I love the month of October. It is, without a doubt, my favorite month of the year. Living in the southeastern part of the country where summer can be a sweat-inducing inferno lasting from Memorial Day until late September, the calendar turning to the month of pumpkins and turning leaves signals a change in disposition as well as weather. There is nothing more enjoyable than a lazy Saturday on the couch watching football under a blanket, a nice walk outside in the cool temperatures where your breaths fill the sky, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes and chili and all those comfort foods that taste better with cooler weather.
And then there’s Halloween.
The punctuation mark on the end of October, a cornucopia of costumes and candy as children run excitedly from one house to another exclaiming “Trick or Treat!” to get yet another onslaught of chocolate bars and packaged sweetness. For a diabetic, it’s like walking through a minefield for both children and parents. If your child is diabetic, you want them to enjoy the exhilaration of the pursuit after candy without all the indulgence. For a parent who is diabetic, you have to be careful not to allow the proximity of the sweet goodness influence you into sugar overload.
So how do you handle the Halloween dilemma in these cases?
If your child is diabetic, allow them to be normal. Don’t isolate them by making them feel like they can’t participate and eat candy. The fact is, it’s a natural part of life and they have to learn to make smart decisions about the quality and quantity of what they eat. Instead, let them accumulate as “fun” as they can on Halloween night in their trick or treat bags, then bring it home and let them choose what they want. If your kids are like mine, getting the candy is more fun than actually eating it; if you let them pick out what they want and then take the remaining amount to work, they win by picking their favorites and you remove the excess so no one will be tempted.
If you’re a parent who is diabetic, repeat what I previously mentioned and allow yourself to pick a few pieces yourself, and then get it out of the house. My experience has been to take the candy that is left over after everyone has made their selections, put it in a shopping bag, and take it to work. Sometimes I’ve used it there as an emergency glucose source, keeping some candy bars in my desk, but mostly I’ve given it away by placing it in the work cafeteria. If no luck there, just throw it away.
For me and my daughters, the best way to keep the sugar temptation at bay is to hide it from plain sight. We usually place it in a bowl and put it in the pantry. It’s amazing how, when it is out of view, you really do forget about it. That prevents grazing throughout the day. If you do give in and eat a little much, I’ve always tried to incorporate a light workout, maybe a brisk walk in the neighborhood, to burn off the extra glucose. Choose what works best for you.