Halloween and fall festivals are fun fall events. Though things can be scary, they can be a fun scary (or hopefully so for young children!) But for parents of children with diabetes, it is a real scare since Halloween and fall festivals usually involve trick-or-treating and candy raises blood sugar. What do parents do about all the candy that is such a focus for Halloween? Stressing the importance of having your child tell you when candy is eaten is a must so a dose of insulin can be given with the candy if needed.
Interestingly, of all the holidays, Halloween is when my children have a low blood sugar. I guess it is a combination of extra exercise with walking around the neighborhood, plus my over-estimating the carbs in the candy.
Here are some tips on handling Halloween or Fall Festivals:
- Decide what you will do with the candy. Talk to your healthcare team and have a plan. Here’s some possible options:
- Decide to wait until you get home to eat a designated amount of candy that you dose for, if needed.
- Allow a few pieces while walking around and a few at home. (Also keep in mind your child may drop low from the walking and need to eat some to raise blood sugar.)
- Give a set amount when you get home and give a dose of insulin if needed . Ask your healthcare team if you are not sure how to do this.
- After deciding on above, you can put the candy up where it needs to be asked for so proper dosing can be done. I would recommend trying to not say the words “cheating”, “forbidden”, “bad”, or negative words when talking about the candy. Try and relate the fact that candy isn’t healthy for anyone but their body needs insulin if they eat it and that’s why they have to ask.Candy in moderation is for everyone. You don’t want for your child to sneak around.
- Some families choose to eat a set amount of candy then give the candy to a place that takes donated candy.
- Eat a set amount the night of Halloween, then dole out one in a lunchbox, or one or two pieces at a specific time each day.
- Substitute the candy for some fun toys or other non-candy goody.
- Substitute the candy for an adventure like a movie, jump bouncy place, trip to the park, or something else your child loves to do.
- Instead of giving out candy at your house, choose other items, such as small baggies of pretzels, chips, granola bars, fruit, juice box, or non-candy items like pencils, erasers, stickers, tattoos, bouncy balls or other fun items.
- Have a list of carb counts for common candies. Here’s a great one from the American Diabetes Association. Common Candy Carb Counts.
- Know how much insulin your child needs for the candy. Need help with carb counting or carb ratios? Click on the word for more info.
- If your child is on a set amount of carbs with a set amount of insulin, substitute the candy for another carb source.
- Keep the handy small bags of skittles, smarties, or other bags of 15 gram carbs for treating low blood sugars.
- Be prepared to check your child’s blood sugar more often if needed or wear a continuous glucose monitor.
Don’t forget to enjoy some fall scents to get you in the mood. I love Bath and Body Works candles because the scent really infuses into the room with just a little burning. I lit this one earlier today and after I blew it out, I could still smell the yummy scent 5 hours later!