Childhood Diabetes: The Halloween Candy Killer

Halloween is right around the corner and it is not necessarily the best food holiday for a type 1 diabetic child. Sugar in itself is not bad but the overindulgence of candy is. At no other time of year can a person knock on a door and fill a pillowcase full of candy. I am not so sure this is how most diabetic families want their child to eat – a buffet of sweets!

I know the Type 1 Kids are allowed a “normal” eating habit. But somehow overindulging on candy seems wrong in so many ways. I think this is true for all children. Yet Halloween can be fun in so many memorable ways. Going around from house to house with friends and dressing up in fun or scary costumes will last a lifetime. Quincy was diagnosed young enough that I began to focus on all the fun, fabulous aspects of Halloween and not necessarily the candy. We always had the fun of Halloween, whether it be a party, trick or treating, or decorating the house.

In my opinion our best years occurred when we made Quincy’s costumes, decorated around the house, had a pumpkin carving contest, or were growing enormous pumpkins. Some of the fun has been the costumes. Our favorite costume year was Harry Potter. (Or at least that was mine.) I think he would say his politician year was his favorite. There was the year of the orange Lego and the computer monitor (I love empty boxes – they make so many things!). We still trick or treated and brought the treasure trove of candy home. After the candy inspection, I made both kids choose 5 pieces they really loved and wanted to eat (usually it included the one or two full-sized bars we would have!) and we saved them for a treat with a meal. Then I went through the candy and kept pixie sticks, Smarties and the like for low blood sugars. The rest of the candy never went to waste. We would take it into work or ship it off to the military oversees while they were at war. For us this has taken the emphasis off of candy at Halloween and focused on all of the other fabulous aspects of Halloween.

So far this has worked in our house. Now that Quincy is a teenager, he is more interested in handing out the candy and seeing what the little kids are dressed like and he is a numbers guy…so keeping track of how many Halloween kids we have is his top priority! It has been fun seeing how he is growing into a man with control over how he handles himself. Dealing with Halloween in this way has helped him grow and become accountable with his diabetes.

I do know other families do the candy holiday differently than we have. And my take on it is not for everyone. I love that we all have options on how we can handle candy at Halloween with our type 1 children. So how do you handle Halloween as a type 1 family? Do you still get dressed up and make it fun? Do you allow the treasures of candy to linger around the house? I know everyone participates in Halloween differently. If the candy stash is the treat you let your kids have visit the carbohydrate count at JDRF website http://neny.jdrf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2013/09/candy-carb-counts.pdf

Have a Happy Halloween!

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