By: Barbara Bradley
Let’s be realistic. Many children look forward all year long to Halloween, and Halloween usually means bags full of sugary candy. But Halloween can still be enjoyed by children with diabetes if parents help monitor their snacking. With some planning, Halloween treats do not need to cause havoc with your child’s blood glucose control.
According to Lori Laffel, MD, MPH, chief of Joslin Diabetes Center’s Pediatric and Adolescent Unit and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, “While many think that people with diabetes should avoid all forms of sugar, most people with diabetes can eat foods containing sugar as long as the total amount of carbohydrate for that meal or snack is consistent with what their healthcare team recommends. Proper planning is really the key.”
What If Your Child Uses a Pump?
If your child is on an insulin pump, give the appropriate bolus amount. Halloween-sized candies often match the carbohydrate intake of a regular snack, containing about 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate counting and common sense is the key to control.
A Few More Guidelines
- Do frequent BG checks.
- Adjust insulin up or down as needed to account for extra activity.
- Check your child’s bag of goodies for carb counts.
- Negotiate a candy exchange: Let your child swap candy for a toy, an outing or activity, a special privilege or some money.
- Accompany your children when they go out trick-or-treating.
Take a look at the Web sites for Children With Diabetes at www.childrenwithdiabetes.com (see the parents’ pages) or the Joslin Diabetes Center at www.joslin.org for additional tips and ideas. You might also want to get a copy of “Trick-or-Treat for Diabetes: A Story for Kids Living With Diabetes” by Kim Gosselin. Purchase price is approximately $9 from Fifty50 Pharmacy, www.fifty50pharmacy.com, products link section; or call (800) 746-7505.
Need More Ideas?
- Throw a party with prizes for the most scary, original, pretty, ugly, silly and funny costumes.
- Give Halloween toys or money prizes instead of candy.
- Organize games like bobbing for apples or play musical chairs with Halloween songs.
- Make masks or other crafts such as pumpkin carving or decorating and award prizes to winners.
- Tell ghost stories for school-age children or show scary movies for teens and adults.
- Fruit, nuts and popcorn are good alternatives to candy for party treats.