Halloween banned in Moscow schools

Halloween has been banned from schools in Moscow after Russian education chiefs ruled it was too pagan.

Officials caved in to Church demands and issued a blanket ban on all Halloween celebrations from carving pumpkin heads to dressing up.

The Moscow Education Department has ordered all schools in the capital to ban any Halloween celebrations, Izvestia newspaper reported.

In a letter sent to school heads and governors teachers were warned that: "The very fact that Halloween activities contain elements such as the cult of death, rejecting death, personification of death and evil spirits produces a destructive effect upon the psychological, moral and spiritual health of students."

A ban had earlier been called for by Russian Orthodox Church leaders who claimed the pagan festival was "satanic".