Hell houses, judgment houses, etc. 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..." Their kit is more expensive than
the one for Hell Houses; A Judgment House Promo Pack and other benefits are sent
to conservative Protestant churches who join in a "Single Year Covenant
Partnership" for $599.00. 1
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
rejects Jesus; Billy is initially undecided saved but later trusts Jesus. It "simply
presents the gospel through real-life situations and allows the guests the
opportunity to choose their final destination." 2 They
have recorded over 1000 visitors of whom 150 (15%) became saved because of the
experience. They list success stories from other locations: 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. However, Darren did not accept Jesus as
Lord and Savior in time -- 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 80 degrees 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.
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
Another approach is the Revelation Walk portrayed
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 when Jesus 'raptures' the
church." The rapture is a
conservative Christian belief that Jesus will appear in the sky and call all
saved Christians onto himself. Those who have died will have their bodies reconstructed, and
will leave the grave, rising towards Christ in the sky. Saved Christians who are alive at the time
of the second coming of Jesus will rise bodily into the sky to join Jesus as
well. One Revelation Walk scene shows a traffic accident resulting from vehicles going out of
control as their drivers exit through the roofs of the car or truck. The rapture
event itself is shown, as well as scenes of Hell and
The Metro Heights Baptist Church near Stockbridge, GA
started its "Tribulation Trail" in 1992. They expected 30,000 paid
visitors during the Halloween season of 2001. Visitors get to see a
demonstration of what conservative Protestants call "The Tribulation" a
time when a wrathful God sends massive afflictions to humans. 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." [Author's
note: It may be worth mentioning that no Goth,
Satanist, Wiccan or other Neopagan student has ever
been involved in a school shooting in North America.]
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
Copyright © 1998 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-SEP-01
Author: B.A. Robinson