Beware of Halloween tradition

Your kids have the perfect costume picked out and are anxiously awaiting Oct. 31 to show to the neighborhood.

But ghouls, goblins, witches and werewolves should be the least of your worries this Halloween. Candy, sugar-sweetened beverages and other sweet treats should really take the cake for scariest Halloween traditions.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity rates have dropped slightly in New Hampshire in recent years, but obesity continues to be a top health concern among parents.

Across the U.S., about one-third of children and teens are considered overweight or obese. There is still more to do to help treat and prevent childhood obesity, which can lead to other serious health concerns, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis,and some types of cancer.

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association offer these tips for a healthier Halloween:

? Eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. This will deter the urge to "snack" along the way.

? Make the occasion about physical activity. Plan a route around the neighborhood and stick to it.

? Be that mom. You know, the one who hands out boxes of yogurt-covered raisins, single servings of low-fat popcorn, low-salt pretzels or toys instead of candy.

? Pick the right size trick-or-treating bags. Skip the pillow case method and choose something moderate in size.

Here’s how to scare the "bad guys" away after your Halloween festivities:

? Avoid the urge to buy on-sale candy in grocery stores after Halloween.

? Portion candy to give kids one piece per day, and always serve with a healthy snack.

? "Buy back" candy from your kids for money or other fun prizes, such as a day at the zoo.

? Be on the lookout for dentist offices that buy back candy from their clients.