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Skeletons have the last word: French bishops' Halloween message

The French Bishops have issued a statement suggesting to parents and teachers that Halloween is an opportunity to explain to children that the Church has released us from fears and ghosts.

"For some, death can only be handled by laughter," according to Bishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont. "However, in the end the skeletons have the last word: they come to see the living to announce their destiny to them and entice them to the kingdom of darkness. This is Halloween."

Halloween is an ancient celebration of Celtic origin, observed in Anglo-Saxon countries. Tradition says that spirits and witches return on the night of 31 October.

"For centuries, [the Church] has emphasised All Saints' Day as the hope of the Resurrection and the joy of those who have placed the beatitudes at the centre of their lives," wrote Bishop Hippolyte.

He suggests parents and teachers should explain to children the passage from the gloomy, hopeless night of spirits, to the brilliance transmitted by the saints who enjoy the infinite happiness of heaven.