Children With Diabetes Can Enjoy Halloween Too

At Halloween, when the competition is fierce for the best or scariest costume, standing out is enviable. However, to an overweight child, especially on Halloween, standing out can be a painful ordeal. If your child is overweight and diabetic, the sugar blitz at Halloween can be particularly threatening. I know. Im a parent as well as a dental hygienist and Ive been dazed by the abundance of sweets in my kids booty bag. According to the National Confectioner’s Association, 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold for Halloween alone. That doesnt include the bite-sized chocolate bars, lollipops, and other confections that abound. Yikes!

So what can we do as parents to help our children make better choices during the annual onslaught of sugar? We can suggest alternatives to traditional Trick-or-Treating and contribute to an exciting, safe, and healthier Halloween:

Have a costume party for your child where you can plan the treats.
Involve your child in making the ghoulish decorations, planning the party games, and setting the table.
Help your child bake and decorate sugarless cookies with Halloween cookie cutters that he can share with his classmates and friends.
Dunk for apples, play musical chairs, or twist balloons for prizes
Offer party favors instead of candy to the children.

Here is a list of delights that you can give out in lieu of candy:

Halloween theme stickers
Pencils and erasers
Small stuffed animals,
Pocket-sized games
A Disney movie
Coloring books, crayons
Sugar-free lollipops and chewing gum
A children’s magazine or comic book.

If the kids do get sweet treats, taking an inventory of their candy and discussing the nutritional facts and carb counts for each piece can be a fun and educational activity. Help your child work the treats into his eating plan, set limits, and stick to them.

Here is a list of the carb content in some typical Halloween candy:

Hershey Kiss 3g each
Jelly Beans 1g each
Hershey Miniatures 5g each
Juju fruits 2g each
Gummy Bears 4g each
Starburst 4g each
Tootsie Rolls 5g each
Crunch (fun size) 7g each
Jawbreakers 5g each
Twix (fun size) 10g each
Smarties 5g/roll
Kit Kat 10g/half
Jolly Rancher 6g each
Snickers (fun size) 12g each
Dum Dum Lollipop 6g each
Mars (fun size) 12g each
Bazooka Gum 7g each
3 Musketeers (fun size) 13g each
Chuckles 10g each
Milky Way (fun size) 14g each
Tootsie Pop 12g/pop
Butterfinger (fun size) 15g each
Lemonhead 14g/10 pieces
Goobers 20g/1.4oz bag
Candy Corn 18g/12 pieces
Reece’s Pieces 24g/1.7oz bag
Cracker Jacks 29g/1.25oz box
Peanuts M&Ms 30g/1.7oz bag
Twizzlers 30g/1oz pack
Fun Size 13g/0.7oz bag
Good and Fruity 35g/box
Raisinettes 33g/1.7oz bag
Junior Mints 38g/1.6 oz box
M&Ms 34g/1.7oz bag
Skittles 39g/1.5oz bag
Table used with permission from The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center

Besides being empty calories, the sugars and carbohydrates feed the bacteria in the mouth and encourage tooth decay. Have them brush both teeth and gums and floss especially well just before bedtime. Buy your youngster a colorful new toothbrush and include it as part of their Halloween treats. Those sugars can be ghastly on your childs teeth.

Happy Halloween!