‘The trouble with the House of Horrorsrn(and similar haunted houses), the RockfordrnRegister Star claimed, is that the organizersrndeliberately hide their intentions.rnNothing at the House of Horrorsrnindicates that it might differ from the fewrndozen other haunted houses in the area,rnand its website {mriv.ficreainhouse.com)rnsimply proclaims:rnW’c will sliow you the unspeakablern[sic] horrif’ing events that havernbrought human torture to newrndepths of depravih. We will challengernyour way of thinking as wellrnas strike fear into your heart. A fearrnthat ou will remember foreverrn|s/c].’ The HOUSE OF HORRORSrnwill give you a new taste ofrnterror. It is definitely not for thernfaint of heart! Is it for you?rnRut the Register Star need not worrs becausernthe ChrisHan proselvtism, thoughrnslightK stronger than last year, is still weak,rnmuted. (Last ear’s eangelist neer oncernreferred to Jesus as Christ, but talked aboutrnsitting around in his room, “rapping” withrnhis Friend.) We are the sum of our lifesK’lernchoices, the oung lady tells us. We canrnact the wa- that the people in the hauntedrnhouse acted, or wc can ask Jesus to help usrnact differentK. The choice is ours.rnThat is all well and good, and thern’oimg ladv’s short speech does hint at elementsrnof free will, prayer, even cooperatirne grace (though none of these are mentionedrnb’ name). But there is a littlernmore to die Christian message than justrnthat, and traditionally, Christian feastsrnaround Halloween hae emphasized preciseh’rnthose elements of the Christianrnmessage that she leaves out. A few daysrnafter isiting the House of Horrors, Irnattend Mass at Rockford’s traditionalrnCatholic parish, St. Mary’s, on the Feastrnof Christ the King (the last Sunday in Octoberrnin the traditional calendar, the lastrnSundav before Advent in the post-Vaticanrn[I calendar). To the thunderousrnchords of Mark Dahlgren’s organ, wernsing the processional hymn:rnTo Jesus Christ, our sov’reign King,rnMio is the world’s salvation,rnAll praise and homage do we bringrnAnd thanks and adoration.rnChrist Jesus, Victor!rnChrist Jesus, Ruler!rnChrist Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!rnNoticeably absent is any reference tornChrist Jesus, Listener, Christ Jesus,rnCounselor, or Christ Jesus,rnFriend and Best Buddy. One ofrnthe traditional hymns for thernFeast of All Saints (November 1)rncontinues the strain:rnBy all your saints still striving,rnFor all your saints at rest,rnYour holy Name, O Jesus,rnFor evermore be blessed.rnYou rose, our King victorious,rnThat they might wear therncrownrnAnd ever shine in splendorrnReflected from your throne….rnThen let us praise the F’atherrnAnd worship God the SonrnAnd sing to God the Spirit,rnEternal I’hree in One,rnTill all the ransomed numberrnWlio stand before the throne,rnAscribe all pow’r and gloryrnAnd praise to God alone.rnYes, Christ does help Christiansrnto make the right choices inrnlife; He is, after all, the Way, andrnthe Truth, and the Life. But unlessrnwe acknowledge Him as thernKing and Savior, Lord and Redeemerrncelebrated in the twinrnfeasts of Christ the King and JAIIrnSaints, we are missing an essentialrnpart of the Christian message.rnIt is undoubtedly no coincidencernthat Hell Houses have becomernpopular among evangelicalsrnat the same time that Halloweenrnhas come to be viewed as evil.rnHere in Rockford, local churches andrnhomeschooling groups promote “Christian”rnalternatives (“Hanest Parties”) to therncelebration of All Hallows E e, and eenrnsome Catholics have gotten into the act,rnholding “All Saints’ Day” parties, wherernchildren are supposed to come dressed asrntheir favorite saint or “one of God’s creations.”rn(Wliilc both ghosts and demonsrnare God’s creatures, I doubt that a childrnwho showed up in traditional Halloweenrngarb would be welcomed.)rnBut what can we expect? From therneighth century on, flic Feast of All Saintsrnwas considered one of of the major feastsrnof the liturgical year. Today, it is still arnholy day of obligation for Catholics, butrntiie pews have only a few more occupantsrnflran they do on a normal weekday, andrnmost Protestants do not celebrate AllrnSaints’ Day at all. As the feast and its mes-rnA guest of Rockford’s House of Horrors emerges fromrn”new depths of depravity.”rnsage fade from the Christian consciou.sness,rnHalloween, the solemn vigil of tiiernfeast (also celebrated from the eighthrncentury on, though not with trick-ortreating),rnloses its meaning, too. Traditionally,rnChristians saw the Feast of AllrnSaints (as well as Christmas, Epiphany,rnand Easter) as a time when the barriersrnbetween Heaven, Purgatory, Earth, andrnHell became a little bit thinner, and werncould catch a glimpse of the other side.rn(Thus, the Christian belief that demonsrnprowl the Earth more openly on Halloweenrnthan at other times of the year,rnand the English tradition of telling ghostrnstories at Christmas, of which A ChristmasrnCarol is only the most famous example.)rnUnlike Rockford’s House of Horrors,rnfliat glimpse is truly terrilying, but itrnis also more likely to lead to real conversion.rn<^rnDECEMBER 2001/37rnrnrn