How to Manage Your Child’s Special Needs on Halloween

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Planning ahead for Halloween can help you and your family have a healthy, safe and fun holiday –particularly when your child has allergies or is managing a disease like diabetes.

Here are a few tips to help your family and your child have a fun and healthy Halloween:

Manage trick-or-treating

Just because your child goes trick-or-treating doesn’t mean they have to eat all the goodies at once. Once you’ve sorted through their candy and decided what is safe for them to eat, and when it’s safe to eat it, come up with a fun plan and share it with them. This helps manage their expectations and gives them something to look forward to, while reassuring them that you are not just taking away their treats.

You can also have other treats available for your child to exchange for the candy. Small toys or snacks, for instance, can be just as enticing as candy and keep the child active instead of eating.

Substitute other treats 

When explaining that some candy can cause them to become sick, be prepared to provide alternatives. Or make trading the candy part of a game or fun activity.  Consider making alternative snacks and let your child help during the process. Delicious and creative snacks include:

  • Rainbow-colored Goldfish crackers
  • Popcorn inside decorated bags
  • Sugar free candies
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lantern
  • Creative spooky snacks
  • Small toys/games

You can also consider giving away something besides candy at your house for Halloween in support of your child – in fact, this is a growing trend. Organizations like the Teal Pumpkin Project (http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project) help promote allergy awareness and inclusion.

Shift focus away from candy

Remind your child that there is so much more to Halloween than loads of candy gathered from the trick-or-treat activities. Plan Halloween activities that do not involve sweets such as bobbing for apples and “pumpkin, pumpkin, Jack-o-lantern (a variation of “duck, duck, goose”),  You can also make Halloween-themed arts and crafts.

Remember, candy is just a small part of Halloween. By planning creative activities and alternative treats, you can help shift the focus off diabetes and onto enjoying the celebration.

 

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