Having a Fun and Sugar-Safe Halloween

If you have a child or grandchild with diabetes, you naturally want him or her to have a fun, safe Halloween. With a little planning, you can easily achieve this goal.

Taking the focus away from candy and placing it on other aspects of the holiday might make this the most enjoyable and spook-tacular Halloween ever.

Creating a Sugar-Safe Halloween

The following are suggestions only. Your physician's instructions and your own common sense take precedence.

  1. Some parents “buy” their diabetic child’s Halloween candy stash and let the child use that money to purchase a book, CD or toy. Or you can purchase a toy you know your child will like ahead of time and give it to him or her in exchange for the candy.
  2. You might ask your neighbors to have some non-candy goodies available to hand out such as stickers, books or small toys.
  3. Take the focus off Halloween candy by emphasizing other aspects of the holiday. Think about creatively decorating the house or yard, making an awesome costume, face painting, roasting the seeds from your carved pumpkin (see the recipe below), attending local Halloween activities, or hosting a Halloween party for your child and his or her friends.
  4. Sort through your child’s bag of candy and pick out pieces that can be used to treat future sugar lows (e.g., hard candies). Divide this candy into 15g carb servings and put each serving in a small plastic bag. Keep the bags in handy places such as the car or the child’s backpack.
  5. Allow your child to keep a few pieces of his or her favorite candy and toss or donate the rest. Let your child eat the candy over the next few days and use it as an opportunity to demonstrate how to cover carbohydrates with insulin.
  6. Make a low-sugar Halloween a family project. Encourage siblings who are not diabetic to pick out their favorite pieces of candy and toss or donate the rest. Children’s hospitals often welcome donations of Halloween candy.
  7. Children and adults with diabetes can have some sugar. Fun-size candy bars have approximately 10 to 15g of carbohydrates and can be factored into the child’s meal plan or covered by insulin.
  8. If you are an adult with diabetes and will be handing out the goodies to trick-or-treaters, avoid purchasing bags of your favorite candies.

Be aware that candies containing sugar alcohols such as sorbitol may trigger diarrhea if eaten in excess. Though they are absorbed more slowly than regular sugar, these sugar alcohols still affect glucose levels.

Monster Mash Trail Mix

Making this low-sugar trail mix is a fun Halloween activity to enjoy after carving the family’s pumpkin.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preparation

  1. When carving your pumpkin, set the slimy insides aside. Later, pull out the seeds, rinse and dry them off.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Cover a shallow baking pan with parchment paper and spread the pumpkin seeds over the paper.
  4. Sprinkle on the slivered almonds and coconut flakes; bake five to ten minutes or until golden. Let it cool.
  5. Add in the dried cranberries.

Sources: University of Michigan and The Campanil

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