Halloween is meant to be a little scary. But for parents of kids with diabetes or kids with allergies, it's scary for a whole other reason.
One of the best parts of Halloween, according to my son, is the candy. As a kid, I remember going around my neighborhood with a pillowcase, trying to get as much candy as I possibly could. Once we got home, we would pour out our candy to organize, count and trade it. Of course we had to eat some, too!
With the promise of lots of candy comes the promise of lots of temptation. So how can we help our kiddos stay safe while enjoying the holiday?
For kids with diabetes, we have to balance the activity, the candy and the insulin to make sure we have a safe evening. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has developed a great guide to a
safe and fun Halloween for kids with diabetes. Some things to keep in mind is that the cold weather and activity of trick-or-treating could actually cause a low blood sugar. So, carry some extra candy (not the high-fat, chocolate kind) to treat any lows that happen or use it as an opportunity to have some of the candy just collected. We always want to prevent a low, so this may be a good time to put that pump in Activity Mode, set a temp basal or give a little less insulin with the meal before going out*. If that blood sugar ends up high from too much candy and not enough insulin, we can always give more insulin to match the blood sugar.
Too much high fructose corn syrup has been linked to the development of fatty liver which contributes to insulin resistance.
Now really, we all want to be careful with the temptation to eat lots of candy. It's easy to go overboard with sweets and end up with a stomachache and a sugar high. Long term, high amounts of added sugar, especially the high fructose corn syrup that you see used in many candies, can lead to fatty liver which contributes to insulin resistance. So maybe we could all benefit from refocusing the holiday from candy to having the best costumes, the best decorations and maybe even the most variety in the treats we get.
photo credit: foodallergy.org
What better way to get more variety in the treats you get than looking for houses with a teal pumpkin out front?
Looking for the teal pumpkins in your neighborhood could be a fun game and a way to get some creative and fun toys along with some candy
The Teal Pumpkin Project started as a way to include kids with food allergies in the festivities of Halloween. Most candy includes corn syrup or has corn products in it, so an allergy to corn can make Halloween candy very tricky to navigate. Other allergens in candy include dairy, soy and wheat. The Teal Pumpkin Project asks that we provide toy options instead of only giving candy as a way to be fully inclusive. This is also a great way to take some of the focus from candy to help us all be more mindful about how much added sugar we eat. Many kids with type 1 diabetes also have celiac, so food allergies may be no stranger to them (Gluten free candy list). Looking for the teal pumpkins in your neighborhood could be a fun game and a way to get some creative and fun toys along with some candy.
Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate and get excited about gummies as much as anyone, but I hate feeling sick so tend to have a little bit but focus my attention on other things. In reality, we can buy candy any day - it's available at most stores! So getting pencils, stickers or light-up toys is way more exciting to me.
I hope that you all have a Happy
Halloween that includes some candy (with insulin as needed) but also includes a great night out with friends and family. Let me know how your Halloween adventures went by commenting below or uploading pictures.
*Please consult with a healthcare professional for recommendations on insulin adjustments for trick-or-treating. If you would like more help in developing a plan for Halloween or other holidays, please schedule an appointment with me.