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Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 18:30 UK
Suffolk Christians shun Halloween for Night of Light
By Jon Wright
BBC Suffolk

Pumpkin face
Gourd help us! Traditionally it is carved pumpkins but any vegetable will do

The Roman Catholic Church in Suffolk is urging children to dress up as saints rather than witches this Halloween.

"It's not getting rid of it, it's more like reclaiming it," said James Fitzgerald.

He is from the Catholic lay community Cor et Lumen Christi which started the Night of Light 10 years ago.

"It's a real celebration so people can have in their minds something good and holy about the catholic saints, rather than something dark and dingy."

The evening of 31 October is called Halloween or All Hallows Eve and is the beginning of the Feast of All Saints.

Inspired by the saints

"It's always been a really a major Christian feast," said Mr Fitzgerald.

"For us this year we've got a big party on the Sunday evening, lots of children will be here.

"Basically the kids will dress up as saints, or angels, or wear something white instead of black.

"We have party games like apple bobbing and we have pumpkins with a light in them.

"But it's a celebration of the faith, we put a light in our windows to show that we are a Christian household.

"There's a focus on prayer and we might end the evening with a bit of a procession to a cross or a holy place with candles and the adults dress up too.

The message behind the masks

"There are some sinister and some quite dark points about Halloween.

"We're not saying it's all about that, and it's not the case that for everybody it's a dark thing, but there are links to the occult, whether we like to look at that or not.

"It has become more pagan, so we're just reclaiming it.

"I think a lot of people are getting fed up with the commercialisation of Halloween, and parents are thinking, 'why do I want to get my kid dressed up as a devil or a witch?'

"These are really enemies of the faith.

"Why aren't we getting dressed up as heroes of the faith, which these saints are?"

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