Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 13:41 UK

Row over Halloween devil article

A Leicestershire church magazine has been criticised for describing people participating in Halloween celebrations as "siding with the devil".

The Belvoir Angel article also claims the practice of trick or treat uses "extortion and blackmail".

Churchgoer Mariel Heald said she was being made to feel guilty for helping children to have fun.

No-one from the magazine wanted to comment but the Bishop of Leicester said it "raised some questions".

If we are really targeting the work of the devil, we should be looking in a different direction
The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester

The monthly publication goes to hundreds of homes in the Vale of Belvoir as well as nine churches and community centres.

The article focuses on the celebration's effect on children.

It appears to condemn parents who take youngsters trick-or-treating, saying it is a time when normal law-abiding people damage their "good neighbours" property and in some cases "bring on fear".

But Ms Heald, from Stathern in the Vale of Belvoir, rejected the article and said the practice brought the community together.

"I found it really upsetting because we don't see it as dangerous or devil worship," she said.

"It makes me want to celebrate more, it just made me want to go out with a big banner and give sweets to the children.

"We are going to have a village party and we are going to have a great time."

Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens said: "I don't happen to agree with what this magazine article is targeting.

"I think it is raising certain questions but it overstates the case.

"My own view is that if we are really targeting the work of the devil, we should be looking in a different direction."



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