Halloween is always tough for our family. I can’t eat a lot of sugar because of having PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), my father is diabetic, and my daughter who inherited my great genes has insulin resistance and is pre-diabetic. So, we had to figure out how to make Halloween and the whole fall season fun without all of the carbs if you know what I mean! Here are a few tips on making Halloween fun for kids who can’t eat all that sugar!
1.) Establishing the Rules
Every year before Halloween we always have “the talk”. Typical parents talk about the rules of not eating the candy till parents have gone through it, or not talking to strangers, etc. We go over those rules too, but we also talk about the candy. After dealing with a child on a sugar free diet for two years we’ve learned that as long as you lay out expectations and regulations ahead of time, there are less whines for “Mommy can I pleeeeeeease have just one candy bar…” So before we hit the road knocking on doors, we negotiate a settlement of appropriate candy-to-kid ratio. Everyone is clear on what they can and cannot have before going into it.
2.) The Negotiation
This is where it can get tricky. After all who doesn’t want their kid to enjoy some candy, and I don’t know about you, but those puppy dog eyes get me every time. I remember being a kid and coming home with a pillow sack full of candy and just going to town on that stuff. I’d have candy every day after breakfast, in my lunch, when I got home from school. I’d have so much candy I couldn’t eat it up before it went bad! And ooooh the stomach aches! Well, you are probably going to think I am a strict mom, but I have to be for my daughter’s health!
So our typical deal is that she can pick 5 total pieces of candy from her loot (reasonable pieces, no full size candy bars). Of those 5 pieces, she is allowed one per week. The rest of her loot she sells back to us for a toy purchase of her choice up to $20. Then the candy goes to work with my husband for him to give away to customers (and sneak himself, I am sure). We will also buy her a few sugar free candies to have on hand that night to eat.
Who says only the kids have to dress up? We make the dressing up really the focal point for the day instead of the candy. We dress up with her so she’s not the only one in a costume. Plus, its fun! (And it gives us a reason to have a piece of candy or two!)
But, other than the occasional Fall Festival and Charlie Brown special about the Great Pumpkin, we try to stick to a regular schedule. If there are treats being brought into her class at school, we try to buy some sugar free treats to give her teacher. School is the toughest part because there are never sugar free alternatives, and you can’t bake treats for school anymore, they have to be store bought. So for kids on sugar free diets that makes it tough! But over all we do ok. As the holidays continue, it gets harder. For most kids, Halloween is all about the candy, so for us, we try to keep busy with activities so the candy doesn’t become the focus. For instance, pumpkin carving… some people carve their pumpkins earlier in October and set them out for a while. We keep the pumpkin carving thrill to the night before Halloween so we have the freshest pumpkins on the block! Each year we all pick out our very own pumpkin and we either carve it or paint it. On Halloween Night, we set out our pumpkins and light them up.
This year, St. Joseph Hospital actually has a FREE event for diabetic kids on the day after Halloween. They are holding their Annual Diabetes Fair with a costume contest, face painting, music and more on Nov. 1st: http://tampabay.jdrf.org/event/annual-diabetes-fair-at-saint-josephs-childrens-hospital/