Halloween and Other Carb-Infested Holidays for Kids

Since I'm already stressing, may as well project a little further into the future.

What are we (as parents) supposed to do about Halloween and all the other sugar-ladened holidays which follow?!?  I don't think there's any way we can forgo trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, because my hubby is just waaaay too into the gig.  And, how can I tell all THREE kids they're not to be eating huge piles of candy the moment they return home, just because their brother has T1?  How, oh, HOW are we going to survive the holidays?  <frantically panting>  Call me neurotic, I like to plan ahead :)

SO, my first idea was a "carbs for cash" exchange.  A Costco-sized container of Jelly-Belly jelly beans contains approximately 1,665 grams of carbs.  I figure if I offered 1 US cent per carb, that'd be $16.65 for the equivalent of one container of Jelly-Belly's...enough to purchase one video game at Game Stop.  Since our son with T1 happens to also be enthralled with video games, maybe this could work?

Or, is this just one more sign of parental desperation?

Trying hard to laugh at myself...

Mo :)



my mom used to do the money trade.

when i was really young and didn't realize pennies were nothing..she'd trade me pennies for the small candies and nickles for bigger candies.

she didn't do it with my brother, but since he was 5years older, he'd usually be off in his room anyways when it was time for her to sit on the living room floor with me and see what i got.

she wouldn't buy them all, usually just the ones i hated and the ones she loved(tho i wouldn't give them all over for money if i liked them), then she'd share them with my brother too. whatever she let me keep, she'd put into a bowl in the kitchen cupboard. each day if my bloodsugar was really good, she'd let me have ONE candy from the bowl after i ate lunch.

as i got older, i of course snuck candies when she wasn't looking. haha.

by the time i was 12 or so, she gave up on trading me money, but her and my brother still took all the candies i didn't like. i was still not allowed to pig out, but regardless the night of, she'd always let me have a couple of my favourites before bed.


instead of getting a thing of chocolate, my mom always gave me little gifts and comics. she did the same with my brother, but of course he always ended up with a bit more chocolate than i did..but i got more gifts than he did. i still got the big easter bunny my brother would get, but she did the same thing as halloween, where i only got a piece if my blood sugar was good.


instead of candy in the stocking, it was the same thing as easter..extra little gifts! otherwise, i ate what everyone else was eating and just corrected later on(this was before carb coutning, i was on fixed doses each meal. i didn't start carb counting til almost 2years ago..so 13years after being diganosed.)


it worked pretty good haha. by the time christmas came, my halloween candy was almost gone. by the time easter came, same with my christmas chocolate. haha.

When I was first diagnosed lots of my family bought me sugar free candy on holidays. Very thoughtful and all, but has almost the same amount of carbs as real candy and can lead to some major tummy aches. I dunno what kind of insulin and what not your son is on, but I eat the candy and take the extra insulin for it. I know that might not be what you want to hear, but I love chocolate and I see no problem on splurging during the holidays. It takes a little extra calculating to figure out how many carbs are in everything, but in my oppinion I don't see any reason why a type one diabetic can't eat candy for Halloween :) However, for holidays like easter and christmas my mom did a lot like Batt's and gave me more little presents and stuff in my basket/stocking rather than candy.

That is something that never happened to me.  The exchange thing that is.  I would just space it out over several days and sometimes freeze the chocate stuff for later.  Halloween is my favorite holiday and I don't really pay attention to any others.  Just correct for what I was going to have and not shovel it all in over a short period of time.  I can't stand the sugar free candy because it destroys my stomach, blast you sorbitol.  I know I once kept a chocolate easter bunny in the freezer for several months when I was a kid.

While Ignoring all other holidays was easy, ignoring Halloween was my "favoritist" holiday, and still is. There is nothing like spending DAYS on your costume to look so blastedly cool that all the kids wearing pirate costumes are jealous of you wearing a full beard and goats horns and calling my self Pan. I digress. I normally just gave all of my candy to my other siblings and saved a handful of my favorites for my consumption for the next few lows.

However I was a tad older, but I think that your money for carbs plan is great! Having your childing count up the carbs and how much money he gets in return sounds perfectly reasonable. Also figuring out were to give the candy away to will also be important. you really don't want it stored away on the shelf.

For Halloween, we did several different things:

1. Went trick or treating and spaced the candy out so I wasn't eating a whole bunch at once

2. Went to a movie or another fun activity instead

3. Instead of trick or treating, I would get to pick out a toy

4. We collected non-perishable donations for our food pantry. I still got to dress up, but instead of candy, I got food to give to the poor. My parents handed out a flyer a couple days in advance to all the houses in our neighborhood so they would be ready on halloween. I actually ended up with 2 wagon-fulls. It was pretty incredible.


Christmas/Easter/Other Holidays...

Eat whatever I want and take extra insulin for it :o) Holidays aren't everyday, so I got to treat myself every now and then.

My kid is not a big "sweets" eater, plus this past Halloween was her first one after diagnosis (and she got her braces on about 2 weeks after she was diagnosed, so that eliminated a lot of the candy without it having to be because of diabetes), so a lot of the candy went with me to work for all my coworkers to pig out on, like it normally does. Hannah picked out the candy she liked, and we kept it. It was packed into her cold lunches as her dessert, and other stuff was set aside as a way to help treat lows (smarties, sweet tarts, pixie sticks etc.)

One of the coolest thing that happened, about 2 weeks before Halloween, though, was that our CDE sent us a pack of papers in the mail, about 4 sheets, front and back, listing all the carbs in the typical Halloween candy (bite sized AND the mini size). She said she updates it and sends it out every year so that the kids don't have to miss out on the candy. I had a harder time dealing with the classroom parties (Halloween, Christmas and Valentines Day) and figuring out carbs and what they were serving than I did with the actual "Trick or Treat" bounty!

My daughter got in at age 5 and is now 8 and we have done this for the last 3 years for Halloween:

  • She goes trick or treating like everyone else or festival at church and collects candy.
  • Then she leaves it for the "Pumpkin Fairy" at the foot of her bed. (she really knows it is us but it is fun for her to pretend)
  • The "Pumpkin Fairy" comes while she is sleeping and takes the candy and leaves a toy in it's place.
  • We tell her the more candy she collects and gives to the fairy the bigger toy she gets (usually a DS game or Barbie)
  • Her older brother who is 3 years older has opted to do the same thing too every year- they volunteer to do it because they want the toy.
  • Sometimes she keeps a few pieces too and  then we just space it out giving it to her.

When she gets older, I'll do the money thing because I don't know how long she will be into the "Fairy" thing, but so far and probably for little ones, it has worked really well.

For Easter, I give her a basket with a few toys, one little .99 chocolate bunny and sugarfree gum- she loves gum!  I do the same for her non diabetic brother.

For Christmas stocking- little toys, sugarfree gum, etc.. maybe just one little chocolate santa.

And far as eating sweets at the parties, just let her have a little/moderate amount and give her extra insulin for it.

And forget about the sugarfree stuff!! I'll never forget letting her have a piece of sugarfree apple pie with sugarfree icecream because one of the relatives went to all of the trouble of making the pie homemade with who knows how much sorbitol and bringing the icecream for her and me- I am a T1 too (the mom) and I know better to not eat too much of that stuff and really it has carbs anyway!!! but I didn't want to hurt their feelings so she and I both had it- Well, she was 6 and I was 42 and my tummy was a little bothered, but her gas pains were so extreme that she was crying all the way home in severe pain.  I felt sooo bad and determined to stand firm and show sincere appreciation when someone goes out of their way to do something like that for us, but will have to speak up and politely tell them no.  

So moderation is the key with holidays so they learn good eating habits regardless of the diabetes and we definitely have to compromise on these holidays and try not to be stressed about it- even though it is stressful!

The problem I have is not so much with the holidays because that is expected, but with everyday life!!  Everyone still overindulges all the time- at school (treats are still offered all the time- even though Calif. passed a law regarding no candy in classroom this year!)- at church at each other's homes!! Everyday life is hard to always keep having to say no, but it is a reality that one has to learn to deal with.

It is so good you are already thinking ahead and you care so much about your son.  All we can do is do the best we can by them.



I, too, stressed the holidays with my son. He was dx at 5, soon to be six. 

For Easter, we tied a ribbon on his basket; the Easter Bunny would know he was a diabetic because of the ribbon.  He got books, games, stuffed animals, fruit ( I would put different things like star fruit, a coconut.....; things we normally do not buy) and some small pieces of chocolate I could work into his diet.

For Halloween-  I had bought and wrapped gifts ahead of time because he was always coming home from school with candy......and I would let him exchange candy for a gift.  I went out and bought things he would like and wrapped them and just stored them in a closet until he needed to do an exchange.  I also "paid" for the candy from him after I let him pick out a few pieces to keep for lows and to work  into his diet.  I always let him choose a gift or money.  If he picks money, I make sure we go to the store so he can spend it.

Christmas was the worst for me, because I make candy!  I have been making and giving candy as gifts for the last 20 years.  I work some into his diet.  His stocking is filled with fruit(big apple, a pear, he got a pineapple one year...), nuts, toys, small gifts.

Valentines Day- he got to pick a gift or exchange for money

I really found the worst part to be school, not home.  I could control home, it was getting the call that "Mrs. What'sherface just brought in cupcakes, what can we do"? that was so difficult.  The junkfood coming from school is ridiculous. That was where the wrapped gifts came in handy.

Hope this helps!



what we do with my daughter is we go to winco and get a big bag of sugar free candy( granted the sugar free candy still has carbs just not as many) and my husband trades her a piece for a piece and they both win bc my husband loves candy as much as she does but she still gets to eat it. and im not sure if its the same with every kid but loma linda informed us two halloweens ago that any food/candy that is completly sugar free you can take the carbs and divide them in two so if it has 10g carbs and 0g sugar you only count for 5g carbs and honestly i prefer the sugar free candy is better in my book. lol


If it makes you feel better, my (non-diabetic) sisters and I never really cared about limited candy on Halloween b/c my Mom was just very matter-of-fact and that was the way it was. She'd let us each keep 10 (or 15 or whatever) pieces of candy and then buy the rest back from us. She didn't make us feel sorry for ourselves -- she just said candy is unhealthy and that's that!

I never have a problem with those tiny Halloween pieces (the bite size) of chocolate b/c they are so small, esp if Im not already on the high side.

I agree with others that school is tough. But, am I wrong in remembering that you homeschool? I remember in 4th grade feeling very special b/c my teacher remembered my D and got me sugar-free gum instead. (:

Honestly, Thanksgiving is a bigger problem for me than Halloween because the carbs are all at once rather than small pieces spread over time! I usually just take an obscene dose of humalog, figure it's once a year, limit desserts, and hope for the best.

Hey, Sarah,

I guess being a health-nut ogre mom all these years has some benefit; they all already know I don't like having lots of sweets around.  And, honestly, his brothers have been cool about the additional sugar rationing for William's sake.

Yes, we homeschool...thank goodness.  I'm not sure I would be comfortable sending him to school three months after dx.  Of course, I'm not comfortable sending them to school anyway, or I wouldn't be homeschooling :)

Thanksgiving and Christmas should be interesting.  Hubby always bakes huge numbers of pies, mostly to give away, but we always seem to have too many lying around.  New Years and Superbowl will probably be more of a challenge, though.  We usually end up hosting parties, and the carbs are flowing like Niagra Falls.  William is notorious for standing over the serving bowl and "chipping out".  Just one more excuse to serve healthier party foods :)


for halloween, i went trick or treating. i got to eat my candy, i just had to fit it in with the meal pplan(i was on fixed doses then). but i ate very little of it. and for everything else it was the same but i knew how to adjust my insulin. unlike last year, i still have chocolat from christmas though. last year i ate all my christmas chocolate in a few days. and i had a lot of it.

Monique!  OMG....I love you!!   My teen just LOVES candy....in fact one of the first things he said after he was well enough after dxd was "Wish I would have had a heads up on the "betes" so I could have had on last LARGE bag of Sour Patch Kids"!

Laughing with you


I got my hole familly to help out we went around coluting non parishabol goods for the way staion by me. and i dont remember the number of how much but the frist year we filled the very back of the van with all seats in. next year we had to take out the seats to put the stuff in then the last year we did it we filled the back ened of the pt cruser.

so the frist and last at least 250 iteams the the second year say about 379 or so around that.

This will be our 3rd holiday season (Halloween thru New Year's Day).  Both of my daughters, ages 9 and 7, have T1.   The trick or treating part was not the hard part.  The girls and our son (doesn't have T1) understand that I just don't allow that much candy.  They can keep their favorites and I let them pick one piece for their dessert.  The rest goes with dad to his office or to the secretary at the school.

Now the hardest part is the school parties.  My children go to a private school, where I teach.  My husband and I send out a letter at the beginning of the year to all the parents.   In this letter we ask that parents give us a heads up, if they are bringing a special treat to school for a birthday.  We THOUGHT this would make last year easier, but unfortunately most parents did not call or email a "heads up".   My 3rd grader understood that she just could not have the treats.  Her teacher and I kept a stash of treats that had the carb count on it.  My daughter in kindergarten, spent most kids birthdays in tears, even with her special treat mom brought.   It is so difficult to watch your child cry and ask why she has to have diabetes. 

Any suggestions on making the school experience easy????  Send them my way please!


i have a suggestion :) ease up and let your kid have a treat once in a while. i don't think i went to a single birthday party and ended up in tears. my slice of cake may have been smaller, but i was NEVER singled out as the "odd duckling" which resulted in me NOT ending up in tears for getting teased because I couldn't eat what the other kids were having. i base the fact that my mom was told from the beginning by the doctors to allow me treats like the other kids at parties, as the reason i didn't go through a "depressed diabetic" teenage faze and have never stopped taking insulin because of being depressed about having diabetes.

it's not going to kill them. and if you guys are carb counting(I wasn't at the time, but I would still get a shot with a few units), just give them an extra shot(i'm assuming you are all going to the parties generally as well like my mom did when there were school parties like that or friends birthday parties).


doesn't diabetes rob kids of a normal childhood as it is?

Batts has a point.  We had three birthday partes within the first month or so of our son's dx (including HIS), and I let him have cake and ice cream at each of them, just giving additional insulin to cover it.  In contrast to one of his friends who as a life-threatening milk allergy, and can't eat ANYTHING at ANY party EVER, on pain of death (literally).  Her mom brought special non-diary cup cakes to our son's birthday party, and brings special food for her everytime they go anywhere, including dinner at our house.  Dining at a restaurant is impossible, because even non-dairy dishes can be contaminated in the kitchen.  So, anytime I get a little too tense about our son's T1, I think about our sweet, beautiful little friend and what she and her mom, my friend, deal with every day.  BTW, this mom has been of my most rock-steady sources of support during our transition; she's totally "been there", and knows what we're going through.  And, she's used our son as an example of a child who's had to overcome "needle fear" when her daughter had to have her annual allergy testing done.

Anyway, the birthday parties and "surprise" treats are not so much a concern for me as having 15 lb of sugar walk through the front door on Oct 31st.  I think letting all of the kids hold on to their favorites, and selling the rest to me, is a good strategy for having most of the sugar disappear with minimal fuss (of course, finding someplace to send all that candy, when my husband works from home and I'm a FT homeschooling mom, that's a challenge in and of itself).  Maybe I'm not a good T1 mom, but I still let the kids ask for a lollipop at the bank drive-through and at the barber shop.  A little sugar goes a long way toward achieving family peace :)


P.S.  Some of the best Easter baskets I've found have been at Costco; usually they're big, and have lots of great non-sugar, active stuff in them.  Last year I "re-wrapped" them to reduce the sugar count, and the kids were all thrilled.  Sneaky mom, I know :)


ya now what batss is rite i do that to i eat stuff like cake and candy but my insulin is not far from me no rilly its not its in a pump. so let loose a little there kids let them be free but make sure they take there insulin rite afer they eat it.

[quote user="Nancy Quigley"]

Monique!  OMG....I love you!!   My teen just LOVES candy....in fact one of the first things he said after he was well enough after dxd was "Wish I would have had a heads up on the "betes" so I could have had on last LARGE bag of Sour Patch Kids"!

Laughing with you



Yeah, I have a really hard time resisting that Costco-sized container of Jelly Belly's once it's opened, especially after a "stress" day. (Curse hubby for bringing the darn things home, but I guess that's what I get for leaving the Costco shopping to him).   But, I remind myself how many units of Humalog I'd have to be injecting with each handfull if I were T1, and that helps temper my appetite.  Gotta set a good example, and all.  Chips, on the other hand..... :)