The Trick-or-Treating Diabetic

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

Growing up we were a normal all-American family. When Halloween came around we’d all get excited about costumes and trick-or-treating. I remember one year I was a gypsy, one year I was an acrobat, one year I was a black cat… Anyway, I get asked sometimes how we handled the loot from trick-or-treating with two of us kids being type 1 diabetics.

Most of the time the loot is nothing but carb packed sweets, no self-respecting diabetic or parent of a diabetic would touch that crap, right?

Honestly that really depends on the diabetic or their parent. If you can portion it out and only eat a little bit at a time and bolus properly then you’ll be fine. But that’s not how it went down in our home. In our home we went trick-or-treating and had fun and got our loots. Then we came home and traded with mom. She would get our candy (we, of course, got to keep what was not food, and what was OK to eat for diabetics) and trade it for diabetic friendly stuff, healthy treats, toys, etc. I actually looked forward to that because usually what we got from the trade was more awesome than the loot from trick-or-treating… and mom got a bunch of candy just because she had diabetic kids, LOL, win-win.

There are a lot of reasons why we worked it the way we did.

1.Back then we didn’t do the whole carb count, bolus based on BG, etc. We had set times and doses for insulin and that was it. So diets were much more strict and there definitely were foods that were evil, bad, no-no, never!

2.Why in the hell would you not let your kid be involved with normal childhood activities just because they are diabetic? It’s like rubbing in their face that they are different. It’s making them feel sub-human.

3.If you let your child do what all the other kids do and then take away their loot but don’t give them something in return then you are a meanie. 'Nuf said.

The point here is that my parents didn’t want us to feel different, bad, sick, sub-human, restricted, deprived, or anything negative because we were diabetic. So they did the best they could with the knowledge and tools of the time to give us a normal childhood while keeping us healthy. And I think it worked out just fine.

Happy Halloween, y’all!


My mother always made Easter baskets with round soaps that looked like eggs, and other fun bath stuff. I was a 10-12 year girl and thought that was much better than a chocolate Easter egg…

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Luckily we have so much more flexibility these days. My daughter uses a pump and CGM (Dexcom), so she can be a “normal” kid on Halloween just like before her Type 1 diagnosis. For us, there has been no significant change in her Halloween “routine”: I still let her eat as much candy as she likes. She just pre-boluses the correct amount of insulin and she’s good to go.


Great story! Kudos to your mom, who was obviously very caring as well as creative.

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In my family we did something similar yours, @Tamra11, except that I would SELL my candy to the rest of the family. I have two siblings, neither of whom have diabetes, and after we went trick-or-treating I would arrange my candy on the floor according to what was “good”, “medium” and “bad” (big chocolate bars and Reeses cups were the best, hard candies not so great…). Then I’d tell everyone how much I would charge for the pieces in each category. I used my earnings to buy myself a toy. I loved it!!