Halloween is one of the best nights of the year for frights and delights. But for those with diabetes, Halloween can be a real scare. Many holiday festivities focus on candy and sweets, which are high in carbs and loaded with processed sugar – a sure recipe for blood sugar spikes. Many patients and parents of diabetic children find themselves in a tricky position: should you risk your health or skip Halloween entirely?

There is a third option, one that helps you stay safe and spooky. By planning ahead and staying flexible, your family can enjoy the Halloween fun without risking your health. Here are some tricks you’ll want to pull as you treat yourself to a spooktacular Halloween night.

Make a Plan.

Trying to wing your Halloween festivities is sure to send sugar levels (and tempers) soaring. Instead, make a family plan before the fun starts so everyone knows what to expect. Talk about your planned activities and how you will enjoy them safely. That could mean taking healthy treats to parties, limiting your trick-or-treating to a few houses, or planning your meals to account for extra carbs.

Savor your sweets, but sparingly.

The truth is, diabetics can indulge in their favorite treats, as long as it’s in moderation. Severe restrictions on sweets can actually backfire, leading to dangerous binges or sneaky behaviors. Pick out one or two of your favorite pieces and savor them slowly, then save the rest for future rewards.

Find some non-candy fun.

Candy isn’t the only sweet thing about Halloween! Emphasize non-food activities like decorating your home or yard, carving pumpkins, watching spooky movies, and choosing a killer costume.

Try non-candy treats.

If candy is your kryptonite, don’t trust yourself to leave it for the trick-or-treaters. Instead, consider handing out non-candy treats like stickers, bouncy balls, glow sticks, vampire teeth, etc. Not only will it help you avoid temptation, but it’s a great way to include kids with diabetes or food allergies in the Halloween fun. Be sure to put a teal pumpkin on your porch!

Count your carbs.

Halloween candy is full of carbohydrates; fun-sized candy bars have between 10 and 20 grams each, and a small bag of M&M’s has more than 30. Be aware of the carbs in each treat you consume and plan your diet accordingly. You may need to plan a day of low-carb meals to offset your candy run.

Time Your Treats.

Try to indulge in sweets and treats after eating a balanced meal. Because your body will be busy processing protein and fat, you’re less likely to experience a severe sugar swing.

Offer alternatives.

If your kids come home with buckets of candy, try trading their stash for alternative treasures like toys or games. Then, encourage them to donate the sweets to hospitals or nursing facilities to spread the sweetness around. There are even programs that send donated candy to troops overseas!

Test often.

You may need to ramp up your testing routine during the Halloween season, especially if you’re attending multiple celebrations. Regular testing will help you stay aware of how those extra sweets are affecting your sugar levels. But don’t let extra testing scare you – our diabetes testing supply program delivers quality supplies right to your door!

Stay Positive and Have Fun!

Focus on what you can enjoy rather than on what you can’t. By staying positive, planning ahead, and embracing the scary spirit, you can enjoy a Halloween night full of fun and (safe) fright.