A common misconception about children with diabetes is that they cannot enjoy candy and sweets, especially during Halloween. The Child Life Team at the Joslin Diabetes Center has provided tips for Halloween planning and handling treats for children with diabetes.

Parents are encouraged to discuss Halloween plans with their child, including what to do with leftover candy. Children with diabetes are able to enjoy trick-or-treating at Halloween if they know how much candy they can keep and eat. Some families save the extra candy and put a piece or two in their child’s lunch box each day, or use it to treat low blood glucose reactions; however, parents should take care not to use candy with a lot of fat, such as chocolate bars, for hypoglycemia treatments. Other families work out an exchange plan in which children with diabetes can trade in their candy for other special items, such as small toys or a family outing.

Another idea is to plan Halloween activities that do not revolve around sweets. These include: 

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  • Playing Halloween games, such as “pumpkin, pumpkin, jack-o-lantern” (a variation on “duck, duck, goose”)
  • Making arts and crafts projects
  • Cooking a savory Halloween snack

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Children with diabetes can participate in Halloween activities similar to other children, but it is important for parents to help their child enjoy special memories while keeping diabetes management in mind.


Halloween and diabetes: Tips for handling treats [press release]. Joslin Diabetes Center. 2017. Accessible at: http://www.joslin.org/info/halloween_and_diabetes_tips_for_handling_treats.html