Fun Fall Activities for Short Child Visits
You’re looking at Halloween as a divorced co-parent, and you’re feeling the loss. Halloween used to be a fun family time of costumes and trick-or-treating. But this year, you’ll be alone handing out candy to other people’s kids. Your ex will be having fun with your kids this year, and you’re already feeling sad and lonely.
When you’re co-parenting, the first year can be the hardest for sharing holidays. But fall doesn’t have to be a bust without the official Halloween trick-or-treating. Rally the troops and create some new fall traditions you can enjoy together during your time with the kids. Before you know it, they’ll look forward to the special fall traditions you’ve created together.
There’s nothing like fall and nature to get kids outdoors and their imaginations in motion. How about a fall neighborhood scavenger hunt?
Get them geared up before you head out with a fun fall read, some sand buckets or grocery bags, and a printable scavenger hunt list, and you’re ready to go. Look for colorful fall leaves, acorns, pine cones, spider webs, and migrating birds and butterflies. For those things you can’t take home with you, take photos to remember the things you’ve “collected” on your nature scavenger hunt.
Crafty kid stuff
What to do with your bucket of fall nature? Keep it on hand for crafty stuff during the upcoming months.
Make a fall poster from your scavenger hunt treasures to remind you (and them) of their fun day outdoors. Create a fairy house with the twigs, bark, and acorns so your kids can look for tiny “visitors” whenever they’re with you. Keep dollhouse miniatures on hand to show that the fairies have taken up residence or visited overnight.
Have a pre-Halloween (or post-Halloween) party
Who says you have to wait for Halloween day to have a party?
Keep old costumes or a few thrift store hats, accessories, and outfits on hand for impromptu not-Halloween costume parties. Drape fake spider webs from furniture and lamps, sprinkle craft store fall leaves around the floor, dim the lights, and set up trick-or-treating stations around the house.
Spooky living room camping
If you have a big yard, tent, and fire pit, camping in the backyard will be a breeze. But you don’t have to have an outdoor space to have some camping fun.
Move aside the furniture, and pop up a pup tent or drape a tall table with a blanket for your indoor “tent.” Grab blankets, pillows, small flashlights, sandwiches, and microwave s’mores, and indulge in some silly “ghost stories” or Halloween-themed story-telling.
Build a scarecrow that looks like them
What’s more fun than building a scarecrow? Making scarecrows that look like your kids!
Have them bring over some old pieces of clothing. Take photos of their faces, blow up the images, mount them on foam board posted on paint sticks, and build mini-me scarecrows to ward off intruders. The mounted faces can later double as “flat Stanley” type props you can carry throughout your day. Send them images of their “flat selves” with you while you’re not with them so they can feel like they’re part of your daily life.
Costume photo shoot
There’s nothing preventing you from doing a Halloween photo shoot of your own.
Use your thrift store odds and ends to create unique costumes and pretend characters. Ask a friend to take photos, or even hire a professional photographer. Give your pretend characters names, silly accents, and personalities that you can enlist throughout the day to make even mundane things like walking the dog or going to the grocery store more interesting.
Make some Halloween-inspired goodies together
Most kids like to play around in the kitchen, and Halloween is the perfect time to put together some simple goodies that don’t require much effort.
Ghost-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Monster cupcakes. Eyeball cookies. Yes, your kitchen will look like a disaster afterward, but the memories you make will make the most thorough disaster worth the clean-up.
Organized fall activities
Community fall activities are everywhere this time of year.
Find a local bonfire or hay wagon ride. Visit a corn maze, pumpkin patch, or apple orchard. Let the kids pick out their own apples or pumpkins. When you get home, make homemade applesauce, or scoop out the pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds. Let the kids draw out their own jack-o-lantern faces for you to carve.
Gaze at the stars
With earlier sunsets, you and the kids can take time before bed to sit outside, watch the moon, and try to identify individual stars and constellations. Fun stargazing apps available for kids can help instill a love of the night skies and maybe coax out a future scientist or two.
Co-parenting during the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful. Creating an atmosphere of love, safety, and new memories doesn’t require much more than a little imagination, some strategic planning, and the willingness to be part of their world for the hours or days they’re with you.
If you and your ex are struggling with harmonious co-parenting, at Hello Divorce, we have a team of professionals who can help ease parenting disagreements or fine-tune your co-parenting schedule so both you and your ex can get the most from your time with your kids. Schedule a free call to learn more.