The Catholic Church has swung its crook at celebrants of Halloween, warning parents to forbid children to dress up as ghosts and ghouls, and dismissing the celebrations as a pagan night of "terror, fear and death."
In an effort to take a sharp pin to the ballooning success of Halloween, which has spread from America to Italy in recent years, the Vatican has issued a stern warning through the pages of its official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, with an article headlined "Halloween's Dangerous Messages."
What millions around the world consider a harmless tradition bound by unconvincing costumes and mountains of teeth-rotting sweets is, according to the Catholic Church, riddled with a dark undercurrent of occultism and is "absolutely anti-Christian".
Father Joan Maria Canal, a Spanish priest and liturgical expert, was quoted in the paper as saying that parents should "direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty, rather than terror, fear and death."
It's just a big costume party. Ease up, padres.
UPDATE 11:15pm: The Catholic Key blog views this story as sensationalism.
Technorati tags: halloween culture faith religion catholic