If you have ever read this blog you know my feelings on religion and you know that I “did time” in the church. One of the things that I would do usually for the church happened around this time of year.
Before I was “saved” I was a witch. I practiced Wicca. A fun religion built on Welsh, Irish, British and other European pagan traditions that involves a lot of accessories and the delusion of the supernatural. Because I was a witch turned christian, I was always asked to speak out against Halloween & because I was a good little christian soldier, I always did (I now feel shame for it to be honest).
I fucking loved Halloween and I still do!!
I loved the costumes, the pranks, the scary movies, and the whole idea of halloween! I know that Halloween comes from pagan roots, ALL OF OUR HOLIDAYS DO; however it isn’t satan’s night or the night where kids are sacrificed in some pagan rite. It’s a night where kids do more cardio than they do all year and get more candy than their parents know what to do with so they take it to the office the next day and all of their co-workers get to trick-or-treat throughout their cubicles (Adulting is awesome).
But, to keep with my old tradition of speaking out against things that occur on Halloween, I do want to go on a bit of a rant about some practices that do occur on this most awesome of nights.
Stop with this fucking Trunk or Treat bullshit! If you don’t know what this is, it is a stupid ploy to “make Halloween safe for kids” by having people come to church (sometimes a school, but usually a church) parking lots and open up their trunks and have kids just wander around the church parking lot and get candy. Of course there is also a catch at the church based ones:
Churches are expanding on the original idea of trunk or treat by adding food, music, games, and rides. Their goal is to reach more of the community with an alternative to trick or treat. It not only has become a way to provide an alternative for children in the church but to the entire community. They have also found that it opens up opportunities to invite parents and children to other events or services going on at the church. To this end, some church groups hand out tracts or other information on the church at a Trunk-or-Treat.
Now I get it in the rural based communities where neighbors are 20 miles apart, but in my town there are suburban communities everywhere. We also have 30 churches that are in the 10 sq miles that make up our city limits (Welcome to Texas) and they all do the trunk-or-treat thing. The past 2-3 years that I have carved a jack-o-lantern, left the porch light on, signed my house up as a designated trick-or-treat house, I have gotten less than 5 trick-or-treaters in all 3 years combined. Its heartbreaking to see this tradition go away.
But, I would gladly let it die if it meant that a swift death would come to the other tradition that the church has on Halloween.
Every year almost every church puts on a spectacle called a “Hell House“. They are like haunted houses you see pop-up around Halloween, but based on “sin” and “hell”. They show melodramatic scenes of teen drug use, domestic violence, suicide, abortion, and homosexuality (amongst other evangelical christian issues). Now some of these things are serious topics, but the hyperbole comes in because the scenes are all caused by demonic influence. Yep, satan and his minion caused the depression that led that (always female actress) teen to suicide. Satan caused that girl (it’s usually always the same actress as the suicide teen) to go out to that party and get raped (notice there wasn’t any demonic influence over the guys that did the actual rape), and abortion is always caused by the devil; however at the end of the trip through this christian psychological shit-show, Jesus (or sometimes an angel if no one in the church looks like Jesus) pops in like a superhero and saves the day by leading the tour group out of hell and into heaven; however sometimes there’s a twist and not everyone gets in and you end up back in hell.
Here take a look, there was actually a documentary done about these a few years back:
In these attractions, you are basically subjected to psychological torture (Almost like Alex in “A Clockwork Orange”). You are made to see horrific images played out with sounds and lights (sometimes smells) to give a further discomforting augmentation to a distorted reality and then given an out: Salvation through Jesus. At the end of these you are given a chance to pray with members of the church and be “saved” (and also join the church mailing list of course). Like the kid in the video, I would have given them the finger as well.
Truth of the matter is, I have only been through one Hell House (and that was enough). It was more horrific, and unsettling than any actual haunted house that I have been to. Mind you, I have been to a haunted house as a kid/teen where the group was chased by a dude with a chainsaw. AN ACTUAL FUCKING CHAINSAW (sans the chain on the blade of course) and that was less horrifying and damaging than the 1 hell house that I visited in my 20s as a “saved christian”. Honestly, I laughed at the chainsaw guy. I loved every minute of the normal haunted house. Because they are there for entertainment. Hell Houses are there to subject you to a psychological torment, distort your thinking, and then convert you you at the end. Basically, you are herded like cattle through this “morality play” and processed at the end.
And of course it’s all for your own good.
Richard Dawkins, noted atheist, has condemned Hell Houses, saying that using fear to convert children is child abuse, and that the children only leave with nightmares and soiled underpants.
My largest problem is that these are aimed at kids. They will usually let children as young as 12 into these psychological slaughterhouses and that is one of the most frightening things I find about them. That and the number of them. There is one, or more, in every town and usually the ticket prices are cheap. So, instead of going to an actual haunted house a few towns over or in the nearest metropolitan city, kids will usually end up at these. Plus, they are ran by a church.
Nothing could possibly be that scary to the kids at a church, right?
Nope. Go on and take the kids, be sure to hit the Trunk-Or-Treat afterwards.