you care about making the holidays fun for them, you also want to make sure not to force anything. Keeping the following tips in mind can help you be a part of your step-kids’ Halloween without being uncompromising or unfair to the children:

  • Talk to your spouse about being a part of your step-child’s Halloween celebration so that any plans they may make with the other parent also involve you, if appropriate.
  • If your step-children want to go trick-or-treating with their other parent, it’s okay. It does not necessarily mean that they don’t want to spend time with you, but that they miss their other parent. Children have every right to want to be with their biological parent and it is healthy for them to do so (with obvious exceptions).
  • Ask your step-children what they want to do for Halloween. The fact that you’re asking will show them that you care, but don’t be thrown off if they actually say they want to spend it with their other parent. It takes time for many kids to warm up to a stepparent, so take baby-steps.
  • While your step-kids spending time with their other parent for Halloween is fine, if any part of their Halloween involves the parent you are married to, you need to be there too. If everyone is going to go trick-or-treating together, you should also be there. It’s important for children to realize their step-mom or dad isn’t just some extra person, but a part of the family. If your husband or wife tells you that they want to spend Halloween with their child and other parent, but without you, it may be a problem.

There is no magic answer for how to approach Halloween and the holidays with your step-kids during or after a divorce, but the discussion in this blog series hopefully gave you some ideas or starting points to use while you figure out what is best for your family. On that note, the legal team at Nottage and Ward would like to wish you and your family a safe and Happy Halloween!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding child custody or other family law matters in Illinois, please feel free to Contact Us.

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