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Can my child eat candy on Halloween with Type 1 Diabetes?
Short answer, YES!!!
A child with Diabetes, like any other non-type 1 diabetic child, CAN eat candy on Halloween! You just need to be more prepared into HOW you are going to manage his/her Diabetes during this Holiday.
So you must be thinking, ok, Maria, you are crazy!? How can I do this when my child has this condition, but can still eat Halloween treats on this Holiday?
My motto is to plan, plan, and plan some more! Always think of the child first, and then their Diabetes.
Tips on how to celebrate Halloween with your child and Type 1 Diabetes
1. Plan Ahead
Sit down with your child and discuss boundaries and general rules. Tell him/her how much candy can he/she eat. Be very clear, especially if it’s a younger child, that if you give instruction on no more candy, its no more candy, no ifs, or buts about it.
2. Prepare Activities that do not Involve Candy
On Halloween, it does not always need to be about candy and sweets. There are other Halloween related activities like:
- pumpkin carving
- Halloween custom contests
- watching a Halloween movie
- visiting Haunted Houses
- going on Hayrides
- Halloween Crafts
- telling Halloween stories
- Halloween hide and seek
- scavenger hunt
- go to the movies
- take a trip to the zoo
- get a new toy, video game or book
- give money
- give gift card
3. Avoid Snacking
Avoid snacking on candy until you get home. Make sure your child is at his/her baseline blood glucose level or at least a near-normal his/her baseline blood glucose levels before consuming candy. Make a pact with your child (see number one) to not eat candy until you are home. Find carb counts for popular Halloween candy here.
4. Use Candy To Treat A Low
If you are trick-or-treating, start scanning some of the candy that your child is receiving, to treat any lows, while walking from home to home.
When done Trick-or-Treating, divide all 15g carbs candy and bag them individually. These are the perfect low snack and a quick fix for your child’s lows.
If by any chance, there are some sugar-free candy, you can give it to him/her at the moment, since these usually do not spike their blood sugar levels.
5. Limit the Amount of Candy
Moderation is key.
If your child is young, now is one of the best times to teach them that candy is a snack, not a meal. I suggest giving your child 1-2 candies a day or every other day as a treat.
If there are some sugar-free candy, you can give it to them and consider it as a free snack, since these usually do not spike blood sugar levels.
If your child is a teenager, have a talk with him/her about many candies he/she can have per day or every other day.
6. Selecting Favorite Candy
Sit with your child to select their favoritees candies, and get rid of the rest. The temptation of having too much candy in your home can be a lot. Therefore, I highly suggest, and we do this on our home, have your child pick their favorite candies, and then get rid of the rest.
Do not throw them in the trash, that is not what I mean. Donate them, or use them on some yummy recipes.
This is not diabetes related, but if your child suffers from a food allergy, remember to also check for the ones that he/she can eat.
7. Donate Extra Candy
As above, the temptation of having too much candy in your home can cause stress and a tantrum that you do not want. So, as soon as your child and/or teenager pick their favorite candies, donate the leftovers. Take them to a shelter, to your office, neighbors.
The thing here is to take them OUT of your home.
8. Look for Healthier Alternatives
Don’t want the sugar overload? Try some healthier alternatives. Have your child drink a lot of water to balance out the high sugar on candies.
Also, have some yummy healthy recipes like:
- Preparing a fruit pizza with strawberries and blueberries or other low sugary fruits
- Preparing a yummy fresh fruit salad with strawberries, apples and/or pears
- Dipping strawberries or other favorite fruits in dark chocolate [dark chocolate has low sugar]
9. Have a School Party Policy
Kids with diabetes, need to be treated as normal/non-type 1 child.
Be sure to have a chat with your child’s teacher, and let the teacher know that your child can have 1-2 pieces of candy, with your consult first! You and your child’s teacher need to be on the same page, establish these guidelines on your child’s 504 Plan.
10. Dinner Before Trick-or-Treating
Do you love to have a meal plan every day? This weekly structure of meal planning can come really handy on Halloween night.
Have your child eat a hearty protein-loaded dinner before trick-or-treating on Halloween. This can help in limiting your child from eating too much candy.
As a former trick or treater myself, I know I went crazy this night! Who wouldn’t right?
11. Create a New Halloween Tradition
If an overload of sugar stresses you out, you can start your own Halloween tradition.
Go out to the mall, have a family dressed up Halloween dinner, go out on hayrides, Haunted Houses, etc.
Be creative! Make this Holiday special, your child will have fond memories of them.
Here are some of the most common carbs for common Halloween treats. There are free to download.
- Carb Counts for Halloween Candy by Diabetes Forecast
- Candy and Carbs List by Children with Diabetes
- Enjoying Halloween When You Have Diabetes by the Diabetes Forecast
If you want a bit more information about carb counting, take a look into this article by the American Diabetes Association.