It’s Red Ribbon Week and it’s Halloween Week. In both cases, the message is safety.

Red Ribbon Week’s 2019 theme is “Send a Message. Stay Drug Free.” The theme is a call to support healthy choices and speak up in support. Red Ribbon Week began in the 1980s in response to the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena. He was tortured and killed in Mexico.

In response and to honor Camarena’s memory, friends and neighbors wore red badges of satin. The first National Red Ribbon Celebration was in 1988. The red ribbon is a way to call attention to the battle against drug use.

Schools around the country participate in the campaign, including Big Bear schools. Something as simple as wearing a red ribbon is a symbol to choose to say no, to stay vigilent and advocate for awareness.

While the campaign is recognized mostly in schools, parents and community members can get involved. Most people don’t think twice about wearing a pink ribbon in recognition of breast cancer awareness month or a purple ribbon for domestic violence awareness. Add a red ribbon to the mix to round out the message as October comes to an end.

It’s all about keeping our youth safe. And while you are at it, keep them safe on Halloween as well. Whether you are taking the kids trick-or-treating in the Village or in one of the neighborhoods where full-time residents hand out candy, make sure the kids are enjoying the night safely.

Use flashlights or other devices such as glow sticks so the kids can be seen. Make sure kids can see in front of them if wearing masks or other headgear as part of their costume. With temperatures expected to be in the 20s maybe colder, layers are a wise idea. And always check their candy before letting them dive in, just to make sure it’s still wrapped.

Then circle back to message No. 1. Stay drug free. Older kids, and adults, will celebrate at parties this weekend. Celebrate safely no matter your age.

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