HALLOWEEN masks have come under fire from Stroud MP David Drew.

Mr Drew told the SNJ he misses the innocence of traditional celebrations and said the latest rubber masks bought to celebrate the event were gruesome. "Hallowe'en used to be a nice little celebration gearing up for Bonfire Night," he said.

"There are some very unpleasant things out there and you have to wonder what the manufacturers will stoop to next - there must be other ways of making money.

"Why are we bringing in all these nasty American ideas? "Some of these masks are just offensive, the idea of blood flowing over these twisted faces is totally tastless, are we going to have ones celebrating ritual killings next?"

He said the traditional childhood Hallowe'en pursuits of apple bobbing and dressing up as witches and ghosts was fine as it was quite innocent and not genuinely scary but the latest latex masks were going too far.

"They are just trying to horrify people," he said. "If someone came to my door wearing one of these I don't know what I would do.

"It all used to be quite innocent but now we have this Americanised way of going round frightening people.

"Trick or treating is fine if it's just kids doing it around their own neighbourhood but if it's people going out trying to earn money from it, that's not on."

The MP has written to American-owned supermarket chain Asda asking it to withdraw the more gruesome masks from its shelves.

He told the SNJ the chain had replied saying it would not be removing this year's stock but may reconsider its policy in the future.

"We seem to live in a world where people want to be scared but you can scare the wrong people," he said.

"People should just wait a few days and celebrate Bonfire Night," said the MP. "Going out of your way to scare people is not my idea of having a good time."

* New legislation designed to clamp down on excessive and dangerous use of fireworks has limited the size of fireworks available over the counter and made it an offence to let off fireworks between 11pm and 7am.

The time restrictions will not apply on Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year, and the Hindu festival of Diwali.