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13 Halloween Ideas for T1D Families
Find your new favorite candy rationing strategy among these 13 genius ideas from experts, parents, and bloggers.
“My 5-year-old son, Ian, loves trick-or-treating, but I know he shouldn’t have all that candy. So I allow him to go ahead and collect candy throughout the neighborhood, and then we go through it together as he picks out five pieces that he can eat over five days — with me factoring in the carb counts, of course. Then we set the bag of candy by his bed and tell him the ‘Switch Witch’ is coming that night to switch out his candy for a toy. He loves his new toy, and I love knowing he won’t be tempted by sweets he shouldn’t be eating in the first place.”
–Barbara, Oklahoma City, Okla.
“This year I plan to use one of two strategies. The first idea comes from my children’s dentist. She suggested that I let them have as much candy as they want for three days after Halloween and then throw the rest away. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. When they first trained us at the hospital, one of the diabetes educators said that it’s better to have a couple of ‘bad’ diabetes days mixed in with a majority of really ‘good’ diabetes days than to have just ‘so-so’ diabetes days all the time. So, within reason (I certainly don’t want her levels to go through the roof, have her feel lousy for three days straight, or suffer any other consequences), this might be a really good strategy, especially in coming years when I have less control over each and every piece she eats. That said, this is just what our diabetes care team suggested, and it may not work for everyone. And if we try it, we’ll be monitoring blood sugar levels closely.”
“We have a lot of trick-or-treaters come to the house, but we don’t give out candy. Instead, we pass out trinkets or little toys. That way, my 10-year-old son with type 1 diabetes won’t be tempted to sneak the candy when we’re not looking — and my husband and I won’t be tempted to eat junk food either. It’s a win-win for the whole family!”
–Joanna, Tujunga, Calif.
“I’ve tried to create new Halloween traditions for my two kids ever since my child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. On Halloween night, we dress up in costume and go out to a nice — but sensible — dinner at the restaurant of their choice. Then we go to the mall, and I give them each $20 to spend on whatever they like. It’s a fun thing for them and creates a lot less stress for me.”
–Robyn, Jersey City, N.J.
Encourage children to donate the candy to a nursing home or children’s hospital.
–Robyn Webb, M.S., nutritionist, cookbook author and “Healthy Eating” columnist for the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast magazine
“As chief candy inspector, my kids know I have complete control over incoming candy. Once it comes through that front door, all ownership goes out the window. So, what do I do with the candy? You’re going to have to ask your own doctor on this one, but I don’t buy glucose tabs –we save [non-chocolate] hard candies for lows. In my opinion, they’re just as good as glucose tabs but cheaper, and Kaitlyn thinks they’re more fun to eat.”
“Save the chocolate [Halloween candy] for chocolate chip cookies. I have a hard time throwing away chocolate knowing that I’ll end up buying chocolate chips for baking at a later date. I put all the chocolate in zipper bags and hide it away in the back of the pantry, or even chop it into chunks and put it in the freezer. Then, the next time one of my kids comes home and says ‘Mom, I need to bring two dozen cookies for my school play on Friday,’ I can whip up some cookies with bits of candy bar instead of making a trip out to buy chocolate chips.”
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.
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