This winter, DiabetesMine will be turning 13. So you might say we're getting a little old for Trick-or-Treating. But like death and taxes, Halloween just keeps coming around, nonetheless.
Actually it's a favorite time of year at my house, because it corresponds with my youngest daughter's birthday, and we love to dress up and decorate. Still, the endless candy everywhere is quite distracting (damn you, Reese's!) Suffice it to say that I used my Afrezza liberally at our big party Saturday night.
Anyhoo, with Halloween Night 2017 almost upon us, let's review "everything you need to know" in advance of this sugar-laden creep-fest, shall we?
Yes, you can work diabetes into your costume fun. Just look at this pink insulin pump getup. Gotta love it!
Speaking of costumes that only people with diabetes will understand, see this list from ASweetLife.
We've seen some jokes about "scary diabetes" costumes on Twitter. ICYMI, we actually went there in our Sunday Funnies this weekend with REALLY Scary Diabetes Halloween Costumes.
Meanwhile, if you're serious about dressing up with a diabetes theme, go straight to Top 5 diabetes Halloween costumes (and how to make them) from Carb DM. This includes a blood drop costume and even a Blue Circle for diabetes awareness!
OK, let's get real: at this point you've only got ONE DAY LEFT to figure out your costume this year. So if you're a procrastinator, we strongly recommend clicking over to this list of 36 last-minute DIY costumes that are (mostly) easy, clever and fun!
Candy Treats (and Fear Thereof)
Now, on to the REAL challenge... so much sugar everywhere.
For one idea, check out these 10 Yummy Sugar-Free Halloween Treats from our mother ship Healthline. They are not carb-free but definitely cut down on the damage. We especially like the idea of Skinny Pumpkin Spice Lattes made with Stevia. Also, Diabetes Daily always delivers on great D-friendly recipes for Halloween.
Flashback to 2013, when we gave away two especially yummy sugar-free candies that work for Trick-or-Treating. They don't call it "Unreal Candy" for nothing; it's got an average of 40% less sugar on a product-to-product basis than regular candy, and the portion sizes are 15% smaller than the name-brand competition, so you can enjoy without overdoing it.
Our weekly Ask D'Mine columnist Wil Dubois has written a lot about "Candy Fear." Check out this column in particular where he addresses being shamed by strangers for eating candy, and being told that you shouldn't take your T1D child Trick-or-Treating (say what?)
To be precise about carb counting on 65 common Trick-or-Treat candies (!), from 3 Musketeers to York Peppermint Patties, check out One Drop's Ultimate Halloween Candy Guide.
If you need some realistic candy rationing / coping strategies, go here: 13 Halloween Ideas for T1D Families, from T1 Everyday Magic.
And finally, note to self: it's always better to stick with real chocolate versus the stuff that's artificially altered to lower the "net carbs," as that stuff is packed with sugar alcohols that will mess with your digestive track. See Chocolate and Diabetes: The Case for Real Chocolate.
Short of scary violent clowns, the most frightening thing about this holiday is the fact that the onslaught of treats is so darn unhealthy. Halloween candy can mess with adults' stomachs in particular, and then there's the issue of tooth decay.
Do you use leftover Halloween candy for treating lows? You may want to rethink that strategy since we often neglect to brush our teeth post-hypoglycemia and dental hygiene is especially important to PWDs, as we're prone to dental conditions.
The "Halloween Hangover" is a known entity, and with diabetes, the Sugar Hangover can be especially bad post-glucose roller coaster. Let's try not to go there, please. It's a matter of not shrugging our shoulders and not trying...
Wil actually addressed this inertia problem in a Letter from the Grim Reaper at Halloween season last year. His conclusion? That most people in America are overworked, a little too sedentary, and overwhelmed with rich foods and marketing messages that "we deserve to indulge." For us PWDs, we're just burnt out on the 24/7 vigilance required, too. Ugh.
But we PWDs are also a resilient bunch, and somehow manage to soldier on and find some humor in the most unexpected places, like say, in our feature this weekend: A Diabetes Halloween Ghost Story: Haunted Insulin Pump.
'Everything in Moderation'
As they say, enjoy responsibly. And let's make sure the kids with diabetes still feel like normal people and get to partake in all!