Hell houses, and other dramatic scenes at Halloween
Judgment houses, revelation walks, etc.
New Creation Evangelism, Inc of
Clearwater FL sells a "Judgment House" kit. Its literature describes it as:
"... an 8 scene drama that makes people aware of the reality of Heaven and
Hell. ... [It shows] them the joy of having a relationship in
Heaven with Jesus." Also shown is Hell, "the ultimate haunted
house, which is where they will spend eternity if they do not accept Jesus
Christ as their personal Savior..."
Many conservative Christians, and others, believe that there is only one criterion for a person to be saved and attain Heaven after death. It is to have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior while they are still alive on Earth. This is a very difficult criterion to meet for the billions of people in the world who have little or no knowledge of Christianity, because they were brought up in another religion, and/or live in a country where Christianity is not widely followed.
Members of churches interested in organizing a Judgment House at their location can enter into a Covenant Partnership Agreement with New Creation Evangelism at a cost of U.S. $479.00 (as of Halloween, 2018). 1 This covers the cost of a digital package of information, access to a training conference, customer support, name & logo license, and access to leaders across the country.
Tom Hudgins, youth pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in
Clearwater, created the first Judgment House in 1983 "as a Christian
alternative to Halloween." 2 It consists of a
sequence of eight scenes involving three teenagers: Whitney is saved; Darren
does not accept Jesus; Billy is initially undecided, but later trusts Jesus.
The Judgment House:
presents the gospel through real-life situations and allows the guests the
opportunity to choose their final destination [Heaven or Hell]." 2
have experienced a 15% conversion rate where visitors became saved because of the
experience. They list success stories from "Houses" at other locations, including: 1500 visitors of whom 105 (7%) came to
Jesus; 4000 visitors of whom 400 (10%) were saved. Their conversion rates appear
to be much lower than those for Hell Houses. Hudgins rejects the idea that Judgment
Houses are similar to Hell Houses. The former appear to be far
The various scenes introduce the three main characters. A fire kills
Darren and mortally injures Whitney. A medical team unsuccessfully tries to save
her life. Whitney dies, is judged, and is granted her reward of eternal life in
Heaven along with Billy. However, Darren did not accept Jesus as
Lord and Savior in time -- i.e. while he was alive. He is thrown into the lake of fire for
eternal torment without hope of mercy or relief.
"The Hell scene usually
consists of a dark room heated to about 80º F into which the participants
are herded to listen to agonizing screams from invisible speakers that surround
them. Heaven is usually depicted as a bright white room (with no deficit of air
conditioning) where one is surrounded by soft music and men and women dressed in
heavenly garb." 3
Jesus is shown welcoming each new arrival to Heaven.
Christian counselors are accessible to the viewers as they exit the Heaven scene.
Adam Butler and two other members of the Alabama Freethought Association
visited a Judgment House at Westwood Baptist Church in Burmingham
AL. They were not impressed. Butler wrote:
"After I saw two children
praying through tears at the end of a performance, I realized just how powerful
the fear tactics used by Judgment House really are. The mentality of churches
to produce such an atrocity is simple -- scare children early in their lives and
they'll fear it until the day they die..."...what is the purpose of
Judgment House, if not to use fear to convince someone of something that reason
A similar approach is the Revelation Walk, organized
by the Eden Westside Baptist Church in Pell City, AL. 4 It consists of 12 scenes
involving over 180 members of the congregation in its construction and
operation. It describes:
"... an outdoor drama that will show what the end
times will be like for those who are left behind after Jesus 'raptures' the
The rapture is an event that most
conservative Christians believe will happen soon. The rapture begins when Jesus appears in the sky and calls all
saved Christians onto himself. Those who have been saved and have died will have their bodies reconstructed. They
will leave their graves, rising towards Christ in the sky. Then, saved Christians who are alive at the time
of the second coming of Jesus will later rise bodily into the sky from wherever they are on Earth to join Jesus as
One of the Revelation Walk scenes shows a traffic accident resulting from vehicles going out of
control as their drivers exit through the roofs of their car or truck to meet Jesus. Scenes of Hell and
Heaven are also shown.
The Metro Heights Baptist Church near Stockbridge, GA
organized its first "Tribulation Trail" in 1992. During the Halloween season of 2001, they anticipated 30,000 paid
visitors. Visitors see a
demonstration of what conservative Protestants call "The Tribulation." This is an event that is expected by many Christians that follows the rapture. God sends an army to earth whose soldiers kill billions of humans in a massive genocide. Various scenes
The exile of John, whom they believe wrote both the Gospel of
John and book of Revelation.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, representing conquest, war,
famine and plague.
Movies of the attack on the World Trade Center.
A classroom debate on the separation of
church and state. It ends with a black-clad girl (presumably representing a
Goth, Satanist or
Neopagan) pulling out a gun and shooting a classmate.
She shouts that she is "sick of hearing Jesus this and prayer that."
note: It may be worth mentioning that, to our knowledge, no Goth,
Satanist, Wiccan or other Neopagan student has ever
been initiated a school shooting in North America.]
According to entries on Facebook for 2018-OCT, the Tribulation Trail has continued as a yearly observance. 6
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Judgement House," New Creation Evangelism, at:
Tom Hudgins, "Morality plays,"
Adam Butler, "Alabama freethinkers visit 'Judgement
- Eden Westside Baptist Church, 223 Wolf Creek Road N, Pell
City, AL, 25125.
"Halloween spooking, Christian style," American Atheists news
Marvin Holmes, 2018-OCT entries on Tribulation Trail group, Facebook, at: https://p.facebook.com/
Copyright © 1998 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-OCT-12
Author: B.A. Robinson