Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween Condoms?

“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to…wear?” This year, a couple in Oregon changed the words to this familiar song by handing out condoms to trick or treaters that were 16 or older (along with a very lengthy lecture on why using them is important). My first reaction to this was “Wha…I could have been trick or treating when I was 16…man!”, my second reaction wasn’t much better, “I bet these people are friends with the house that gives toothbrushes…bummer…” (Note: the couple actually GAVE out toothbrushes to their younger than 16 clientele). But my final reaction, my professional reaction was, “I bet this practice, and more than that, this article, has started the conversation for many parents in their neighborhood.”

Reactions in the traditionally liberal community have ranged from happy to enraged. Some parents felt this took the public health domain too far and that giving the young people condoms caused them to confront their sexuality before they were married. Others thought that because of the age range the couples used to decide who would be given the condoms, the practice was supporting young people who were already being confronted with sexual situations. Either way, to say the response was split is an understatement. So what can we take away from this?

Well, (A) we should stick to the M&M’s and Twix candy bars for Halloween, (B) parents should not wait until their children are well into puberty to address sex and sexuality, and (C) teachable moments are all around us. The “Talk” is not a one-time thing. And the “Talk” also doesn’t have an age requirement. Young people need to know their bodies will change so they aren’t scared when those changes occur and those all too familiar emotions and feelings show up. Teens need to know their parents are the experts in what is happening, as well as what is expected of them. So the next time your child shows up with a package and it doesn’t look like any gum you have ever seen, take the moment to talk to your young person first and ask them what they want to know…so the next Halloween won’t be nearly as scary!

By: Taylor Wilson
Taylor is a Grant Specialist for the SC Campaign and can be reached at!

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