HALLOWE'EN kicked off with a difference for ten Penarth families this year, with an eerie trip through the woods - and ancient Welsh mythology.

The lamp-lit walk at dusk started from Cosmeston park, moving through the woods to Old Cogan - where there was a huge bonfire in the grounds of St Peters Old Cogan, a small church and Penarth's oldest building.

The party left the cafe at Cosmeston lakes at 5pm and hiked the mile-long lane to Old Cogan as dusk fell.

The children had made lanterns out of vegetables, and on the half hour walk they encountered on the road a medieval knight, in full armour.

In the medieval story of Gawain and the Green Knight, the young hero of the story, Gawain, sets off to do battle the monstrous Green Knight on Hallowe'en.

Youngsters were delighted to see 'Gawain' preparing for battle as they passed Cogan Hall Farm.

Bonfires are also an important Hallowe'en tradition, so celebrations continued at St Peter's Old Cogan with a large bonfire in the churchyard.

The children then took a large ribbon which had the names of hundreds of Celtic saints written on it, and they went round the church four times unravelling the ribbon, binding the church by the light of the bonfire.

Event organiser Richard Parry said: "All Hallows - Hallowe'en - is the time of year for celebration of All Souls and All Saints. In the past they were celebrated at different times of the year, but they eventually came together. This is a great way to begin Hallowe'en, remembering the past traditions, and exploring them in a new way."

Once the church had been tightly bound with the 650ft ribbon, the youngsters headed inside to receive a special Halloween stone and a potato.

The stones had been collected from Penarth beach and along the local coast, and all featured a hole through the middle.

"There's a lot of fun this night dressing up as monsters, zombies and ghosts," said Mr Parry, "And the old tradition says we can be confident in our dressing up and fun, because being human is at heart a spiritual condition, and the traditions of All Saints and All Hallowes says that we can be confident because this is all founded on a spirit of goodness.

"That is what this church building is here for. It's important it isn't left out at Halloween. It's one of the major festivals of the year."

The celebration was arranged by Richard Parry from the Penarth based cultural facilitation company Coleridge in Wales.