Halloween doesn’t have to be a difficult time for children living with type 1 diabetes. By planning ahead and talking to your children, their teachers and their friends about what to expect, you can provide your kids with a fun and safe Halloween. The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recommends the following tricks when enjoying your treats:
- Help your child pick a few candies to keep, and work them into their meal plan by counting the carbohydrates. Get rid of the rest of the candy to avoid temptation.
- Make a trade! Offer your child small toys, school supplies or money in exchange for their candy. At this time of year, there are plenty of options, many of which are more permanent than candy.
- Help older children to understand how to cover extra carbohydrates from the Halloween treats with the appropriate amount of extra insulin if required.
- Space out the candy distribution by letting your child enjoy the candy on a schedule you have both agreed on, such as one treat per day.
- Pick out candy that can be used to treat future blood sugar lows, such as anything that is purely sugar. Divide these into servings of 15-gram carbohydrate and make up individual bags. Keep these where you typically store the items you use to treat low blood sugar.
- By enjoying sweet treats with or immediately following a meal, instead of as a stand-alone snack, you can limit their impact on blood sugar levels.
The extra walking while trick-or-treating can affect blood sugar levels. Make sure your child has a good meal beforehand, and pack a healthy snack to keep blood sugar levels from dropping, along with some fast-acting carbohydrate (or glucose tablets) to treat a blood sugar dip if it happens. Encourage your child to eat these snacks, and save their candy bag for later.
- Moderation is important, and not just for kids with diabetes! Encourage your other children to follow the same suggestions as your child with diabetes. This can be a great opportunity to create new traditions that focus on fun and activity, instead of just candy.
- Buy candy for handing out as close to Halloween as possible, to minimize temptation for the whole family, and not just the child with diabetes.
Need some last-minute costume ideas? Take the family to your local Value Village and let their “costume consultants” help you find that one-of-a-kind treasure! Each year, through its partnership with Value Village, the Clothesline program raises more than $10 million to help the CDA fund research, education, advocacy efforts and programs such as D-Camps for children and youth living with type 1 diabetes. To learn more, visit diabetes.ca/clothesline.
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