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Hmmmmm! I was a bit iffy about writing this post, because in my opinion, children with Type 1 Diabetes should be treated the same as any other child at Halloween. No child should be gorging themselves on sweets, and eating limitless amounts of Halloween treats. Caution should be exercised for all, regardless of Type 1 diabetes or not. A healthy, balanced approach should be adopted, but what does that mean, and how it is actually achieved?

The following are our Top 10 Tips for having a healthier Halloween here at Diabetes Insight!

1. Planning Ahead

It is important to discuss your plans for Halloween with your child with diabetes in advance, so they know what to expect.  You can even involve your child in figuring out what to do with extra sweets etc.  Children are much more likely to be on board with a plan that they have helped create.

2. Buy It Back

For the more entrepreneurial amongst you. Buy it back: offer to “buy” your child’s sweets back and allow them to use the money for a small toy or a book. That way they still feel like they’re getting a treat.

3. Refocus the celebration

Host a Halloween party and focus on fun, not food. Invite family & friends, play games etc. Offer small toys such as glow-in-the-dark insects and Halloween-themed stickers as treats.

4. Inform teachers and nurses at your child’s school

Prepare your child, teachers, and friends with information about type 1 diabetes before Halloween. The holiday can be a teaching opportunity about health, science, and diet. Some schools have used Halloween as an opportunity to teach students to calculate the carbohydrate counts for varied serving sizes of sweets.

5. Donate

Donate some of the sweets collected to a local children’s hospital, community groups etc.  Older kids might feel good about helping other kids.

6.What To Do With Extra Treats

Some families save the extra treats and put a piece or two in their child with diabetes’ lunch box each day (if treats are allowed by the school) or use it to treat low blood glucose reactions (be careful not to use sweets with a lot of fat, such as chocolate bars, as hypoglycemia treatments).

7. Avoid Hypos when Trick or Treating

Lots of walking can affect blood glucose levels for anyone with diabetes, so pack a healthy snack that you can rely on to battle lows. This way, you avoid the temptation of dipping into the Halloween treat bag for a quick solution if your child’s blood sugar levels begin to drop.

8. Eat a Good Meal Before Trick or Treating Begins

This idea is as basic as it gets. Fill up on nutritious food first! It’s easy in the rush of Halloween to forget to prepare, or have the kids eat, a decent meal. If they’re hungry, the candy will look all that much more enticing. Think about serving something really special and delicious, too. Have some food games, but make them healthful: dunk for apples instead of gorging on chocolate! Or, cook up a storm, but make the recipe “ghouls eyeball soup.” Yum!

9. Count the Carbs & Enjoy the Treats!

Halloween treats can also be factored into your child’s current meal plan.  If you are using a restrictive regimen that counts things like fruits and starches, most chocolate bars and small treats are 9-10g of CHO and a perfect substitute for a fruit at a meal or snack.  Bags of chips are often 15g of CHO and again perfectly replace a slice of bread.  There are extensive lists of carb counts found all over the internet.

10. Remember to Enjoy Halloween!

Halloween is not always about food. It is about spending time together as a family and having fun.