Scaring the snot out of God-fearing youngsters has long been a popular Halloween tradition. Churches from Texas to Colorado stage elaborate theatrical productions known as hell houses, featuring gruesome scenes of botched abortions and AIDS-related deaths. The aim is to get sinners to repent and accept a Jerry Falwell version of Christianity. A documentary about one hell house in Texas sparked numerous copycats and public outrage.
Here in Fort Lauderdale, the subject may not be botched abortions, but hell will still get center stage at the Christian Life Center this Halloween. Starting Sunday, the church will stage a production called "Heaven's Gates & Hell's Flames," aimed to make audience members consider "what happens to people when they don't serve God," says Pastor Sol Levy.
The play, written and distributed by a Canadian group called Reality Outreach Ministries Inc., features a 50-member cast of congregants,
costumes, and special effects. We're talking white robes, fake blood, and demon masks. Levy says the church has been staging the play for nearly 20 years and usually packs the center's 3,500-seat sanctuary. This year, the play runs from October 31 to November 3.
For a preview of the night's horrors, check out this video trailer.