If your family is planning to go trick-or-treating, Donna van Zyl shares ways to enjoy Halloween without fussing over glucose levels.
Halloween need not only be about the trick-or-treating. Encourage your child to partake in non-food activities, such as carving a pumpkin; make decorations; having fun with friends and family whilst watching a scary movie; dressing up or visiting a ‘haunted’ house. It is, however, important to know what your child is looking forward to on this day, so that you can help meet their diabetes management in the middle.
Sit down with your family and make Halloween plans in advance so your child knows what to expect. Create boundaries and general rules with your family. Your child will be more likely to be on board with a plan they helped create.
The rules of the plan may include:
- Make sure your child does not go alone.
- Ensure your child eats well and smart throughout the day, prior to the trick-or-treating so he/she can start off the evening with normal blood sugar level.
- Then, make a deal with your child to avoid snacking until you’re both home from trick-or-treating.
- Your child should take his/her own water or non-sugary drinks along, as they may get thirsty.
- Your child should keep track of his/her sugar levels throughout the evening. Trick-or-treating may include a lot of excitement, running around or even having a treat out of the extraordinary.
- Be prepared – test and ensure your child has something appropriate to treat a hypo. It is likely that he/she will have something in their bag to treat a hypo, however, the chocolate containing sweets do not necessarily act rapidly. Ideally, they should choose the sugary option and may need a follow-on snack, like a half of a peanut butter sandwich.
- Friends and family can be very supportive and have healthy snacks waiting for your child. These options may include nuts, dark chocolate and fruit (strawberries dipped into dark chocolate). If they do have chocolate, encourage them to make sure they’re the snack-size versions.
Once both of you have returned home, allow your child to choose his/ her favourite treat and administer an insulin dose accordingly.
The non-chocolate treats could be sorted into 15g carb packets and kept to treat a hypo. Those chocolate coated treats can be exchanged for a desired gift i.e. a toy, TV game, movie ticket, or a trip to the zoo etc. The exchange of sweets for a desired toy or game could apply to all the children of the house. The exchanged treats can also be donated to the less fortunate community groups as a treat they often do not receive.
Diabetic-friendly Halloween recipes
You can also make great Halloween diabetic-friendly recipes that will allow your children with diabetes to enjoy the day, without missing out treats.
Suitable Halloween treats: