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Halloween and Diabetes: Tips for Handling Treats

Children with diabetes don’t have to miss the Halloween fun if you plan ahead to adjust their diabetes management plan.

Children with diabetes can eat candy on Halloween, just like any child.  However, parents should plan ahead to work the candy into their child’s diabetes meal plan or ensure they get enough insulin to cover the carbohydrates in the candy.  The Child Life Team at Joslin Diabetes Center provides tips for Halloween planning and handling treats with diabetes.

Planning Ahead for Halloween with Diabetes

It’s best to discuss your plans for Halloween with your child with diabetes in advance, so they know what to expect.  You can even involve your child in figuring out what to do with extra candy.  Children are much more likely to be on board with a plan that they have helped create.

What To Do With Extra Candy

Some families save the extra candy and put a piece or two in their child with diabetes' lunch box each day (if candy is allowed by the school) or use it to treat low blood glucose reactions (be careful not to use candy with a lot of fat, such as chocolate bars, as hypoglycemia treatments).

Other families work out an exchange plan where children with diabetes can trade in their candy for other special items, such as small toys or a special family outing.  You may also be able to put extra candy towards a good cause, such as by donating it to community groups or sending it to troops serving overseas.

After Trick-Or-Treating With Diabetes

Children with diabetes will best be able to handle post-trick-or-treating if they know in advance how much candy they can eat and keep.  If you plan to save candy to be eaten later, they can still trade candy with their friends.  They may want to involve their friends in any exchange plan you’ve created.

Another idea is to prepare Halloween activities that do not revolve around sweets for your child with diabetes.  Some activities can include:

  • playing Halloween games, such as “pumpkin, pumpkin, jack-o-lantern” (a variation of “duck, duck, goose”)
  • working on arts and crafts projects
  • making a special Halloween snack together

Children with diabetes should participate in Halloween activities like any child, but parents might have to put extra thought and some creativity into how to help their child enjoy these special times and still keep their diabetes management on track.

Click here to learn about Joslin's Annual Halloween Party.

Related Links

Click here to see more tips for trick-or-treating with diabetes and healthy Halloween recipes provided by the Joslin Clinic.

Click here to view a list of nutritional information for various candies and other treats.

Page last updated: August 21, 2014