What sugary hell is this?

Photo by Łukasz Nieścioruk on Unsplash

The trick or treat edition for all parents

Like many parents of a certain age in the UK I never went trick or treating in our neighbourhood when I was younger. That was just something that happened in American movie’s (I reference one of my all-time favourite’s E.T.). However, in more recent years it has become a tradition to go trick or treating. Now you might be thinking what a nightmare (on Elm Street – :-)) if you have a child who is type 1 diabetic and you’d be right. But to be honest the amount of sweets for any child on a night like Halloween is a nightmare for all parents that don’t want to be peeling their children down off the ceiling from a sugar rush. You might also be under the impression that because our lady is type 1 diabetic, she can’t have any sweets at all. That is a myth (much to our daughter’s relief). She can eat any sweet as much as the next child, it’s just a little more complicated. You need to really think about what is being put into the body and make sure you count the carbohydrates of each item of food, so you can calculate how much insulin is needed. However, when you start really looking at the labels of all foods and the carb content, it can have a tendency to horrify you as to how much sugar we all put into our bodies. I do find it’s ruined my guilty pleasure of having biscuits with my tea – and I have a lot of tea. I now try to cut back on that sweet treat (most of the time!).

Photo by Sarah Gualtieri on Unsplash

Obviously, this year is very different for everyone with the impact of COVID-19. We won’t be going out, but we will give some little treats to our two and possibly walk around to see the houses that are decorated. However, how would we approach this in the future as groups of friends go around terrifying, sorry I mean charming the neighbours? I’ve been thinking about this and chatting with my other half and here’s what I think might work. Our plan for both our type 1 lady and her brother who isn’t type 1 (but we’d like him to keep his teeth a bit longer) is as follows:

  1. Use a shallow container to give the impression of a huge bundle of sweets.
  2. Not knocking on every door that has a pumpkin lit in the doorway (I’ll see how long we can get away with that one).
  3. Bartering – trying to exchange a high carb sweet for a low carb one when we get home.

The main key to my ‘impending success’ is that when we return home, we will put the sweets in a cupboard and let them know they can have a sweet if they are good.  This will go on for no longer than a week, regardless of the amount that has been collected. The remainder of the sweets will find their way into the treat’s cupboard for future bartering. 

So now what?  We have a stash of goodies, how do we carb count such small packs of sweets that have no labels I hear you cry?  We used to google and do our best to work it out. However, I’ve recently found an excellent site supported by the NHS called DigiBete that tells you what to plan for on a night out trick or treating and has set out the carbs for the most popular sweets. If you have a type 1 hero that would find this helpful you can download a copy here.

So, to conclude, what sugary hell is this? Well I think it’s a fun sugary minefield for all parents and with a bit of planning and access to the right knowledge, fun can be had by all. If you have any top tips, I’d love to hear them so I can start preparing now.  

Have a fun Halloween and remember kids (and parents), eat sweets responsibly.


I write about caring for an amazing child who is type 1 diabetic as well as writing children’s fiction. This article is also featured on Medium


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