Halloween and Diabetes: Focus on the Fun and Not the Candy
Halloween can be scary for children. It is the time of year when all the goblins, ghosts, vampires, zombies, and witches come out to say boo. But for children with Type 1 Diabetes it can be even scarier. It is scary for them because they have to deal with the fear of not being able to have fun trick or treating and eating candy with friends. It is the one time of year where kids with diabetes are more scared of not being included than of nightmares.
Preparing for Halloween takes a whole month, you need to find or create a costume, carve pumpkins, and decorate your home. As a parent, there is a lot of work put into preparing for Halloween. But for children all the preparation goes into hauling in bags of candy.
For children, Halloween is all about the candy. It is the one day a year that they can get bags and bags of candy, instead of the dollar you usually give them to spend at the local convenience store. As much as some parents might have tried, we can’t take candy out of the Halloween equation.
But what about the children with diabetes who want to trick-or-treat without increasing their blood glucose levels?
You don’t want to prevent your diabetic child from having regular childhood experiences. But you also don’t want them to get sick from all the candy. What you can do instead is provide healthier alternatives or moderations to your child’s candy consumption. High glucose is a concern, but you can create a plan to manage their meals. Make sure you give them the correct amount of insulin for the carbs in the candy. This way your child with diabetes can still enjoy some of the treats they picked up from your neighbours.
Planning Ahead for Halloween and Diabetes
Children with diabetes can eat candy on Halloween just like any child. They need to eat their candy in moderation instead. You as a parent need to plan and balance the candy into your child’s diabetic meals. Or ensure they get enough insulin to cover the carbs in the candy.
Discuss your Halloween plans with your diabetic child in advance. This way there are no surprises and your child can start thinking about what to do with their extra candy. If you completely restrict your kid’s Halloween candy than they could protest. This then increases the chances that they will sneak it instead without you knowing. Eating Halloween candy is not life threatening for your diabetic child, but restricting it could be.
Talk to your child and ask them to pick out their favourite Halloween candies. Then change your child’s lunch and dinner meals so that they can enjoy the candy too. Make sure they eat the candy at supervised times and that you keep inventory. Talk to your child’s teacher about your child’s diabetic Halloween diet. Make sure the teacher knows that your child can’t have any Halloween candy from other students unless it has been calculated into their meal.
To make sure your child doesn’t get left out at school incorporate a piece of candy into their lunch bag. If you have time, bake the class sugar-free Halloween themed snacks that are safe for your child. This way your child will not feel left out at school.
Focus on Fun Aspects of Halloween
Celebrating Halloween is not limited to trick or treating and eating candy. It is also about finding a costume and having fun with friends. Host a Halloween party for your diabetic child and offer small toys such as rubber insects and skeletons or fake vampire teeth. During the party, you can bake popcorn balls and sugar-free treats. You can also plan games, such as bobbing for apples. By placing the focus on fun activities and not food, the holiday will be more memorable for everyone.
Here are our Top 5 Games to Play on Halloween
- Pumpkin Stomp by created and explained over at Delia Creates
- Sticky Spider Web Activity by Hands on as we Grow
- Halloween Charades by Buggy and Buddy
- Halloween Tic-Tac-Toe Rock Craft Tutorial by The Bright Side of Reality
- Ghost Matching Game by Little Family Fun
Over to you, do you have any games or ideas you keep Halloween a candy free holiday?