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October 8, 2021

Holiday Co-Parent Time: Halloween

It’s that time of year. Falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and Halloween school parades. With the fun also comes questions about Halloween parent-time. The questions arise because Halloween is treated differently than all of the other holidays outlined in Utah Code Ann. 30-3-35, which provides the default schedule for holiday parent-time. All of the other holidays include at least one overnight and the days of the holidays are somewhat fixed by school schedules and federal government holiday declarations.

With Halloween, there is no corresponding overnight. Further, the date and time of celebration is not fixed by school or the federal government but rather by the local community.

Utah Code Ann. sec. 30-3-35(2)(g)(vi) states that in even-numbered years, the non-custodial parent is entitled to Halloween. This assumes that the custodial parent is entitled to the holiday in odd-numbered years. If your court order does not specify which of the parents is the non-custodial parent, it is usually considered to be the parent with fewer overnights per year.

The code specifically says:

“(vi) Halloween on October 31 or the day Halloween is traditionally celebrated in the local community from after school until 9 p.m. if on a school day, or from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.”

The law references “the local community” to determine the date and time of this holiday. That means, that when Halloween falls in the middle of a week, the local community might have “trick-or-treat” hours on Friday or Saturday, and that might be different for the custodial home and the noncustodial home. Also, some parents don’t engage in “trick-or-treat” in the community at large but prefer to attend a local event for kids.

Communicate as parents regarding Halloween plans.

As parents, you may agree to something different, but it is always suggested that you have any agreement regarding a change to the holiday schedule in writing.

No matter if this is your first Halloween since separating as parents or if you have been separated for years, it is a good idea to touch base with the other parent regarding plans for the children over Halloween.  Early communication regarding the holiday (in other words, not sending an email the night of October 30th regarding the following nights activities and requests) ensures each parent is informed regarding Halloween, and communication could make any changes to your schedule much easier.

As children get older plans may change when it comes to friends, family, school, church or neighborhood activities.  If you have more than one child, you may also want to consider whether there will be different age appropriate Halloween activities to attend and how best you can make those happen between the two of you as parents.

Be safe this Halloween and enjoy the holiday.

It’s that time of year. Falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and Halloween school parades. With the fun also comes questions about


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