It is that time of year again, time to get ready for the Great Pumpkin and all of the fun…and anxiety that Halloween can bring many parents. For those families dealing with diabetes for the first time, the stress of trick or treating with diabetes can be greater than dealing with the challenges of Christmas.
Children are invited to Halloween parties. There are Halloween events at school and there is the inevitable night of trick or treating. What do you do with all of that sugar?? Well here are a few things that have helped some parents get through.
Eat while they walk
Its okay to let your child eat candy while he/she is out trick or treating. In fact, go ahead and encourage it (as long as usual Halloween safety rules are applied of course–Mom/Dad checks candy or it is from the home of a good family friend). All of the walking, running and general excitement will most likely lead to some serious low blood sugars. You can help to avoid this by letting your child eat the bars, rockets (Smarties for my US friends) and other treats. Your child will feel “normal” and it will be a fun way to keep blood glucose levels in range.
Halloween treats are great from treating lows when you have diabetes
Halloween is the perfect time to stock up on low supplies. It offers fabulous 15-gram packs of sugar just perfect to carry in your bag and treat lows. In fact, even if your child doesn’t take part in Halloween events, you may want to head to the grocery store during this time to grab a few bags of low treats and save a few dollars! They tend to be a lot cheaper than buying glucose tablets from the grocery store.
Make Halloween treats part of a meal
If you like to stick to a set meal plan, you can still add in some of your child’s Halloween treats. A bag of chips is equivalent to a bread exchange. A snack-sized chocolate bar is the equivalent of a fruit exchange. For a treat, allow your child to have one of their Halloween items as part of a meal or snack.
Buy the candy back
Some families offer their children cash for their candy. The children can then take the money that they earned collecting candy to purchase a book, game or favourite toy. Mom and Dad can take the candy to work or save it to enjoy during some downtime when the kids are in bed!
The Great Pumpkin
Have the Great Pumpkin or Halloween witch come to visit. Much like buying the candy, parents will exchange the candy while the child sleeps. In place of their loot, the child will receive a movie pass, book or other treats that don’t involve food.
Yet another way for our children to learn care and compassion is to take their candy to a local hospital or hostel. Have them share their candy with children who are unable to go out for Halloween.
Halloween is often a fun time for children. Remember that children with diabetes are children first. Use some of the tips above to ensure that your child has a fun and memorable Halloween or let us know what works for you in the comments!