The Italian Almanac

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dangerous pumpkin

Dangerous Pumpkins

Halloween is anti-Christian and sends dangerous occult messages, the Vatican reiterated. In an article entitled Halloween's Dangerous Messages, Holy See newspaper l'Osservatore Romano quoted liturgical expert Joan Maria Canals as saying ''Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian''. Father Canals, a member of a Spanish commission on church rites, urged parents ''to be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death''.

The Catholic Church in Italy has taken a dim view of Halloween's growing popularity for years. Last year, the bishops daily Avvenire appealed for a full-blown boycott, describing Halloween as a ''dangerous celebration of horror and the macabre''. Warning parents of the dangers of children coming into contact with strangers during trick or treating, Anti-Occult Sect Service head Aldo Bonaiuto said the event ''promotes the culture of death'' and could spur ''pitiless (Satanic) sects without scruples''.

Halloween is not a traditional date on the Italian calendar but has been growing in popularity in recent years, with trick-or-treating becoming more common. More than a million pumpkins are sold over the holiday while fancy-dress shops whose traditional bonanza came at Carnival time in February now make a killing in masks, costumes and accessories.