Who knew dressing up as a witch or vampire could be so dangerous?
Authorities in the Siberian region of Omsk have banned schools from celebrating Halloween because it … wait for it… fuels “extremist sentiments” among children and teenagers.
The Omsk education ministry sent a directive to schools in the region ordering teachers to “take measures to curtail any events aimed at celebrating Halloween.”
Leave those scary masks at home, kids!
The ministry based its decision on research conducted by the state-backed Institute of Pedagogical Innovations that found Halloween’s “mystical content” and “explicit promotion of the cult of death” can have “destructive effects on the psychological and spiritual-moral health of the students.”
And there you were thinking it was just a once-a-year opportunity to wear a silly costume and stuff yourself with candy.
Banning Halloween celebrations has become a bit a of a tradition in itself in Russia, which has adopted a strong anti-Western-anything stance under President Vladimir Putin.
Schools in Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, were not allowed to celebrate Halloween last year, and a similar ban has been in force in Moscow for years.
Authorities in the southern region of Krasnodar have also forbidden schools from celebrating Halloween.
According to Russian Orthodox Church officials, who are not renowned for their sense of fun, Halloween celebrations are a slippery slope.
"At first, people play with the evil spirit as a joke, but then they begin to play seriously with these things," Vsevolod Chaplin, a leading Orthodox Church official, was quoted as saying.
"Then the serious problems start: sickness, despondency, and despair."
And you thought those were side-effects of consuming too much sugar.