Condoms Instead of Candy Corn Causes Parents to Snicker and Snarl

Filed under: In The News, Sex

condom picture

No, those aren't water balloons. Credit: Getty Images

"Nestlé's Crunch or a condom?" It's hardly a question parents expect their kids to be asked when they knock on doors while trick-or-treating.

So, when Halloween revelers in Oregon got prophylactics and a surprise safe-sex talk, it created quite a negative stir among some parents, the Statesman Journal reports.

In an attempt to send a message about AIDS, STDs and birth control (perhaps to prevent future baby Ruths?), Kathleen and Daniel Harris of Silverton, Ore., have been handing out condoms to teens on Halloween for more than 20 years, according to the local newspaper.

The swapping of sweets for sex-ed campaign began in the 1990s, during the height of the national AIDS epidemic, the couple tells the Journal. Dr. Daniel Harris, a family practitioner at Silverton Hospital, tells the newspaper that when he was delivering babies, 10 percent, or 14 of the 140 babies he delivered in a two-year period, were born to teenage moms.

In addition to their birth control talks, the couple also zeroed in on cavity prevention, passing out toothbrushes with chocolates.

Their neighbors, however, are not impressed with the Harris' public health initiative.

"It is hard for me as a parent to imagine any justification for giving children condoms without parents' consent," one father, who discovered a paper bag containing three condoms in his 14-year-old daughter's stash of candy, tells the Journal.

Kathleen Harris tells the newspaper that, during the last 20 years, she and her husband have had only one other complaint. With the condoms, the couple delivers a safe-sex speech. The condoms are not to encourage sex, but to let teens know what they look like, should they decide to have sex in the future, she tells the newspaper.

She adds that she and her husband tell teens they probably know someone who needs them, and to pass them along to that person.

"It's harm reduction," Kathleen Harris tells the Journal. "Kids are going to do these things anyway, so we want them to have to at least think about it ahead of time."

But following the protests, the Harrises admit giving teens condoms may be a mistake, and they'll limit their distribution to kids 16 or older next year, the newspaper reports.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.