Using Hell House to get the Devil out of Halloween

USA today has an article titled "Christians use Hell House to reach out on Halloween. Despite the title, Hell House features just in the first half; the rest takes a look at various ways some fundamentalist Christians deal with Halloween, either by using it as an opportunity to prosletize (by handing out Bible tracts along with candy to trick-or-treaters) or by simply ignoring it.

While some Christians aren't certain what to make of Halloween — unsure whether to embrace or ignore all the goblins and ghoulishness — some evangelical churches use Oct. 31 as a day to evangelize.

"Hell House is not a celebration of Halloween," said Pastor Keenan Roberts, who created Hell House at New Destiny Christian Center in Thornton, Colo., as an outreach tool in 1995. "It's not even a Halloween event. It is the church taking advantage of America's cultural influence of the haunted house. ... It's the church absolutely capitalizing on the time of year."

Like Roberts, Terry Long, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Salt Lake City, believes the church can turn Halloween into something good. "Instead of cursing the darkness," he said, "just turn on the light."

Each year, Long's church hosts a Halloween-alternative "Hallelujah Party." Kim Giebler, who coordinates the event, cited Romans 12:21 as their theme: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

The annual Hallelujah Party allows about 1,000 kids to experience the usual Halloween costumes and candy, but also includes an invitation for them to ask Jesus to be their Savior.

None of the pastors interviewed ever really identifies what is so evil about Halloween; it just seems to be taken for granted that the day has something to do with the Devil and something should be done about it.

Sometimes we have to use extreme measures to save (God's) people," Cathcart said. "After all, if someone were in a burning house, would you quietly say, 'Come out, you will die'? No. You would run in there with your arms waving and screaming to the top of your lungs, grabbing them if need be, to save them from an untimely death."

Click here to read our review of the Hollywood Hell House, which satirizes the authentic Hell House.