Pediatric nurse practitioner Jean Roemer supports the idea of allowing your child to pick 10 or so favorite candies from the bag and offers another suggestion for what to do with the rest: Auction it off to family members for spending money.
No matter which approach you take, one thing that is important is to make sure that your child with diabetes does not feel singled out. As Kelly Kunik, diagnosed with diabetes on Halloween at age 8, recalls, “We didn’t have carb counting back when I was diagnosed. My first night in the hospital, all the other kids were trick-or-treating, but I wanted no part of the special diabetes candy.” (It is worth noting that sugar-free versions of candy often contain more carbohydrate than their regular counterparts.) And according to Morrone Sparling, “It’s important to let the child with diabetes know that he isn’t ‘banned’ from treats, just that it requires a little extra planning and patience.”
We’re having a party
For parents who seek an alternative to trick-or-treating, a party, complete with Halloween-themed decorations and games, may be a good option. The following activities can get any party off to a spooky start:
- Costume Fashion Show
Set up a runway and play a compilation of Halloween music while the kids display their costumes. Hand out awards in different categories, such as scariest costume or best homemade costume.
- Goo Relay
Make some goo by mixing four parts cornstarch with one part water (adding some food coloring, if desired) until the concoction has a slimy consistency. Divide children into teams and line each team up about 20 feet from an empty bucket. At the word “go,” have team members take turns running a handful of slime from a container at the starting line to the bucket. The first team to fill its bucket wins.
- Guess the pumpkin’s weight
Have kids write their estimates of a pumpkin’s weight onto a slip of paper. The child with the closest guess wins a prize.
- Silly telephone
Arrange all of the children into a large circle. Have the first child whisper a silly message into the second child’s ear. See how the message has changed by the time it reaches the beginning of the circle.
For more Halloween-themed games, type “Halloween party games” into an Internet search engine such as Google.
Be sure to keep an eye on your child’s blood glucose levels if he is playing a game that requires a fair amount of physical activity: Getting more exercise than usual can lead to lower-than-expected blood glucose. On the other end of the spectrum, some children may experience very high blood glucose if they get scared by a particularly convincing costume or display at a haunted house.
Having a spooktacular time
There are as many ways to healthfully celebrate Halloween with diabetes as there are ghosts, ghouls, and goblins afoot on All Hallows’ Eve. By planning ahead and including your child in any decision-making, you can ensure a heck of a good time for everyone on Halloween. Just don’t forget to brush teeth and floss if there’s candy involved.