Between trick-or-treating and fall parties, Halloween can be one big sugar rush, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s more to celebrating October 31 than eating sweet treats. Here are 9 tips for celebrating the holiday without sending glucose levels soaring:
Plan ahead: Create personal boundaries and ground rules to keep blood glucose under control while maximizing holiday fun. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Enjoy activities that don’t involve sweets: Take the focus off of candy. Instead, enjoy art/craft projects, pumpkin carving/painting contests, watching a Halloween movie, visiting a haunted house, or going on a hayride.
Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project: The Teal Pumpkin Project by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. You can join by handing out non-food treats, such as bookmarks, stickers and glow sticks for trick-or-treaters, and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home, along with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats available.
Avoid snacking on candy while trick-or-treating: If planning to go trick-or-treating, eat smart earlier in the day to start off the evening with normal blood sugar. Then, avoid snacking until you get home so you can dose the correct amount of insulin to cover the carbs in the candy you will eat. You can use DiabetesForecast.org to find carb counts for popular Halloween candy.
Use Halloween candy to treat lows: Keep non-chocolate candy like Starburst and Skittles in bags containing 15 grams of carbohydrates each. Store the bags in easy to reach places like your personal bag or car. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), chocolate and other higher-fat treats do not work well for treating lows.
Limit daily candy intake: Moderation is important, and candy intake is no exception. Set a rule as to how many pieces of candy you will allow yourself to eat per day, as long as your blood glucose isn’t high, and then stick to it.
Be selective: Pick your favorite pieces of candy, and get rid of the rest. If you’re going to go to the trouble of covering candy carbs with extra insulin, make sure it’s candy you truly.
Donate extra candy: Donate the candy you don’t want to a community group, a local children’s hospital, or troops overseas through the Halloween Candy Buy-Back program. The program allows people to turn in Halloween candy to participating dentists’ offices throughout the country in exchange for a goody bag or other prize.
Make a trade: If you have children with diabetes, let them trade pieces of their candy for something else not food related, such as a movie ticket, trip to the zoo, new toy, money, or a gift card. This can help redefine the word “treat.”
This blog post was adapted from a post by Naomi Ruperto in "The Loop" blog at medtronicdiabetes.com
Still have questions? Schedule 15 mins with Kent, our diabetes educator and pharmacist. He can help you learn how to celebrate Halloween safely with diabetes!
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