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Scare tactics: Judgment House offers teens a religious Halloween

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Posted: Friday, October 29, 2004 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:13 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Sarah Chacko

Killeen Daily Herald

It may not have cheap thrills lurking around every corner, but Skyline Baptist Churchs Judgment House may leave viewers with some haunting thoughts.

In its fifth year, the Judgment House is a religiously centered alternative to the more secular celebrations of the Halloween season.

This years theme, Reality on the Highway, shows how the paths of three teenagers with different agendas cross.

A guide takes the group through the rooms where church members help act out the scenes of one fateful night.

This journey will take you through twists and turns and ultimately will cause you to ponder the reality of life beyond the grave, one of the guides said in the introduction.

The Rev. Jack Husung, who initiated the program, said 10 to 15 people are put in each group, and the number of groups that run through each night varies on the attendance.

In its first year, Judgment House brought about 800 visitors, with anywhere between 400 and 800 attending in subsequent years.

Ralph Disher, director of Judgment House, said that over the years, the program has dealt with issues from school shootings and youth in the military.

Disher said the programs are supplied by a company in Florida and are tailored for groups of different sizes.

More than 100 people volunteered to put it on at Skyline, including actors, counselors, registers and security help.

Disher said many people view Halloween as a Satanic holiday, and things naturally associated with this time of year are un-Christian.

It is a way for Christians to get out and tell people that there is an alternative to those choices, Ralph Disher said.

Groups meandered inside and outside the church, through the lives, and eventually the afterlives, of the three teens.

Guides give an explanation before entering each of the nine scenes, often using scripture to tie in the message.

Aerial Hart of Killeen said it opened her eyes to what people were saying about accepting Christ.

Its something that makes you realize you need to think twice about what you do in life, Hart, 12, said.

Annie Stottler of Killeen said the scenes send a clear message to all ages that tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone.

No one knows what a week holds, said Stottler, 41. Lots of older adults havent accepted Christ in their hearts.

It even gives those of us who have food for thought, added her accompanying friend, Pat Adams, 66, of Killeen.

Ralph Dishers daughter, Lindsey, is an actor in one of the scenes.

Lindsey Disher, 16, said she is happy to work on such an intensive outreach project.

People get a better reality of heaven or hell, Lindsey Disher said.

She said the scenes portray a real-life situation and show what happens in the afterlife.

Lindsey Disher, a sophomore at Harker Heights High School, said the program will have a greater impact on some teens this year because of the recent loss of a local high school student that was involved in similar circumstances.

It really hits home and puts everything in perspective, she said.

Judgment House will run from 7 to 9 p.m. through Sunday. Groups are encouraged to make reservations.

Contact Sarah Chacko at schacko@kdhnews.com

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