Tricks for Treating Your Child with Diabetes on Halloween

Posted by leighann on Tue, 10/30/2012 - 12:42 in
A treat basket with fun toys and trinkets is a great alternative to passing out candy on Halloween.

Halloween is probably our family's favorite holiday. We spend the entire month of October going to various activities, including the pumpkin patch, spooked out zoo, parties, and of course, trick-or-treating. When our daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young child, we wondered how it would affect our enjoyment of the holiday. I'm sure the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Halloween is a huge bag full of candy! I assure you that your child can still enjoy Halloween, especially if you make the fun the focus and not the candy.

I was recently reflecting on one of our first Halloweens with diabetes; it was just before we started on the Omnipod insulin pump. It made me a little upset that my daughter couldn't have hot chocolate at a late-night festivity, because it would have meant another injection. At another party, she took home the cupcake and other treats to have the next day at a mealtime while her classmates gorged themselves carefree. I have to say that the Omnipod insulin pump has given her so much more freedom, because she can eat at any time without that extra injection.

Enjoying Halloween with Diabetes

Whether your child is on multiple daily injections or an insulin pump, here are a few suggestions for helping them enjoy the holiday with diabetes:

  • Volunteer at the school party so that you can give insulin for cupcakes and other treats.
  • Hand out small trinkets, such as bouncy eyeballs, rubber bats, pencils and Play-Doh®, instead of candy. Other parents appreciate it and it might just catch on.
  • Allow your child to eat a couple of pieces of candy after trick-or-treating.
  • Let your child pick out a dozen or so of their favorite candies to eat with meals over the next week and donate the rest.
  • Have the same rules for all of your kids so that the one with diabetes doesn't feel like he or she is being treated differently.
  • Pull out high-sugar items, such as Smarties® and Skittles®, to use for treating low blood sugars.

Tips for Safe Trick-or-Treating

  • Make sure you carry a blood glucose meter and low blood sugar treatments when you haunt the neighborhood.
  • Older children who are not accompanied by a parent should use the buddy system and carry a cell phone.
  • Your children will be doing a lot of walking. It's a good idea to check your child’s blood sugar before you set out and during the course of the night.
  • You can always reach into the bag and grab a sugary candy to treat a low. One roll of Smarties® is 6 grams of carbs.
  • And of course make sure they follow general safety tips, such as crossing streets with a grown up, wearing bright clothing or bringing a flashlight to make them visible to drivers, never going inside homes and always staying with a buddy or adult.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!