Halloween and Diabetes
Kids with diabetes face a challenge on Halloween: what to do with all the candy. While their friends are busy gorging on their trick-or-treat booty, kids with diabetes are often asked to be more careful. That doesn't mean that kids with diabetes shouldn't enjoy the treats -- they should. The issue is integrating the treats into the child's meal plan so as to minimize the disruption in blood glucose control. With fast acting insulins like NovoLog, Humalog, and Fiasp, more and more families simply integrate candy into their child's meal plan. (See our poll about Halloween from October 2017.)
There are many possible approaches to helping kids with diabetes enjoy Halloween, including:
- Plan ahead. Sit with your child ahead of time and come up with a game plan. Manage expectations and set ground rules, but also don’t forget to listen to your child and let them participate in the decision making.
- Exchange some of the candy collected while trick-or-treating with something else, such as a small toy or money. Younger kids might like this, especially since they can get something more permanent than candy.
- Donate some of the candy collected to a local children's hospital or your local American Diabetes Association. Many dental clinics have a candy exchange program; they will trade you cash for your candy which they will send to the troops overseas. Older kids might feel good about helping others.
- Keep selected candy and fit it into your child's meal plan. With carbohydrate counting and a fast-acting insulins, you can easily accommodate candy into a well-balanced diet.
Alternatives to Candy
Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, a campaign that encourages the handing out of non-candy treats to raise awareness of dietary restrictions, food allergies, and promote inclusivity.
Some families give out Halloween-themed pencils, small plastic bugs, glow-in-the-dark rubber balls, or other small toys instead of candy. These kinds of items are readily available at local party-supply stores, or via mail-order from places like Amazon or Oriental Trading Company.
Carbohydrate Values for Common Candies
Candy Size/Package Carbs (g) 3 Musketeers 16 gram fun-sized bar 12g 3 Musketeers 2.13 oz bar 46g Baby Ruth 2 oz. bar 37g Baby Ruth 1 fun size 17g Blow Pop sucker One sucker 13g Butterfinger 2 oz. bar 41g Butterfinger 22 gram-fun sized bar 15g Candy corn 15 pieces 15g Dum Dum suckers One sucker 5g Gummy Bears 11 pieces 30g Heath Bar 1.4 oz. bar 25g Hershey's Almond 3 minis 15g Hershey's Almond 1.45oz. bar 20g Hershey's Kisses 6 pieces 16g Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar snack size 10g Jolly Rancher 1 piece 6g Kit Kat bar 3 piece bar 10g KitKat 1.5 oz. package 26g Licorice 3 6-inch Twizzlers 15g M&M's "Halloween" mini box 10g M&M's, plain mini pack 15g M&M's, plain 1.69 oz bag 34g M&M's, peanut mini pack 13g M&M's, peanut 1.74 oz bag 30g M&M's, peanut butter 1.69 oz bag 27g Milky Way 2.15 oz bar 43g Milky Way fun-sized bar 14g Nestle's Cruch 1.5 oz 28g Nestle's Crunch 4 mini bars 26g Reese's Cups 2 regular-sized 1 oz cups 18g Reese's mini cups 4 1-oz mini cups 16g Skittles 15 pieces 15g Skittles mini pack 17.5g Snicker's fun size 12g Snickers 2.07 oz. bar 36g Snickers 20-gram fun-sized bar 12g Starburst 4 pieces 16g Sweet Tarts mini packs - 5 packs 13g Tootsie Pop 1 pop 16g Tootsie Roll midgets 12 30g Tootsie Rolls 2 bars 23g Twix 2 2-oz. cookies 37g Warheads 5 13g Whoopers 8 Pieces 15g Whoppers 1 small pouch 16g Wonka Pixie Stix Each (about 6 in. in length) 2g
Other Halloween Information
- Gluten Free Candy List (PDF)
- Candy and Carbs List (PDF)
- Enjoying Halloween When You Have Diabetes by the ADA
- Trick-of-Treat for Diabetes by Kim Gosselin is a book about Halloween and kids with diabetes.
Posted 19 October 1999
Updated 9 October 2018
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