10/31/2014 10:52 am ET

Evangelical Hell Houses Offer An Alternative To Halloween Fun

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Every Halloween, some conservative evangelical churches across the United States offer thrill seekers a faith-based alternative to the haunted house. Local teenagers and adults don costumes and demonic masks to enact what they see as the sins that land a person in hell. The scenes may vary, but these are common tropes: A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute and so, although she dies, an angel comes and takes her to heaven. For those who can’t make it to one of these productions, a 2001 documentary directed by George Ratliff offers viewers behind-the-scenes access to the folks who put on and the audiences who attend these popular events.