Are the images of cute costumes and tempting sweets feeling a little more like a nightmare? Take charge and make a plan. Here’s a list of ideas that can make Halloween fun again and keep trick-or-treaters of all ages and the pumpkins grinning!
Tips to enjoying Halloween
- Make a plan. Children with diabetes are children first and a child with diabetes second. Don’t “wing it,” make a plan, set limits, consider potential problems early, and realize the night is more than just getting a sugar high. Be sure to include the school in the Halloween plan also.
- Avoid trick-or-treat snacking. For safety reasons, this is a good idea. In the presence of diabetes, snacking is an easy way to lose track of just exactly how much one has consumed. If you believe the increased activity and excitement of the night will offset the sugar intake, it’s probably okay to allow a piece or two of candy while walking. A better idea might be to eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating begins and reduce the temptation.
- Consider the sugar-free candy option. Sugar-free candy may be an option. Since “sugar-free” isn’t the same thing as “carb-free,” be sure to read the label. Many people don’t see the same rise in glucose from sugar-free candy as candy with sugar. Also, be aware that consuming excessive carbohydrate substitutes may have a laxative effect.
- Fit Halloween candy into the meal plan. Look at the carbohydrate count for an individual fun or snack size piece of candy and let it occasionally take the place of something on the plate. Desserts are not forbidden in the diabetes meal plan. Talk with a diabetes care and education specialist if you need additional guidance. Click here to find a diabetes self-management and support program near you.
- A Halloween treat doesn’t have to be candy. There are many non-food items that can be substituted that kids enjoy, e.g., stickers, special pencils, play-dough, gift cards, and more!
- Only keep the favorite candy and give the rest away. Having sweets hanging around is a temptation to everyone. Limit the temptation by limiting the candy; out of sight is out of mind.
- Create new traditions. While trick-or-treating is common, Halloween is often associated with haunted houses, hayrides, ghost stories, and more. Find the tradition that fits your family best.
Tips for a Halloween party
- Focus on costumes, games, and/or crafts. Scavenger hunts and pumpkin carving or pumpkin painting is a great alternative to the candy haul.
- Consider low carb. Limit candy options focusing more on lower carbohydrate foods and/or giving other foods a Halloween theme. Check out Mr. Food’s “12 Easy Halloween Recipes: Diabetic Halloween Treats the Whole Family Will Love.” Some of his recipes include:
- Dracula’s Devilish Eggs
- Boo-tiful Bean Dip
- Tomato Eyeball Bits
- Bloody Chicken Fingers
- Strawberry Ghosts & Goblins
- Sugar-Free Gummy Worms
Another website to check out is Pinterest; search “diabetes halloween treats”. Ideas may include sugar-free gelatin jigglers in Halloween shapes, roasted pumpkin seeds, string cheese sticks, or mini-hotdogs wrapped like mummies in puff pastry
Halloween cheat sheet for treats
If consumable treats are part of the night’s plans, read the label and know what you’re eating. Keep in mind that glycemic excursions don’t have to send trick-or-treaters’ glucose levels into the stratosphere.
|Treat||Serving size||Calories||Fat grams||Protein grams||Carbohydrates grams||Sugar grams|
|Brach’s Super Bubble gum, individually wrapped piece||1 piece||20||0||0||4||3|
|Cheez-It baked snack crackers, fun pak 10 gram pouch||1 pouch||50||2.5||< 1||6||0|
|Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats, 0.39 oz MiniSquares||1 Mini-Square||45||1||< 1||8||4|
|M&M Milk Chocolate Candies fun size (27 g / serving)||2 pks||130||5||1||10||17|
|Snickers fun size bars (17 g / serving)||1 bar||80||4||1||10||9|
|Welch’s “Mixed Fruit” Fruit Snacks, 0.5 oz pouch||1 pouch||45||0||0||10||6|
|Twix fun size bars (16 g / serving)||1 bar||80||3.5||< 1||11||8|
|M&M’s fun size Peanut Chocolate Candies (18 g / serving)||2 pks||90||4.5||2||11||9|
|Utz Halloween Bats & Jacks shaped pretzels (5 oz bag)||1 bag||50||0.5||1||11||< 1|
|Pringles Potato Chips, 0.67 oz tub||1 tub||100||6||< 1||11||0|
|Wonka Halloween Treat Size Fun Dip, 0.42 oz pouch||1 pouch||45||0||0||11||10|
|Brach’s Nerds, 12 gram box||1 box||45||0||0||11||11|
|Brach’s Lemonhead MiniPops, 1 individually wrapped pop||1 pop||45||0||0||11||8|
|Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Peanut Butter & Chocolate, 0.6 oz pouch||1 pouch||80||2.5||1||12||5|
|Skittles Original & Wild Berry, 15 gram package||1 pkg||60||0.5||0||14||11|
|Brachs Gobstopper (Jawbreakers), 3 pack||1 pkg||60||0||0||14||13|
|Brach’s Smarties Roll, 7 gram roll||2 rolls||50||0||0||14||12|
|Hershey’s Milk Chocolate snack size (26 g / serving)||2 pcs||130||8||2||15||14|
|Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups snack (31 grams / serving)||2 pcs||160||9||3||18||16|
|Kit Kat Wafer Bar snack size (28 g / serving)||2 pcs||140||7||1||19||15|
|Almond Joy snack size (34 g / serving)||2 pcs||160||9||2||20||16|
Treats highlighted in green have the added benefit of being useful in treating hypoglycemia or low blood glucose. Candies with higher amounts of fat may delay the glucose rising effect. Additionally, there are similar more inclusive lists available on the internet, e.g., BeyondType1.org.
Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t participate in trick-or-treating activities. With a little pre-planning, this may be the best Halloween ever!