Happy Hallelujah Night!

Christians offer an alternative to Halloween with petting zoos, bouncy gyms, and lots of candy.

What's an evangelical Christian to do with Halloween? The annual celebration of witches and warlocks has ancient roots in pagan celebrations of dark spirits, but it has long since donned a more innocent appearance: adorable children scrambling down neighborhood streets; teenagers dressing up for the high school dance; adults enjoying a chance to act like kids at a costume party.

But for millions of evangelical Christians, Halloween's patina of innocence is not innocent enough—it is still Satan's holiday, a direct assault against the biblical injunction not to engage in witchcraft or commune with the spirits of the dead (Deut. 18: 10–13). Some evangelical families may allow their kids to dress up and get candy from the neighbors, but many others rule the holiday out entirely.

For some evangelical churches, Halloween is an occasion for outreach. Some produce "Hell Houses," an evangelistic twist on haunted houses that frighten visitors with blood-and-guts scenes of real human terror: drunk driving accidents; drug overdoses; abortions gone bad. Attendees funnel through each terrifying exhibit and end up in a room where they are offered a chance to believe in Jesus.

Guts Church


in Tulsa, Oklahoma, calls its Hell House "Nightmare" and touts it as a "reality-based" portrayal of the consequences of drug abuse, alcohol, premarital sex, and other "top killers among young people today." More than 30,000 people attend "Nightmare" each year.

Another option is to avoid the scary side of Halloween entirely, and transform it into a family-friendly celebration. Many churches hold a "Fall Harvest Festival" or a "Hallelujah Night," offering Bible costume competitions and game nights—complete with lots and lots of candy—as an alternative to trick-or-treating. Hallelujah Nights are noted mostly for their tame atmosphere, replacing the dark overtones of Halloween with the good, clean fun of Sunday School.

But in recent years, some evangelical churches have managed to up the ante and challenge Halloween with thrilling events that make regular Halloween partying seem sub-par, ordinary, and, well,

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