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Let Them Eat Candy: Type 1 and Halloween

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween is Friday!

This makes me happy because I love Halloween! 

This was 3 years ago... look how little she was!

However, I know that there are some parents our there who do not share in my love for this holiday.  And I know that for some, it's because of diabetes. 

Many of the events of the day that Sweets was diagnosed are a blur.  But I clearly remember being in the car as we drove toward Children's Hospital... to be admitted with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes... thinking to myself "HOW are we going to handle trick or treating?  Is she even going to be able to go?"

We had no idea what we were in for.  We knew little to nothing about diabetes. 

Why I was worrying about Halloween... in April... at a time like that.... I don't know. 

But I'm happy to report that Sweets has never missed a Halloween Trick or Treat!

Because you know what?  Kids with Type 1 CAN GO TRICK OR TREATING!!!

There is absolutely no reason why diabetes should keep them from this fun, childhood experience.

I know all the candy can be overwhelming... and maybe even a little scary... So here's how we have handled it...

When she was three and four, she didn't even care about the candy.  She just loved getting dressed up and going door to door.  When we got home, we dumped our her loot (which honestly was not a ton) and divided it into piles.  We made a pile of things we could use to treat lows.  Her favorites were Smarties!  Then we made a pile of things she really liked.  Her favorites were Hershey bars.  She hadn't really tried much before that point so stuck with the pure chocolate.  Then she made a pile of the rest of the candy for the "Switch Witch".  The Switch Witch would bring her a small something - a book or a Barbie or something and take the candy!  She LOVED that!

Once she was a little older... she didn't really want to give up all her candy!  And that's fine!  Here's what we've done for the past few years...

This day is still about dressing up and having fun for her.  Last year it was drizzling and windy and we went to maybe 8 houses before she decided it was NOT worth it and went home.  That was fine by me because I wasn't having fun getting wet either!

We still divide her candy into piles.  We still make a pile of things to treat lows.  This is kind of awesome because sometimes we get enough stuff to stock our low cabinet for quite a while!  She still likes Smarties but has now branched out into (red) Starburst and Laffy Taffy. 

She makes a pile of things she wants to keep.  We let her eat a piece for dessert and sometimes send a piece in her lunch as a treat.  She likes this and usually plans out what she's going to eat when!  But we still usually throw out some of that candy she's lost interest in around Christmas. 

She also makes a pile to "sell".  Her dentist does a buy back where she can take her candy and sell it to them!  They donate it to the troops!  They weight the candy and pay based on weight.  A dollar a pound.  And they get their money in the form of gift certificates to Toys R Us.  She LOVES this!  It's a neat little party they have at the office and she absolutely loves getting a gift card! 

I think going Trick or Treating and participating in this holiday is really important for our kids.  And here's why...

We tell our kids all the time that diabetes does not have to hold them back.  It does not have to keep them from doing anything.  They can still play sports or cheer or act or hang out friends. 

We tell them that moderation is the key. 

We tell OTHER people that "YES, THEY CAN EAT THAT!"  We even get annoyed that other people tell our kids they CAN'T have something because they have diabetes. 

So what message does it send to say no to Trick or Treat because of diabetes? 

You can go trick or treating and have a successful Halloween with Type 1 along for the ride.

Does Sweets want to sit down and eat all of her candy?  Sure.  What kid doesn't?  But we tell her that we wouldn't let ANY kid do that.  It's not healthy.  It will make you sick.  It has nothing to do with diabetes. 

This made me laugh...

Is counting carbs for those little things without nutritional information a pain?  YES!  But... I found an awesome link to a list of candy and their carb counts!  JDRF put together a great list... Click HERE for the list!

This is what it looks like...

I worry that by saying NO, we would be setting ourselves up for failure.  For rebellion.  For food sneaking.  For resentment. 

Could all those things happen anyway?  Of course. 

It's just always been my goal... since that day in the car on the way to the hospital... that we would find a way to let her be a regular kid. 

The interesting thing, to me, is that this year Sweet's has a LONG list of things that she CAN NOT EAT... because of her spacer.  The orthodontist said no chips, no popcorn, nothing chewy, and nothing too sticky.  She is NOT happy about this.  But it has NOTHING to do with diabetes. 

So, if you're worried about Trick or Treat or you've never let your T1 experience this, I urge you to think about it. 

There's nothing Type 1's can't do...
So Let Them Eat Candy!

** This is my opinion.  This is what works for my family and my child.  So take it with a grain of salt drop of insulin and do what works for you! **

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