Halloween time is here! Time to pick out costumes, plan parties, and anticipate how to handle the most sugar-filled holiday of the year!
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. Not only is candy bad for your teeth, but for someone with type 1 diabetes, it’s especially bad for blood sugar levels. 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.
The second strategy is what I refer to as the “hoarder’s approach.” When I was young, I was one of those kids that would save and savor every piece of Halloween candy. It wouldn’t be a rare occasion for me to still be working on my Halloween stash until February, just in time to get a new candy stash at Valentine’s Day. I wouldn’t eat a lot at once, so I’d always have some available when I wanted it. This tends to be how I handle candy now with Kaitlyn as well. I usually confiscate all the candy Kaitlyn gets and create a “low” goodie bag. Then, she gets a piece here or there, but especially when she has lower blood sugar levels. This strategy seems to work really well for now, so I’m leaning toward doing this again.
I suppose the very best approach would be to do both — have a piece here or there for a couple of days and then get rid of the rest. I have a friend with older children that would actually buy the candy from her kids, because she felt that strongly about not having them eat it.
So far, Halloween hasn’t been a big issue for us. Kaitlyn has always joined in with the trick-or-treating, and of course she enjoys eating a little bit too, but she has never really cared or noticed when the candy hides in a cupboard or just seems to disappear after a few days. I have always been in complete control with how much candy she can have and when she’s allowed to eat it. I realize though, that someday, she’ll come home with her pillowcase full of candy, and it will be a lot harder to have as much say over how much she eats. I hope that by then she’ll have picked up some good habits and have the desire to do what’s best for her health!
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. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.