Halloween, the time when ghouls, goblins and witches roam the street. But it can also be the time that high blood sugars for kids with diabetes run free without the proper planning. It is one holiday that many parents of kids with diabetes worry about. Not just because of your typical worries of the night such as their safety when trick or treating, no they have additional worries added like what this will do to their blood sugar control. If this is your first Halloween as a parent to a child with diabetes, it can seem overwhelming and you may want to just skip the holiday all together. But, it’s important to make sure your kids still feel like normal, happy kids and participating in the tradition of trick or treating is usually one of those things.
Kids that have diabetes can indulge and enjoy the Halloween holiday just like every other kid. But it orders to make it a successful adventure and enjoyable day, parents should develop a plan ahead of time to help include the candy they get while trick or treating into their daily meal plan to ensure they get just the right amount of insulin to cover the carbs in the candy they consume.
Here’s how you can develop a sure fire and successful diabetes and Halloween game plan for your kids.
Planning for Halloween
You will want to talk with your child first to discuss with them what Halloween will consist of so they know what is going to take place in advance. You can even enlist their help to figure out what you can do with the extra candy they will have. They love to be a part of the planning process, it’s also a great way to encourage them to manage their diabetes even during holiday’s. Through experience I’ve had issues with my son sneaking extra candy in the past because he wanted to overindulge just like all his friends do on the holiday. But including him in the planning has helped tremendously as he got older to keep the urge to sneak at bay.
Trick or Treating
Trick or treating is one of the most exciting things about Halloween for children of all ages. Just because a child has a chronic illness like diabetes, doesn’t mean they should have to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else have fun. One important thing to remember about trick or treating is that it usually involves a lot of walking which can mean the added activity and exercise can drop their blood sugar. Providing them with an extra snack with protein is a great way to deter any lows that may occur from the added exercise. If they are on an insulin pump, setting a temporary decrease in their basal like you do with all other activities can also help.
Extra Candy: What Should You Do with it?
We all know some candies make an excellent low treatment option. So what we usually do is search through the candy to find things like skittles and smarties, and other candies that work well for low treatments and put them aside to have as an emergency stash.
Candy is a great reward tool as well, especially for younger children. Keeping your extra candy stash put away and used as a reward for good behaviors and other things may also be an idea you can use for the extra candy your children collect.
Incorporating into Meal Time
The idea of incorporating the candy into meal time for your child is a great one. This allows them to still indulge in the sweet treat of candy, while still getting additional nutrients with their meals. Knowing the carb count for the candy servings will help you to much easier include the candy into meal time. If the carb total is not on the candy package, the majority of candy companies include nutritional information on their website to help you with finding out the totals.
One thing to watch out for with trick or treating and the additional of candy treats is ‘grazing’. All kids love to graze, but unfortunately for kids with diabetes it can mean a world of a mess on their blood sugar levels. Grazing tends to create a much higher post meal number for a longer period of time, because it’s like they are eating non-stop without the break in between. This is why including a few pieces into a meal or snack can allow you to give the proper bolus of insulin to ensure to cover for the candy.
There are many different things you can do for your child on Halloween to make it an enjoyable holiday. Hosting a candy free party can be another idea to help your child feel normal and free to choose whatever they’d like. By including ‘carb free’ snacks, you can allow them to feel like one of the kids by enjoying a party without additional insulin. Treats like coloring books, playdough, crayons and other things can keep the kids busy and having a great time instead of worrying about the additional treats they may be missing out on.