Avoiding Halloween Nightmares for Diabetic Families

Halloween can be a hair-raising time of year for people living with diabetes, but even more so for parents with diabetic children. No matter what your family’s plans are this year; you can pretty much guarantee that mounds of candy and various other sweets will be omnipresent.  With all the sweet temptations, it can be a challenge to enjoy the spooky fun while strictly moderating the behavior of yourself and not to mention your little trick-or-treaters.

Halloween is nothing to be feared however; you can still enjoy the holiday and some of the sweet perks that it offers… to a reasonable extent. Kids should never have to miss out on regular childhood experiences because of diabetes, trick-or-treat.

Talking to your kids about counting carbs is crucial.  Sit down and set concrete guidelines and limits. For example for every 20 grams of carbohydrates, perhaps, one unit of insulin should be administered. Halloween can actually serve as a fantastic exercise in independency and responsibility for your older kids, letting them take control and count their own carbs (with supervision of course). Counting carbs will also come easy to kids with insulin pumps because an extra dose of insulin can be preemptively dialed in to compensate for the extra sweets.

If you are unable to join your child on their trick-or-treat excursion (or if you kids are a bit older), setting a “no candy until you finish your rounds” rule is not only a standard safety measure but also gives you piece of mind that your little goblin wont be eating everything in their path. Many parents find that offering a small bit of safe candy before trick-or-treating can curb the temptation to snack.  When you get home and have a chance to sort through candy, after removing anything with broken wrappers or that may trigger allergies, bag small portions of candy to act as desserts for the next week (or even longer if you have a pro- trick-or-treater on your hands). This way, you can prevent your child from eating too many sweets before their bedtime BG check and avoid additional injections.

Leighann Calentine, author of the book Kids First, Diabetes Second and the D-Mom Blog offers matching wisdom. “Don’t tell your child with diabetes that he or she can’t eat the mound of candy that she collected on All Hollow’s Eve. Decide on the number of pieces she can eat each day and let her have it with a meal as dessert so that she doesn’t need an extra injection. And have the same rules for all of your family members. If everyone is limited, then your diabetic child won’t feel like she is being singled out.”

Additionally, if you want to avoid sweets all together, you can buy your child’s candy or exchange it for a small gift! In many cases, this is entirely a win-win.  On top of watching carbs, keeping healthy snack alternatives around, and generally practicing moderation, there really is nothing to fear.