Halloween is the beginning of what many see as the season of indulgence. Candy and costumes lead to turkey and trimmings, to presents and feasts, to binge drinking and late nights. How is a diabetic, or anyone else, supposed to navigate this wonderful, at times intimidating, celebratory season of family and friends?
When I was a child, I had a pillowcase full of candy after Halloween. Each year, I strived to get to more houses than the last, mounding the piles of sweetness higher and higher. The last year I went, I was fourteen and brought my six year old brother out. It took us hours to get through the neighborhood, and we pulled a wagon home with our loot. My mother used to teach us that three pieces of candy per day was more than enough. Even with her liberal restriction, it would take until the following summer to get through the pile.
My children are still very young, but we do take them out dressed up on Halloween. Honestly, they play dress up nearly every day. But, they get a thrill out of going with us and their cousins, house to house, greeting the neighbors. When their legs are tired and it nears bedtime, we carry them home with their bushels of candy. They love the experience and as a family, we do too. We tuck them into bed and they dream of what life would be if we were all fairies and ladybugs.
I’m trying to teach my children that candy is a delicacy. Eat too much of it and you’ll feel tired and sick. Eat it once in a while, and the flavor bursts on your tongue like fireworks. I may have skirted the candy issue thus far, because they are still young and don’t quite know what candy is; they just like the brightly colored wrappers. I limit them to a few pieces over the course of the weeks that follow Halloween. I let them enjoy it, but I try not to let the sugar rush consume them.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s okay to indulge once in a while, so long as it’s in moderation. Indulge, to me, is one piece every few days or less. We still have candy in the pantry, even after my husband brought a good portion of it to work following the holiday last year.
I don’t feel deprived. Nowadays, I cook so much at home that when I eat something that is store bought, I can taste the chemicals and don’t necessarily like the flavor anymore. Halloween, for me, is more about being silly and joining in a masquerade instead of about the pounds of candy that we bring home.
This year, my three year old daughter asked to be a ballerina and my almost-two year old daughter wants to be a dinosaur. I made the costumes and the children are beyond excited to take part in the festivities, asking day after day these past weeks if Halloween is tomorrow. “No, baby,” I say. “But, soon.”
No matter if we have diabetes to keep us in check or to battle against, or if we have no health issues to concern us, no one should indulge to the point of being irresponsible with their health. A little is good, too much is bad. Just like every other day.
We use Halloween as a family event to choose who we want to be, if just for one evening. I’m thinking about being a Super Hero this year because that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Let the festivities begin.
Katherine Marple was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14 in 1998. She is the mother of two small children, has battled insulin resistance, Pre Eclampsia, and pump failures, leading to insulin therapy via MDI using Levemir, Apidra & Symlin, sometimes Metformin & CGM. She is the author of two diabetes related novels: “Wretched (this is my sorry)” and “Deathly Sweet.” She can be found at www.KatherineMarple.com andwww.facebook.com/