Halloween and Diabetes: Tips for Handling Sweet Treats

With October upon us, you might be getting your costumes, treats and tricks ready to go. But for children with diabetes, Halloween can be a somewhat stressful day. With some planning ahead, parents can work the candy into their child’s diabetes meal plan or ensure they get enough insulin to cover the carbohydrates in the candy.  Ready below for tips and tricks from Joslin’s Child Life Team on Halloween planning and handling treats with diabetes.

Planning Ahead for Halloween with Diabetes

It’s best to discuss your plans for Halloween with your child with diabetes in advance, so they know what to expect.  You can even involve your child in figuring out what to do with extra candy.  Children are much more likely to be on board with a plan that they have helped create.

What To Do With Extra Candy

Some families save the extra candy and put a piece or two in their child with diabetes’ lunch box each day (if candy is allowed by the school) or use it to treat low blood glucose reactions (be careful not to use candy with a lot of fat, such as chocolate bars, as hypoglycemia treatments).

Other families work out an exchange plan where children with diabetes can trade in their candy for other special items, such as small toys or a special family outing.  You may also be able to put extra candy towards a good cause, such as by donating it to community groups or sending it to troops serving overseas.

After Trick-Or-Treating With Diabetes

Children with diabetes will best be able to handle post-trick-or-treating if they know in advance how much candy they can eat and keep.  If you plan to save candy to be eaten later, they can still trade candy with their friends.  They may want to involve their friends in any exchange plan you’ve created.

Another idea is to prepare Halloween activities that do not revolve around sweets for your child with diabetes.  Some activities can include:

-playing Halloween games, such as “pumpkin, pumpkin, jack-o-lantern” (a variation of “duck, duck, goose”)

-working on arts and crafts projects

-making a special Halloween snack together

Children with diabetes should participate in Halloween activities like any child, but parents might have to put extra thought and some creativity into how to help their child enjoy these special times and still keep their diabetes management on track.

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