For Halloween, 5-year-old Emma McCarty will dress as Supergirl. Though she may not have super powers in real life, her mom thinks she’s pretty special. "There’s just something different about kids with diabetes,” said Jennifer McCarty, vice president of program development for the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Emma was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old. "We try to treat her the same as any other kid. But she is wise beyond her years.” McCarty admires the mature way her child deals with diabetes. But for Emma, Halloween candy can be as dangerous as kryptonite is to Supergirl. Luckily, Emma doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. She’d rather trick-or-treat for her favorite food, pasta salad, than for candy. But her mom lets her have a moderate helping of candy. The McCartys just make sure to offset that candy with the right dose of insulin. Emma wears a pink pump that delivers insulin in just the dose she needs to offset any sugar or carbohydrates she’s eaten. It’s a constant job to monitor the insulin and Emma’s diet, but it’s one the family has grown accustomed to. And Emma knows when her blood sugar is too low — she said she feels tired and hungry. When her blood sugar is too high, she gets a headache. Beyond the symptoms of too high or too low blood sugar, failure to keep Emma’s insulin regulated could be fatal. "The bottom line is that she needs insulin to survive,” Jennifer said. Her recommendation to other parents dealing with type 1 diabetes and Halloween? "Let them be kids and have fun but try to be creative with the candy.” Type 1 diabetes strikes more than 15,000 American children each year, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. But by being creative and setting some ground rules, parents, friends and neighbors can make Halloween fun for their diabetic kids. "Halloween is a hard time for children with type 1 diabetes because they spend 11 months watching their diet and they are hit with a month where the entire focus is how much candy you can get,” said Sean Simpson, executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. "It’s hard to watch other kids tear into sacks of candy, but with a little preplanning, parents can make the holiday more enjoyable.” Following are some ideas from the Central Oklahoma chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for a happy and healthy Halloween. →Trade candy for cash or toys. Parents can often allow some candy on Halloween for their type 1 kids, but they also should have their child exchange the bulk of the candy for a toy that they really want. Parents also can buy back the collected candy with a coin for each piece. Older kids may appreciate their parents making a contribution to a charity like Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or another worthy cause. →Plan alternative activities and treats. Host a Halloween party and offer small toys such as glow-in-the-dark insects and Halloween-themed stickers and cause-related wristbands as treats. During the party, you can make popcorn balls, hand out sugar-free candy and other sugar-free treats. By placing the focus on fun and not food, the holiday can be better for everyone involved. →Inform teachers and nurses at your child’s school . Prepare your child, teachers and nurses with information about type 1 diabetes before Halloween. The holiday can be a teaching opportunity about health, science and diet. Some schools have used Halloween as an opportunity to calculate the carbohydrate counts for varied serving sizes of sweets, should there be a Halloween party in the classroom. →Take inventory. If you are going to allow your child candy, be sure to space out your distribution by having him pick out only a few things and eat one a day or on a supervised schedule.