I won’t pretend that I have experience with Halloween and a Type 1 child yet, because I don’t.What I can tell you is how I’m feeling and thinking, what my son is saying, what others are saying (some educated about T1 and some not), things that I’ve read and what this all means for my family and how we will celebrate this holiday. Wow, that was a long sentence but to be honest, I’ve had a very long day and only slept for maybe 3 hours last night (mom life of a T1) and I just don’t have the energy to change it lol. I reread it, it’s wordy but it works…moving on.. :)
Last year on Halloween we had all three children dressed up in their costumes. Hayden was Darth Vader…again, which also meant ME carrying his light saber, mask and candy sack 10 minutes into trick-or-treating because it was all sooooooo heavy for him. Our daughter Kozy was just over 1 years old and dressed as a princess that could really care less (and she played her role well!) My youngest son Cayson was only 3 months old and we had him swaddled up with his little head peaking out of his shark costume that he was not even in the slightest amused by! Our night consisted of friends, food, trick-or-treating, and lots of candy! This year I’m hoping will be just as full of fun, food and…wait for it….CANDY!
There are many different approaches to consider taking towards this holiday and one that could potentially send all 3 of my children into a hyperactive state of craziness only to be followed by the fast and hard fall from sugar bliss, to sugar crash. For my Type 1 son Hayden it would be a similar pattern except it would chasing high blood sugars with insulin only to then have the crashing lows to be battled with more sugary treats. That is called the circle cycle of DOOM! No, just kidding…Just throwing in some Halloween humor. We try to limit sweets in our house and eat a fairly healthy diet in general. Candy ,cake, cookies..all of these items are considered treats and are not eaten on a daily basis. Although Halloween is considered that one day to just kind of go nuts and eat all the candy you want until you’re sick to your stomach and don’t want anymore, I prefer to stick to a more conservative approach just like every other day.
We’ve decided to turn Trick-Or-Treating into a game of collecting candy for treating low blood sugar episodes! Most halloween candy comes in the perfect snack size for just the right amount of sugar to get that blood sugar back up. I’ve told Hayden that this year we will be hunting down only the best of the best treatment supplies! He thought this sounded pretty cool and has agreed to keep the ones that he really likes and the rest we will give away. When we get home from Trick-Or-Treating we will also be allowing him to pick 2 pieces to enjoy for all his hard work haha (I mean he is saving us money on low treatments right?). Other ideas I’ve heard are to also give the child the option to trade in their candy for a present or money and that way they still get to experience the fun of trick-or-treating!
To all of the non-T1 people reading this we just want you to know that our kids are definitely allowed to eat candy and enjoy things just like other kids. If my son wanted a ton of chocolate I technically could give it to him! I would just need to know the amount of carbohydrates in it so I could give the right amount of insulin to treat it with. Basically we just have to “Treat the Treats!” Just came up with that one! I know some parents get annoyed when they are asked if their child can have something because they think that person assumes that because their child is type 1 they can’t have it. For me, I’m glad they do because even before my child was diagnosed I wanted to be asked first too. Now, I know the reason behind asking may be different, but for me that’s ok. I need to know what my 6 year old is ingesting so I can treat it accordingly and not have his blood sugar skyrocket and not know why.
So my advice to T1 families for Halloween? Do what you’re comfortable doing. Set up a game plan first so your child isn’t sorely disappointed when they can’t eat an entire month of low supplies. Celebrate all of the other fun things that Halloween is about too! Have fun getting dressed in costumes, take pictures, carve pumpkins, do a Halloween craft! Halloween doesn’t have to be entirely centered around candy but if it does for you and your family, keep that extra insulin handy and keep on keepin’ on. Everyone has a different way of doing things and that’s just the FREEDOM OF BEING AMERICAN!! That sentence probably threw you and you thought I might get political..Nope! Won’t ever go there! I just like making things fun to read.
Happy Halloween and good luck collecting those low treats!! Spread awareness every time you’re asked if it’s ok to have candy as a Type 1! It’s a teaching opportunity :)