10 Tips for your Child with Diabetes to Enjoy Halloween
Halloween is an exciting date for all children. Your child with diabetes can enjoy a healthy and fun Halloween! For many children in the United States and other parts of the world this is an epic date of childhood, full of excitement, costumes, and of course candy! If your child has diabetes, there's no reason why he can't enjoy himself and be a part of the fun. We must remember that your child does not have a disability; he is just like all the others, only his pancreas came out a little loose.
Obviously, Halloween has its challenges. One of them is controlling glucose with so many treats and the other involves the emotional aspect of feeling “a normal child”. This festivity can evolve into something beyond sweets. It all depends on the approach you want to give it. Here are 10 ideas to enjoy Halloween in a healthy and fearless way!
10 Tips to Enjoy Halloween for your Child with Diabetes
- Make a plan for the whole family. Make a plan for the entire family that focuses on activities. Decide if sweets are eaten on Halloween or if they are to be eaten together with snacks or meals? Where are the sweets kept? How many can be eaten per day? etc. The more prepared you are, the better you can anticipate your little one's sugar reactions. In addition, the message is clear: everyone in the house follows the same plan and there are no distinctions between children.
- Look for incentives for your children to donate their sweets. There are many places with candy donations such as dentists or children's hospitals. In adolescent children, money is an excellent incentive; $5 dollars to donate the candy or $0.25 cents for 10 candy. For younger children you can use a tip from a Nutrichic potato: La Bruj de Halloween. Every year the witch comes looking for the candy and when the candy is given to her, she gives a gift.
- Sweets to treat hypoglycemia. Remember that the first ingredient of some of the sweets is the same as glucose tablets "dextrose" or pure sugar. This can also be an alternative to always have a sweet on hand. The best sweets to treat hypoglycemia are: Jolly rancher (3 of them = 15g of carbohydrate), Nerds (1 mini packet = , Gummybears, among others.
- Create themes and activities not related to sweets- Like a haunted house, family costumes and decorations at home. You can also give objects that are not sweets such as: pencils, notebooks and toys. Don't worry about being the "boring" house as other families will thank you too and the sweets will be left over.
- Full bellies before trick-or-treating. Make sure your child eats something before trick-or-treating as walking can cause low blood sugar. The good thing is that she will always have something on hand to raise her glucose ;). They will also be less tempted to eat them since they won't be starving.
- Count carbohydrates correctly and adjust insulin. On Halloween there will be treats and it is not the end of the world. Instead focus your carb counting skills and deliver insulin according to intake. Remember that it is only once a year. To help you count Halloween candy, check out this link from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) by clicking here.
- Choose to give the treats at meals and not between meals or alone. I always try to emphasize this with my Nutrichicos-parents. Giving a bolus of insulin for a meal that includes protein, fat, carbohydrate and a couple of sweets is not the same as giving insulin only for the sweet. The absorption is going to be very different if there is only sweet in the stomach. If possible, have a snack like milk, yogurt, or half a sandwich along with the candy on Halloween. If your child is on injections like this, we avoid another injection if it is given at lunch or snack time.
- Opt for chocolates or candies with peanuts instead of sweets with pure sugar. "De lo malo, poco"- as we would say in Mexico meaning "Of something that's bad, take just a little"(Or nothing if you can) , and this "little" save it better to treat low blood sugar as we mentioned.
- Get them out of sight. Once the candy is inspected, put it all together in a drawer out of sight. That is, don't put them in the center of the table because they will surely disappear. Put them in a simple drawer and without falling into hiding the sweets. Don't create more attention than necessary to this subject.
- Have fun! Instead of restricting sweets which will only create more temptation and dilemmas in the house, go out with your kids this Halloween and let them be kids! Make sure you're counting carbs correctly, giving adequate insulin, doing dress-up activities, non-sweet treats, and checking blood glucose more consistently than usual.
If you liked the useful carbohydrate counting guide from our friends of JDRF you can save your copy by downloading it here: