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Don’t Let Halloween Candy Frighten You

halloweenDon’t let Halloween frighten you after a diabetes diagnosis. When my son Alexander was first diagnosed I assumed he would be unable to participate in special, sugar-filled events like Halloween. I quickly learned he can eat whatever we decide is acceptable, including candy, as long as we count the carbs and adjust his insulin.

Oddly, Halloween brings with it a special treat for people with type 1 diabetes. All those tiny pre-packaged treats − they make perfect low blood sugar treatments. As soon as I see the mini-Halloween treats in the stores I stock up because these low treatments are easy to pack and Alexander’s low blood sugars respond more quickly to candy than juice.

As a mom of a child with type 1 diabetes, do I love the idea of the sugar binge of Halloween? No. But then again I also cringe at all that junk food for my child who doesn’t have diabetes. Just as every family will choose how they will partake, we have developed a system that works for us. In our house my children bring the treats home. There’s no eating while trick or treating because my son has a peanut allergy. Once the stash is sorted for safety, we separate the best candies for low treatments and let the kids pick a pile of treats to eat, trying to balance my son’s candy consumption with chips and chocolate that have a more predictable effect on his blood sugar. And of course it means extra blood sugar checks throughout the night.

Here’s a handy list of carbohydrate counts for common treats.

Halloween, like any other special event requires extra planning when living with type 1diabetes. But don’t let the challenge get you down. As I suggest in my book, Parenting Joyfully When Your Child Has Diabetes, use these special events as a learning opportunity and work with your child in an age-appropriate way to find a way to celebrate that makes everyone happy and safe.

How do you celebrate Halloween when living with type 1 diabetes? I’d love to hear your approach.

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