Between trick-or-treating, parties, and festivals, Halloween can one big sugar rush, but it doesn’t have to be. Your child with diabetes can enjoy Halloween treats in moderation, but keep in mind there’s more to October 31 than sweets. Here are 9 tips for celebrating the spooky holiday without sending glucose levels soaring.
1. Plan Ahead
Sit down with your child and discuss your Halloween plans in advance so they know what to expect. Create some boundaries and general rules, and involve them in the decision making throughout the festivities. They’ll be more likely to be on board with a plan they helped create. Find out what’s most important to them about the day, and try to work together to meet in the middle so diabetes management can remain a priority.
2. Prepare Activities That Don’t Involve Food
Take the focus off of candy by encouraging arts and crafts projects, pumpkin carving/painting contests, watching a Halloween movie, visiting a haunted house, or going on a hayride. This is a great way to create memories that don’t involve food.
3. Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. You can join by handing out non-food treats, such as bookmarks, stickers and glow sticks for trick-or-treaters, and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home, along with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats available. This is a great option not just for food allergy families, but for anyone who wants to be inclusive of all kids and celebrate the holiday without too many sweets.
4. Avoid Snacking on Candy Until Home
Planning to go trick-or-treating? Make sure your child eats smart earlier in the day so they can start off the evening with normal blood sugar. Then, make a pact with your child to avoid snacking until you’re both home from trick-or-treating. Once you’ve returned home, your child can dose the correct amount of insulin to cover the carbs in the candy he/she is about to eat.
Find carb counts for popular Halloween candy here.
5. Use Candy to Treat a Low
D-Mom Extraordinaire, Meri Schuhmacher, recommends keeping non-chocolate candy that can be used to treat future lows, like starburst and skittles, and divide them up into servings of 15 grams of carbohydrates and bag them individually. Store the bags of candy in easy to reach places (like your child’s backpack, your bag or car). According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), chocolate and other higher-fat treats do not work well for treating lows so those can be set aside for purposes other than treating a low.
6. Limit Pieces of Candy Per Day
Teaching moderation is important, and it’s not good for anyone to eat too much candy in a day. Set a rule as to how many pieces of candy your child can eat a day, as long as their blood glucose isn’t high, and then stick to it. Apply this rule to everyone in the house, not just the child with diabetes.
7. Select Favorite Candy; Rid the Rest
Have your child pick their favorite pieces of candy, and get rid of the rest. Your child can enjoy a few pieces of candy throughout the week, and you can use it as an opportunity to show them how to cover their carbohydrates with insulin. Again, apply this tip to all children in the house so the child with diabetes isn’t singled out.
8. Donate Extra Candy
You can donate the extra candy to a variety of different community groups, a local children’s hospital, or troops overseas through the Halloween Candy Buy-Back program. The program allows kids to turn in their candy to participating dentists’ offices throughout the country in exchange for a goody bag or other prize. These are also great ways to get your child excited about giving back.
9. Make a Trade
Allow your children to trade pieces of their candy for something else not food related, such as a movie ticket, trip to the zoo, new toy, money, or a gift card. This can help redefine the word “treat.”
Tags: American Diabetes Association
, carb counting
, children with diabetes