Although I’ve never been fond of dressing up in costumes, I am a big fan of Halloween. With the children grown and out of the house, I don’t buy pumpkins anymore or do much decorating. But I love the chill in the air, the blowing leaves, and the constant ringing of the doorbell with ghosts, skeletons, princesses, and action heroes awaiting hand-outs of whatever bounty Target or Costco has enticed me to buy.
But wait! I have diabetes. This year is my 37th Halloween with Type 1 and believe me, I have consumed more than my fair share of Snickers, Peanut M&M’s, Almond Joys, and Kit Kats. More than once between trips to the front door, I’ve munched on a candy treat with the plan of having just one. Not once have I ever stopped at one. As I have mentioned in numerous blog posts, I don’t do moderation well when it comes to chocolate. But I am still naive enough to give it a try every year.
Minnesota women are famous for the vast quantities of food we provide at potluck suppers. Fear of running out of hot dish, jello salad, or snicker doodles is handed down from generation to generation. It is therefore genetically impossible for me to risk running short on Halloween candy. I have no choice but to toss one or two extra bags of Hershey bars into the cart and thus ensure that the glut of candy extends well into November.
In recent years I have worked hard to reduce the amount of junk food I eat. I have no doubt that carb restriction is one of the most powerful tools I have for reducing the range of my blood glucose excursions. I am miles away from eating a perfect diet but I continue to strive to do better every day. At the same time I strongly believe that the health of our nation and our children is negatively impacted by the glut of fast-acting carbs. Not only is crap food not good for people with diabetes; it is not good for anyone. Oh sure, Halloween is just one day so let’s forget good nutrition and just have a treat. The problem with treats is that they are everyday occurrences in our world and they long ago stopped being an isolated indulgence.
So you probably think that I am on my way to being a Bah Humbug Scrooge of Halloween. A despicable know-it-all neighbor screaming obscenities at pets and children. A grouchy old lady wearing curlers and a faded housecoat in a suburban cul de sac. The Witch of Minneapolis.
And you are wrong!
Last year I decided to quit handing out candy and buy sugarless gum and stickers instead. I went to Costco and spent about three times my normal Halloween budget on packs of sugarless gum. Not small packs, but full packs with 14-18 pieces of gum. I also bought sheets of stickers to attach to bags of Goldfish crackers for the youngest goblins. It was a huge success and almost every trick-or-treater was thrilled to receive “a whole pack of gum!” The little ones were equally pleased with stickers.
It was a small victory for my psyche and I am proud to have made a statement and walked the walk of my convictions. After last year’s victory, I decided to repeat the sugarless gum handout this year and hope that this will continue to be my Halloween tradition. One thing that I will not do this year is indulge in leftover goodies. I had not chewed gum in recent years before enjoying some of the extra gum last year. It seemed like a fine idea until I pulled out a filling and broke a tooth. A new crown and a thousand dollars later, I decided that Halloween should end when the doorbell stops ringing. All excess treats, whether gum or chocolate, should either self-destruct or be thrown to the birds.