The crisp fresh air and the falling of leaves most certainly signal that the fall season is upon us. This time of year always invokes special thoughts and recollections. Some of my fondest memories involve the cool autumn months, intricately carved jack-o-lanterns, and obviously participating in one of the year's more enjoyable festivities - trick or treating.
Although the years changed, my determination to go trick or treating as a ghost never did. My mom could always find an old bed sheet, cut a couple of eye holes in it and voilá - instant apparition.
Even the recollection of stepping on my ghostly bed sheet and falling backwards down a set of steps would not deter my choice of costumes. How simple those times were, and how wonderful those memories remain.
However times have certainly changed since I first donned a Halloween costume and ventured out into the community seeking that most prized treasure - candy. The freedom to venture out that we enjoyed as children is simply no longer permissible. Imagine if all we had to worry about was a costume malfunction, how wonderful life would be.
Unfortunately, we live in a very different world; often times a mean, cold and horrific world. I am thankful to live in Dawson County, but we must not live in the illusion that we are immune from the evil in this world.
Realizing and understanding this will certainly lead to increased awareness and an obligation to ensure increased precautionary measures. I am not speaking of living in fear, but rather always being prepared, always being vigilant and always being ready to react.
As we prepare for the Halloween festivities, it is incumbent upon us all to take those necessary precautions in order to have an enjoyable evening while remaining safe.
From a sheriff's office logistical perspective, patrol staffing will be on increased alert with an emphasis placed on high volume areas; however this doesn't negate our individual responsibility to safeguard ourselves and our children. As parents, grandparents and responsible residents, we all have a responsibility to keep our children and our community safe.
Here are a few simple safety tips that will hopefully help ensure that you have an enjoyable, memorable evening.
I encourage each parent to thoroughly review all available media publications on Halloween safety tips regarding attire, candy safety, etc.
Closely supervise the children in your care (even to the point of physically walking with them). Do not allow your children to approach houses alone (especially unknown homes).
Always be alert of your surroundings. Suspicious people and or vehicles should be closely monitored and reported. Often times, we have a desire to downplay our intuitions when we should report them.
Please be respectful of those homeowners who choose not to participate in Halloween festivities. If exterior lights are off with no inviting décor lighting, simply bypass.
Wear bright, reflective clothing and use sidewalks whenever possible. Flashlights are highly recommended. Be cognizant of automobile traffic even in subdivisions.
Keep a fully charged cell phone readily available.
Take advantage of church, county and civic sponsored activities. Often times these are well managed and supervised.
It is not our intent to scare anyone with this column. I will leave that to the Halloween season. I do however; firmly believe that our children should be able to enjoy these festivities in order to create their own fond memories.
Currently serving his fourth term, Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle can be reached at (706) 344-3535 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.