Happy Halloween Week once again, Diabetes Community!

You got it, Folks -- with Oct. 31 just around the corner, this week we bring you the latest FEAR edition of our diabetes advice column, Ask D'Mine, that pops up this time of year. As always, it's hosted by longtime type 1 PWD, diabetes author and educator Wil Dubois. Wil has some advice on that perennial question: what to do when there's candy all aroundAskDMineJackOLantern us? And we also get a peek into Wil's odd costume mindset. Read on, if you dare...


{Need help navigating life with diabetes? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}


Jessie, type 1 from Ohio, writes: While at an event with my T1D-focused diabetes organization, we decided to give out small pieces of chocolate candy with a message on them. A woman came up and told us how appalled she was that a diabetes organization would give out candy. When I tried to explain that I have type 1 and that moderation is key, and fast-acting sugar is sometimes necessary in the event of a low, she shook her head and let us know she had type 2 and that we should be ashamed. Isn't this the problem? I for one am tired of feeling "ashamed." Ashamed for having diabetes and for trying to live as normal of a life as possible. It brought back feelings of a Walgreens experience when I was told by the clerk she couldn't sell me a s'mores snack mix because I have diabetes. How would you respond to this?

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: I knew something scary would happen for Halloween. Wow! What a great question. So many scary things to cover here! Candy at diabetes events. Manners and etiquette. How to fix lows. Shame and assumptions. Ignorance and arrogance.

Innovation 2015

Trick or Treat! Let's dig in.

Well, first and foremost, I'd be remiss in not pointing out that chocolate is actually a piss-poor solution to a low blood sugar. Dark chocolate has been shown to be good for heart health, cholesterol, memory, and for the soul; but it's a bad choice for hypoglycemia. Chocolate doesn't generally have all that much sugar in it, and what sugar it does have is slowed down by the fat in the candy. So nice try on the rationalization for chocolate as a hypoglycemia treatment. Please stick to fast-acting Skittles or LifeSavers in the future. Or, you know, proper glucose.Scary Candy Bowl

Now let's consider the offended type 2. Well, OK, you gotta admit that a diabetes-focused organization can be seen in an odd light giving out candy. I mean, really, was that the best choice? Now don't get your feathers ruffled. You're not the first. OmniPod manufacturer Insulet Corp. gives out replica chocolate pods at trade shows, in both milk and dark chocolate varieties. And even I have a sack of Dove Promises chocolates in my desk at work for those afternoon lows. No, not blood sugar lows. Mood lows. I find a bite-sized piece of smooth, creamy dark chocolate perks me right up. Plus the inside of the foil wrapper has a little message like a fortune cookie.

So there's nothing wrong with chocolate. But that said, the OmniPod folks are feeding mostly non-diabetic CDEs at trade shows, and I keep my stash hidden under a pile of prior authorization papers in a bottom desk drawer where no one will see it. You guys were out in the open, unashamedly among PWDs, for all to see.

That was bold. But was it smart?

You were angry that she said you should be ashamed. You're pissed off that she got in your face. You know what? I respect her moxie. She had the courage to come up to you, identify herself as a type 2, and ask you what the hell you thought you were doing giving candy away at a diabetes function. You are angry, I think, because you regarded her intrusion as rude. But we need to see it from her side. She perceived you as being rude, too. At least she tried to engage with you. I would love to see us once again become a civilized society where we can share our diverse views and thoughts openly, without attack or nastiness.

But, to quote the President, let me be clear: There is no right or wrong on the candy thing. That woman was entitled to her opinion, and bold to air it. It wouldn't have set me off, though. In fact, it would have tickled my sense of irony. But that's generally a sure sign that someone has engaged in an exercise of poor judgment: If I find it funny to my dark soul, then it will probably offend most normal people.

I certainly don't think you should be ashamed at trying to live an ordinary life. Not at all. That's a separate issue. But do I think that if you're going to mix candy and diabetes in public you'd better be ready to take some flak, just like American Diabetes Association did when it joined forces with corn syrup king Cadbury.

On the other hand, there's a big difference in my mind between the type 2 lady's behavior and the behavior of that drugstore clerk who refused to sell you sweets. You asked how I would have responded. In that case I would have gone ballistic. It's not for anyone else to judge what you buy. How on earth did she even know you were diabetic in the first place? (Privacy breach!) And even with that aside, the whole thing was way out of line. How would the clerk even know for whom you were buying the s'mores anyway? For all she knew you might be a Girl Scout troop leader. What's a fire circle without s'mores?? I would have torn her a new one and then spoken to her manager. Things like this just bring out the monster in me.

Shame lady was speaking her mind: I can admire that. Clerk lady was just plain effin' ignorant: that I can't abide.


Carmen, type 3 from Texas, writes: My mother doesn't think I should let my T1 daughter go Trick-or-Treating. What does Wil think?

Wil@Ask D'Mine aTrick or Treatnswers: That's crazy. Why in the world does she think such a thing? Is she worried about all that candy? That's shortsighted. Candy is incidental to Tick-or-Treating. It's a treasure hunt. It's about fantasy and community. It's about adventure after dark. Absolutely your little one should go out with the pack. It doesn't mean she will eat all 12 pounds of sugar she collects.

But set some rules. Agree in advance t0: 1) no grazing on the trail, 2) most of the loot needs to be re-gifted or disposed of, and 3) it's none of grandma's business.

And agree in advance to have a grand time.


Jeffery, type 1 from California, asks: I just have to know, what will Wil wear for Halloween?

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: Ninety percent of my patients come into my office and start every visit with the same line: "Well... I have a confession to make..."

So naturally, my number one choice for a Halloween costume would be a pair of black trousers, a black dress shirt, and a white priest's collar.

But I won't do it.

Why? Because there would be some little old lady who would think I was dissin' the priesthood, be offended, leave, never come back, and die a horrible death of diabetes complications.

OK. So maybe I've made myself out to be more indispensable to my patients' health than I really am, but a large part of my job is to build relationships with people. No point in taking action that could hurt that trust.

Of course there are all kinds of harmless costumes that could capture some small part of my inner fantasy life. I could dress as Hugh Heffner, for instance. Or Hemingway with his bottle. Or an African explorer. Indiana Jones, James Bond, a barnstorming pilot, a highway man, or the dictator of a banana republic.

Or a weatherman. That would be really scary.Uknown Halloween Costume

On the diabetes front, I could go as the diabetes police, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hypo. Or an Abbott blood glucose meter. Now that would be truly scary too!

But the truth is that I'm kinda, uhh... stiff. I take myself a little too seriously, at least in my professional capacity, to dress up as something I'm not in the workplace. I really wouldn't want my doctor coming into a treatment room dressed as the Black Death, so I can only assume many of my patients feel the same way.

That said, showing some degree of holiday spirit is a good thing. Last year I wore brown pants and a baggy bright orange shirt and told everyone I was diet candy corn. The year before that I wore a T-shirt that had a reproduction of the lungs and heart from the original 1858 Gray's Anatomy.

This year? I don't know.

Maybe I'll dress as an advice columnist.



This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.



Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.