Go to “Hell” this Halloween
By Kelsey Poynor—
Cornerstone Assembly of God’s “Hell House” in Stephenville is an annual attraction put on by the church for three consecutive nights. “Hell House” is 45 minutes of interactive scenes of heaven, hell and real-life situations that people face. Each room that attendees walk through shows a different scene depicting explicit events such as suicide or drug abuse.
“It’s real, live events. It’s almost like you’re living in it. It’s much more than a play, because a play is up on a stage. This, you are in a room and feels like it’s really happening,” said one of Cornerstone’s youth pastors, Sarah Penner. “We don’t do this to put on a show. We do this to extend the love of Jesus. It’s really not a haunted house.”
Sarah and her husband, Kevin Penner, who is also a youth pastor at Cornerstone, have been in charge of “Hell House” for the past seven years.
“It’s been about 12 years since ‘Hell House’ began. My husband and I took it up seven years ago,” Sarah said. She also said that she and her husband begin working on the event about three months prior to opening day.
“We use Halloween as a stepping stool to open the doors, because it is scary,” Sarah said. “We scare you, but in the end, we’re trying to let you know that there are people out there that want to love you, sit beside you and walk through those hard times with you.”
To attract first-timers and annual visitors, “Hell House” gets a new theme every year. This year’s theme is “‘Til Death Do Us Part.”
“We change our theme every year. We may use the same outline, but it’s going to be totally different,” said Sarah.
Along with a new theme, this year’s “Hell House” will feature new scenes in each room.
“This year, we’re bringing our crucifixion scene back, and that was a really intense scene. You see Jesus getting whipped and hung on the cross,” Sarah said. “That scene is probably our most intense other than the heaven and hell scenes. Really this year, all of the scenes are intense.”
“There are a lot of horrible things going on in the world right now. We’re going to show you those horrible things,” she continued, “and then we’re going to tell you that you don’t have to choose suicide or drugs to get out, or anything else.”
“Hell House” will open Oct. 28-31 from 6:30-11:30 p.m. Tickets are for sale at Cornerstone for $8. Children under the age of eight are prohibited, and children under 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.