[Christian News Network] Conservative, Christian-identifying churches nationwide are hosting Halloween-themed events throughout the month of October, some featuring or including Halloween-centered sermons and performances, haunted hayrides, and/or costume contests with children and adults alike dressing up up as skeletons, ghosts, witches and other images of death or evil.
Chet Gallagher, a missions pastor who formerly served as a Nevada police officer, recently posted a short video of a “trunk or treat” event being held at Journey Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, pastored by Erik Reed. He said in the clip that he decided to stop and record video of the happenings outside of the church “to expose how absolutely horrific and wicked it can be for these ‘trunk or treat’ events.”
Gallagher then walked to a van that was parked near the entrance to show that sitting inside the back of the open van was a life-size skeleton, with an inflatable angry ghost attached to the side of the vehicle. He noted that the parking lot was still busy after the event was over.
“This is in front of a Christian church, friends. How can something so demonic be displayed at one of the largest churches in Lebanon, Tennessee?” he asked. “Again, all this hoorah on this so-called trunk or treat, and this is a representation. What is wrong with this picture?”
Gallagher also shared a photograph of a sign at nearby Shop Springs Baptist Church, led by Bo Irvin, which advertised that it was holding a “fall festival,” which includes a costume contest. The church has since posted photos of the event online.
One photograph shows three young girls with their face painted, one with plastic fangs in her mouth, and another donning a skeleton costume with smaller skulls on her dress. Another photograph shows a man with a skull in the back of his jeep and a ghost hanging inside.
A third photograph shows a mother donning a Wicked Witch of the West costume in reference to “The Wizard of Oz,” and a fourth photograph includes a woman with elaborate face paint in the fashion of “El Dia De Los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead).
A photograph also displayed the trophy for “best costume,” which depicts a headless skeleton holding its skull in its hands.
A number of churches nationwide either hosted, plan to host, or took their youth out for a “haunted hayride,” including Chatham Friends Church in Snow Camp, North Carolina; Stony Creek Community Church in Stony Creek, New York; Fellowship Baptist Church in Maineville, Ohio; and Freedom Church of Osage Beach, Missouri.
“It’s going to be AWESOME! We will have a costume contest, games, candy, lots of food, and of course, a scary hayride,” Freedom Church wrote on its social media page.
CityLight Benson Church in Omaha, Nebraska, co-led by Tyler Zach and Alex Marquez, permitted its parking lot to be used on Saturday for an area “Zombie Walk” as a means to “make friends” with its neighbors in the city.
“Over 1,000 dressed-up zombies will begin congregating in our church’s parking lot at 6 p.m. We will be provid[ing] food and a free photo booth. This will be a great way to let the city know who we are!” the CityLight website reads.
Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Florida, led by David Hughes, presented a series of Halloween-themed messages called “Spooktacular” throughout the month of October, including sermons entitled “How to Hug a Vampire” and “Escaping a Haunted Mansion.” Services included Halloween-spun live remakes of secular hits, such as Michael Jackson’s “Scream” —performed with a cemetery theme—and George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone”—performed with dancers dressed as skeletons.
“We all have scary skeletons in the closet. Whether it’s something that has afflicted us for years or something that happened just yesterday, we all are looking to escape the haunting that comes from past mistakes. Join us for ‘Escaping a Haunted Mansion’ as we talk about leaving the past in the past and looking forward to fulfilling our purpose in Christ,” the church website reads.
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