Monday, October 31, 2011

YM Idea: Startle House

A year ago, my boss and mentor suggested that we create a haunted house for our high school group as a fun Halloween idea. Having watched the documentary Hell House only a few days prior to our conversation, I was highly opposed to the idea. Here's a paraphrase of our exchange:
Mark: I want to do a haunted house for high school group. What do you think? 
Me: I'm not sure we want to be known as the church who does haunted houses. 
Mark: No, it's not like that. It wouldn't be like a traditionally scary haunted house, and it wouldn't be as some sort of weird outreach. It'd be more fun, just for our group, and just to startle people. it'd be more like a "startle house?"
And thus Startle House was born.

We made a maze in our gym using stacks of chairs, put a couple of elements in the maze to startle people along their path--like an adult leader who turns on a flashlight, or pops out from behind a curtain, or makes a loud sound nearby--then turned off all the lights, turned on some music, and sent students in. The first year, we used an air compressor to shoot a large puff of air at approaching students; this year, we had a staff dancing around in a gorilla suit. The key element is darkness; when you can't see much of anything, a flashlight There was nothing especially scary, but every student jumped at some point. It was a surprising amount of fun, even for newer students.

Is your youth ministry doing anything for Halloween?

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