A Few Choice Words About Red Ribbon Week

Hooray, moms! Rejoice and hallelujah! We’ve made it through Red Ribbon Week. And good news! Most of us didn’t strangle a kid. I say “most,” because I didn’t see Carter at drop-off this morning. He was painted head to toe camouflage—like face, hands, elbows, and all—on “Drugs Can’t See Me” Day yesterday, and his mom, Sarah, did say she woke up at 3:00 A.M. to get him ready. So, yeah, most of us didn’t strangle a kid. Whew!

Can we talk for a second about Red Ribbon Week? As an elementary school child of the late ’80s and early ’90s, I remember Red Ribbon Week being just that: RED RIBBON WEEK. We got all crazy up in that place and stuck a red ribbon onto our Units, Hypercolor shirts, and Girbaud jeans every day for an entire week. We learned to D.A.R.E. to keep the kids off drugs. That shiny red ribbon might have been a little frayed and frazzled by the end of the week, but we wore it with pride.

I’m guessing some hopped-up PTO President of a mom in the early 2000s decided to make all of our lives a living H-E-double-hockey-sticks by theme-ing up this one week in October. Smart. Since we aren’t already frantic with Halloween costumes, pumpkin decorating, Homecoming and Howdy Spirit Week at school, soccer season, “fall ball” (otherwise known as when we’re supposed to force our kids to play a spring game in another season), flag football, and just trying to keep life in order. Great idea, Carol. Let’s throw a whole week of themes in the mix. And hey, let’s do it right at the beginning of the social media craze so that by 2017, moms across the country can now feel inadequate when they send their kids out the door on Crazy Hair Day with pigtails only to find that Genevieve came to school with purple hair molded in the shape of a UFO, James’s mom crafted him a mohawk with tips dipped in 14-karat gold, and Willow’s ‘do includes recycled paper towel rolls that have turned her hair into a life-sized compass. Perfect.

Can we review some of the various RIDICULOUS themes from schools across the country that have sent us, as parents, scrambling over this last week?

Hawaiian Day, “Lei Off Drugs”: Riiiigggghhhhttttt. Because we all have Hawaiian shirts and leis just hanging around the house. Dear Lord.

’50s Day, “Drugs Are Old School”: Now I’m expected to craft up a Poodle Skirt in the drop of a hat?

What You Want to Be When You Grow Up Day, “Dress for Success”: Geez Louise. My daughter wants to be an astronaut, and my son wants to be a geophysicist…

Clown Day, “We Laugh in the Face of Drugs”: I. Just. Can’t. Even.

Rock Star Day, “We Band Together Against Drugs”: For the love of all that is good in this world, STOP THE MADNESS!

Really, I’d rather sleep with a family of ferrets for a month than endure another Red Ribbon Week. Can I propose some new themes for Red Ribbon Week 2018? We all know that marketing something as AMAZING is key when selling it to kids. My kids would think that licking a sidewalk was rad if I was convincing enough, so I’ll even include some handy marketing language for you:

Skin Day, “My Skin is Thick Against Drugs”: Hey, kids! You have skin. I have skin. We ALL have skin! Wear a short-sleeved shirt to show your skin!

Jeans Day, “I Wear Jeans. I Say No to Drugs”: Break out those typical, normal-colored, everyday jeans and put a stop to drugs whilst wearing your jeans! Look how nuts we all are in our jeans today! Note to parents whose kids think putting on jeans is the equivalent to strapping fire on their legs: I apologize in advance. However, my mother made me wear a turtleneck on regular occasions. If kids want to endure pure torture, put them in a turtleneck sweater for a few hours and I promise the complaints of jeans will be heard no more. 

Eyebrows Day, “I’m Shocked When I Hear Someone Does Drugs”: Walk around all day and raise your eyebrows in a state of shock! It’s so easy! Just raise them up…all day long! And if you see anyone coloring their eyebrows, dying their eyebrows, or making their eyebrows anything other than normal eyebrows, they aren’t participating the right way.

High-Five Day, “High-Five! I Don’t Do Drugs!”: Look at those hands on your body! They are perfect for high-fiving people. You can do it all day! High-five your friends! High-five the teacher! High-five your coach! You can even high-five your principal! HIGH-FIVE!!

Show Up to School Day, “I Show Up Against Drugs”: You don’t want to do drugs? Then get your tail to school and show up! By just showing up, YOU, child, are taking a stand against drugs. High-five! Oh wait, we save that for High-Five Day… I mean, way to go!

Or here’s a novel idea. Let’s return to the simplicity of the ’80s, bust out those red ribbons, pin ‘em onto our kids’ Under Armour, screen print monogrammed shirt, or athletic gear, and give them memories that’ll last a lifetime…and be done with it! They’ll remember that precious little red ribbon waving around on their shirt for the rest of their lives, and moms won’t feel the need to chug a bottle of red wine at 9:00 A.M. on Friday morning.

Today I raise a glass to you, moms. You survived Red Ribbon Week!

How we all feel at the end of the week.
“Dress up like your favorite musical artist” day. SO easy, right?
Nothing like a solid crazy hair day!
Brooke graduated high school from right here in San Antonio. After twelve years of living everywhere from Colorado to Greece, London to Atlanta, she and her husband have made San Antonio home and have become parents to their daughter and son. Brooke loves finding undiscovered activities around the city and dragging her kids along! She is a runner, an amateur cook that loves trying out San Antonio’s growing culinary scene and is actively involved in non-profit organizations in San Antonio.


  1. Haha! I am of the mind set that if it’s not something we have in the closet…we don’t participate. Wear “white and blue” to “freeze out drugs”? No problem! Blue jeans and a white t-shirt. We even happen to have white socks with blue strips. Done.

  2. “James’s mom crafted him a mohawk with tips dipped in 14-karat gold, ”

    I’m James’s mom but I swear I’m not THAT James’s mom.

    Thanks for making me laugh this morning.

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