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Experience Halloween in an alternate way
Churches provide spiritual activities
Juliana Ward, 15, Sunni Brett, 14, Amberlynn Hagerty, 13, and Savanna Hagerty, 16, don their costumes for a scene in their Judgement House. The girls will act as “players” or narrators in specific scenes. - photo by SAVANNAH KING

The Halloween holiday isn’t just a time for ghosts and specters. Area churches get into the action, too. Except churches provide an opportunity for more spiritually-focused activities.

Families with children of all ages can take advantage of the many fun fall activities sponsored by area churches. Churches often offer fall festivals, trunk-or-treating and Judgement House experiences as an opportunity for community outreach.

For families with teenagers who would like a more adult-themed activity, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Clarkesville is offering a free walk through their Judgement House. The church is one of the only in the area offering the guided walk-through drama which depicts the consequences Christians and non-believers face after death.

The free production titled “The Masquerade” begins at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 through Nov. 2. The production lasts about an hour and groups will begin walking through the drama every 6 to 8 minutes.

Susan Watson, drama director of Bethlehem Baptist Church, said people come to see the production from all over the area.

The production takes as many as 300 people to put together and runs every night for five nights. Watson said the production is a huge endeavor, but it’s a labor of love.

She said some of the scenes in the interactive production may be disturbing for younger children and recommends adults accompany any child 10 and younger.

Watson said the point of Judgement House isn’t to scare people because “you can’t scare someone into salvation.”

“Our goal is to help people admit or come to the awareness that there is an eternity,” she said. “That we all have that decision to make where we will spend eternity. We don’t know when we will be called upon for that, but that there is such a thing. We want to ask them to self evaluate. ... The idea is to take a moment to really think about it.”

Jeannette Peterson, co-leader of children’s ministries at The Springs Church in Flowery Branch, said families seem to appreciate having the opportunity to attend a church-centered activity to celebrate the holiday. The Springs is having a free Fall Festival celebration from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 27, at 6553 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch. Other churches are having similar events.

“I think families know you can trust the people at a church to provide a fun and safe environment for kids,” Peterson said.

The fall festival will include several family-friendly activities such as trunk-or-treating, cake walk, games, costume contest and a chili cook-off.

“We try to use our fall festival as an outreach to the community, especially the families with younger children,” Peterson said. “We just want to show God’s love to those who can come by and join us for some fun.”