Police are calling a Halloween hoax targeted at Hutterites a tasteless prank.

RCMP say a letter sent to Hutterite colonies in Manitoba and Alberta warning of the planned abduction, torture and murder of a child as part of a Halloween ritual is a hoax.

The letter was sent to three colonies in Manitoba and was then circulated to Hutterites living in Alberta as well, according to Const. Todd Olson.

He says police took the threat seriously but now believe it was nothing more than a tasteless prank.

The file will remain open and Olson says whoever sent the letters could be charged with uttering threats or hate crimes.

Paul Hofer from the Little Bow Hutterite Colony south of Calgary says someone was trying to scare colony members, but he doesn’t believe the threat is real.