Consult a Healthcare Provider
For parents and caregivers of children with diabetes, seeking guidance from clinicians before the Halloween festivities begin is integral to preventing adverse events. Healthcare providers can discuss how to adjust medications or insulin to cover extra carbohydrate consumption or address any other health issues unique to the patient.
Involve the Patient
When discussing adjustment of medications or the need to turn down extra candy, clinicians, parents, and caregivers should seek the patient’s input, according to information provided on the Joslin Diabetes Center’s website. A child may be more likely to follow the plan if he or she helped create it.
The tradition of trick-or-treating puts sweets in the spotlight during Halloween, but patients with diabetes will likely need to limit candy intake in order to maintain control of their blood sugar. For children, knowing early on how much candy they can eat and keep will help prevent disappointment down the road.
Parents and caregivers of children with diabetes may want to consult with teachers or adults who are hosting parties or events for the holiday about their child’s needs. If they will not be in attendance, they should provide emergency contact information or enlist the help of an adult who knows how to care for a child with diabetes.
Offer to Help
By hosting a party or volunteering to help, parents and caregivers may be able to contribute healthier snack options that are better suited for their child with diabetes. Also, coming up with games or activities, like pumpkin carving, may draw the focus away from candy or other foods rich in carbohydrates.
Before everyone starts doling out sweets, parents and caregivers can research the amount of carbohydrates in popular candies at the American Diabetes Association’s website.
After researching, parents and caregivers can teach their children about which treats are best and how much they can consume. Providing the child with a carbohydrate counting guide to bring to parties may also be beneficial. Finally, teaching them to ask about the contents of unfamiliar foods can prevent unwanted fluctuations in blood sugar.
Preparing a bag filled with small toys or special items may make it easier for children to part with some of their extra candy after trick-or-treating.
Increase Blood Glucose Checks
As with any holiday season, patients with diabetes should be checking their blood glucose levels more often than they normally would, according to information provided by the American Diabetes Association. The various parties and events can throw patients off schedule by eating at different times and consuming unfamiliar foods.
How to Handle Extra Candy
During Halloween, a little extra candy may be lying around the house. Saving these sweets for later or encouraging children to “trade them in” for prizes or rewards may help them to consume less.
For many people, Halloween is a time to dress up and have fun while indulging in some sweets and treats. For patients with diabetes, though, the holiday can also cause anxiety. Parents, teachers, and caregivers of children with diabetes may be particularly worried about managing the disease without spoiling the fun and excitement of parties, classroom activities, and trick-or-treating.
Fortunately, diabetes need not prevent children and adults from enjoying their Halloween. With a few simple steps and careful planning, patients, parents, and caregivers can enjoy a safe and healthy holiday.
1. Food & Fun. American Diabetes Association website. www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/everyday-life/food-fun.html. Updated September 18, 2014. Accessed October 28, 2015.
2. Halloween and Diabetes: Tips for Handling Treats. Joslin Diabetes Center website. www.joslin.org/info/halloween_and_diabetes_tips_for_handling_treats.html. Accessed October 28, 2015.