Navigating Halloween with Diabetes by Diabetes Forecast Magazine

For all of the decorations and costumes and carved pumpkins, Halloween is for most kids (and grown-ups) one big sugar rush. It's all about the candy: who has the best selection, how much you can carry, and which pieces to eat first. But if you or your child has diabetes, how can you participate in the fun without sending blood glucose levels soaring?

Navigating Halloween with Diabetes

For Kids, Halloween Is Not Off Limits

Halloween sure places a lot of importance on sweets. Candy may not have played a major role in celebrations until the 1950s, but today it’s a billion-dollar Halloween business—and a source of stress for parents of kids with diabetes. But with proper planning, you can sidestep worry while your kids with type 1 diabetes enjoy the festivities (and, yes, even some sweet treats).

Here are a few tips for helping your child enjoy the holiday without derailing their blood sugars:

  • Set expectations. Before the Halloween celebrations start, invite your kids to help plan how they’ll manage their diabetes over the holiday. Be open about the things that worry you the most, and what you expect of them. But also give them space to decide what they'll do with candy and treats they collect and how they'll manage their blood sugars. 
  • Portion out candy. Restricting candy too much may lead children to eat it secretively without dosing insulin to cover the carbs. Instead, let them pick out their favorite treats, and portion them out so they can have a little bit each day. This can also be a good time to teach kids the basics of carb counting and insulin dosing. 
  • Offer alternatives. There are ways to reduce candy intake without making your child feel deprived. You can offer your children the chance to trade their leftover candy for other gifts, such as toys, gift cards, or a movie night. 

Tricks for Treats

If you’re an adult with diabetes who is planning on handing out candy for Halloween, you may worry about the possibility of eating too many sweets yourself. One of the best ways to avoid this is to buy candy that you don’t like. "If someone doesn’t like licorice, or chocolate, or nuts, that might be a good choice to give out,” says Rachel Head, RD, CDE.

Good timing can also help you avoid indulging in the candy you’re planning to give out. Don't buy candy too far in advance—it's best to buy it the same day that you'll be giving it out so that's not in the house for too loong. 

Finally, be sure to follow your regular meal schedule on Halloween, so you won’t be as hungry when trick-or-treating starts.

Candy Carb Counts

The fun-size treats you pick up on Halloween don't always have nutrition labels—which makes it hard to count calories or carb count. This handy table tells you how many carbs are in some of the most popular Halloween candies.

 

Candy

Calories    

Carb         

Fat           

Almond Joy Snack Size (1 pc)

80

8 g

3 g

Butterfinger Fun Size (1 pc)

85

13.5 g

3.5 g

Candy Corn (1 oz)

100

25.6 g

0 g

Dum Dum (1 Lollipop)

25

6.5 g

0 g

Hershey's Kisses Dark Chocolate (1 pc)

21

3 g

1 g

Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolate (1 pc)

21

3 g

1 g

Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolate with Almonds (1 pc)

22

2.5 g

1 g

Hershey's Assorted Miniatures - Hershey's Chocolate, Hershey's
Special Dark chocolate, Krackel, Mr. Goodbar (1 pc)

40

5 g

2 g

Jolly Ranchers (1 pc)

23

6 g

0 g

Kit Kat Miniatures (1 pc)

42

5.5 g

2 g

Kit Kat Snack Size bars (1 2-piece bar)

70

9 g

3.5 g

M&Ms Fun Size (1 package)

60

10 g

2.5 g

M&Ms Crispy Fun Size (1 package)

80

12 g

3 g

M&Ms Peanut Fun Size (1 package)

90

11 g

5 g

M&Ms Pretzel Fun Size (1 package)

60

10 g

2 g

Milk Duds (13 pc)

160

37 g

15 g

Milky Way Caramel Fun Size (1 pc)

100

15 g

4.5 g

Milky Way Dark Miniatures (1 pc)

38

6 g

14 g

Milky Way Fun Size (1 pc)

80

12 g

3 g

Milky Way Miniatures (1 pc)

38

6 g

1.6 g

Mounds Snack Size (1 pc)

80

10 g

4.5 g

Skittles Share Size (1 package)

64

15 g

0.6 g

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis (1 pc)

43

5 g

2 g

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Snack Size (1 pc)

105

11 g

6 g

ROLO (1 pc)

28

4 g

1 g

Smarties (1 roll)

25

6 g

0 g

Snickers Fun Size (1 pc)

80

10.5 g

4 g

Snickers Mini (1 pc)

42

5.5 g

2 g

Starbursts (1 pc)

20

4 g

0.4 g

Three Musketeers Fun Size (1 pc)

63

11.3 g

2 g

Three Musketeers Mini (1 pc)

24

6.4 g

0.7 g

Twix Fun Size (1 pc)

125

13.5 g

7 g

Twix Miniatures (1 pc)

50

6.6 g

2.3 g

York Snack Size (1 pc)

60

13.5 g

1 g

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