Halloween Fun for Kids with Kidney Disease
Spooky spiders and ghosts galore! Don't let your child's kidney disease get in the way of Halloween festivities. Scare the kids but not the kidneys with Halloween activities and sweets that the whole family can enjoy.
- Trick-or-treat? Walking around the neighborhood while trick-or-treating is a good way to incorporate physical activity. Safety first, of course!
- Sugar high! Kids with kidney disease can still enjoy many Halloween treats and candies, but moderation is key. If you need to limit the amount of dietary potassium and phosphorus, here are some general tips to help. Most hard, gummy and chewy candies are okay, including gummy bears, jelly beans, taffy, Starburst®, and Skittles®. Caramel contains a moderate amount of phosphorus, so candies with caramel are usually okay, but portion control is especially important. Avoid candies with chocolate and/or nuts – including peanut butter (high in phosphorus and potassium), and coconut (high in potassium).
*As always, please speak with your physician and renal dietitian to see what's right for you and your body. If you have diabetes, please note that these candies consist of mostly sugar, so please consult your dietitian regarding carbohydrate counting before consuming any of these sweets.*
- Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Dressing up in costumes is fun for all. Not sure what you want to be? Consider a family theme in which everyone's costumes relate to one another or try the do it yourself (DIY) approach to create something unique. Still at a loss? Dress up as a kidney and send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to share or tag us on Facebook @NationalKidneyFoundation.
- Visit a pumpkin patch or haunted house. Take a hay ride to explore the pumpkin patch or fill your day with frights at the haunted house. Often community zoos and farms offer haunted houses and hay rides during the season and are open on the weekends, so plan ahead to work around dialysis schedules. Apple cider is kidney-friendly and will surely warm you up during a visit!
- Host a pumpkin decorating party. Carving jack-o-lanterns may not be clean fun (after all it's one of the messiest Halloween activities), but many kids would agree it's one of the most fun! Invite friends over and host a decorating party. And don't forget about the inside of the pumpkin — pumpkin seeds are a great super food and pumpkin puree can be used in cooking. For those with kidney disease, it's important to note that pumpkin seeds are high in potassium and phosphorus. If you or your child need to limit these ingredients in your diet, check with your doctor or renal dietitian to see if pumpkin seeds are okay.
Special thanks to Karen Dunker, RD for her contributions to this article.