Flea's most recent post is about Hell Houses. If you don't happen to be from the bible belt, you may never have heard of them before. I never heard of one till I moved here several years back. No, it's not a haunted house like the scary ones with goblins and witches and chainsaw-wielding psychos. It's a church version, complete with sinners going to hell.
I was introduced to this phenomenon by a co-worker. Every year she'd try to get us to go, and none of us ever did. Honestly, it sounded creepier than the haunted houses we used to go to as kids. I can't remember what exactly theirs entailed, but I know it involved a drunk driving accident and the bad drunk kids going to hell. Drunk driving must be good fodder for hell houses, because a church near my house has one each year and they always manage to get ahold of a wrecked car and a crunched-up utility pole. Pretty cool props, but creepy nonetheless.
One of the things about the hell house thing that really bothered me is that the church would involve the youth group to act out the parts - including the little kids. They'd generally be angels in the "heaven" part, but still, I wouldn't want my 6 year old involved in that. I guess if your church is all about hellfire and brimstone, they start the scare tactics early on.
My family wasn't a big church-going family. Mom and I attended the local Congregational Church fairly regularly, but we weren't really that involved in the church. Which, by the way, I've been informed by some of my more God-fearing and pious Christian bretheren, isn't truly a Christian church since we're open and affirming (we welcome anyone who wants to worship regardless of race, sex, ability, or sexual orientation. Yep, we even welcome them homo-sekshuls.) And we ordain female and gay ministers.
Oh yeah, every year my church also had a big Halloween party complete with a haunted basement, costumes, and lots of candy. Maybe I am doomed to hell after all.