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Please keep it safe this Halloween

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Column by Jim Clark

This is Halloween weekend, the time for Trick or Treating all across the land. Children of all ages, sizes and shapes will dress up and look for goodies.
The problem is that the caution that children are taught the other 364 days of the year usually goes out the window, as they approach strangers’ houses and unfamiliar neighborhoods looking for rewards.
In this day and age, that’s not a good idea.
Our paper has been filled with schedules of various Halloween events that are being held this weekend. Parents should take their children to the various gatherings conducted by responsible people and let their children enjoy the festivities with others in a safe atmosphere.
In our area, there are various churches that do things to entertain the youngsters. One of the biggest gatherings in western Ocala is at the Sheriff’s substation on State Road 200, where a host of activities are planned on Monday from 5 to 9 p.m., all under the supervision of sheriff’s personnel.
However, be aware that these volunteers from law enforcement are not babysitters. Parents should take the responsibility of being with their children throughout the event (and we’ve seen some parents in the past who have some pretty good costumes).
If you’re a parent or guardian, and you children have gone out into a neighborhood for the evening, stress upon them that they should not eat anything until you’ve had a chance to check it first. When your children get home, look over all the food they received.
It’s a little sad that we have to warn people about things like this, but that’s how the world we live in has evolved. Even innocent children aren’t immune from those who would try to hurt us in some way. Parents, grandparents and guardians have to be vigilant, and this is the time of the year when we all have to be more careful about our little ones.
So enjoy the holiday, in moderation, and take care of our children. And thanks go out to all the volunteers at all the churches and organizations who try to make things just a little safer for all of us.
Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.