As Halloween approaches every year, I love to share my favorite "How I Met My Husband" story from one of my formerly single clients. As a professional Dating Coach, I collect how-I-met stories like baseball cards, and this is one of my favorites -- not just because of the unusual venue (a dark neighborhood sidewalk), but because it proves that love can spark when you least expect it: trick or treating with your kids. Halloween isn't just for kids anymore. It's an ideal holiday for single parents to meet a potential mate. This is the story in a nutshell: my former client (a single mom by night and lawyer by day) turned pumpkins into romance when she met her future husband on Halloween night while trick or treating with her twin daughters 50 feet from her doorstep. She was dressed as Marilyn Monroe; he was Clark Kent. It happened to her, and here's how it can happen for you.
On October 31st (and the weekend prior), you can be with your kids and improve your love life -- call it "multi-tasking." Halloween is the night that brings out the kid in all of us, and when you're a single parent, you can take that literally (bring your kid outside!) as well as figuratively (have some fun!).
The problem is that most single parents don't view Halloween as a dating opportunity. They are focused on their kids: what costume will little Suzy wear? Should I buy twizzlers or tootsie rolls for little Billy's class treat bags? Instead, I want you to see Halloween through new lenses.
Consider these 4 ideas:
1. Seek out halloween festivities: The weekend before Halloween is a festive time everywhere: in schools, offices, museums, social groups. Actively attend several Halloween celebrations, whether you accept an invitation to a party, venture out to a "Haunted House" at your local Children's Museum, explore the local pumpkin patch, or volunteer to help with your child's classroom Halloween parade. These are all opportunities where you should have your "social antennae" up, even though you're with your kids. Striking up a conversation with other single parents in these child-focused environments is easy because simply talking about your kids is a great way to connect. Getting out and circulating during Halloween weekend is key because people are in an upbeat mood -- both singles who are venturing out, and married couples who could play matchmaker for you.
2. Create your own event: If your mailbox isn't brimming with invitations to fun Halloween events this season, create your own. Perhaps you could host an afternoon pumpkin carving contest in your kitchen for parents and kids of all ages (If your kids are too young to use a knife, host a Halloween Cookie Decorating Contest instead). Naturally you'll invite any opposite gender single-parents you know, as well as same-gender single parents and married parents. The idea is twofold: to gather lots of people so that you are "top of mind" for anyone who might fix you up on a blind date, and to get better acquainted with other single parents who can become new social buddies.
3. Organize group trick or treating: It can seem lonely to trick or treat with just you and your children. It's more fun in groups, and as a single parent, that's the perfect excuse to call up another single parent (or several) and ask, "Would you and your children like to trick or treat in our neighborhood with us Monday night?" Take this opportunity to call that cute single dad you saw at your child's school last month: trick or treating is your built-in excuse to forge a connection without the awkwardness of asking him out to dinner.
4. Wear a fabulous costume: Most adults don't even bother with their own costume, but if they do, they usually try to be "scary" (yet goblins and witches aren't exactly turn-ons!) or maybe in haste, they piece together something haggard from the back of their closet. Not this year. The "trick" to maximizing this holiday is to find something that looks really good on you and sparks conversation with someone new. For women, perhaps try a sleek black cat suit if you've got the body for it, or consider the Sleeping Beauty costume which is always flattering and charming. Be sure not to dress overly sexy, though, or you'll look like the neighborhood floozy! Men can try on the Scruffy Pirate look (a pirate bandana is also ideal for hiding bald heads) or the Wall Street Tycoon look with a sharp business suit and slicked-back hair. If you can't make the costume at home, go rent it at a shop: it's worth every penny to look alluring because you never know who you'll meet that night!
Happy Halloween, and I wish you lots of "treats."
Rachel Greenwald is the New York Times Bestselling author of "Have Him at Hello" and Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School. She is also a professional Dating Coach and Matchmaker. She has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Nightline and The Early Show. Rachel has been featured in dozens of magazines, including O: The Oprah Magazine, People and Fortune. If you would like to ask Rachel a question, please visit her website at: www.HaveHimAtHello.com.