This is Halloween...

Welcome to our nightmares and fantastical dreams.

Each year for a few we've done something over the top in our garage on Halloween while tying in a snapshot of the story of God Himself from some pretty unique angles. Preachy? Not so much. Bizarre? Sure, why not?

I learned from the best long ago, generosity gets attention. (No matter where you lived in my neighborhood growing up, on the last day of October you visited the guy handing out Happy Apples.) We also know people love a show. So we try to go big with both.

Here you'll see what a classic rock couple with a taste for the creepy and strange can do with a regular garage, a little imagination and a lot of time.


2008: The Carnival of Souls Presents "It's A Circus"

Halloween fell on a Friday this year, so we reckoned we'd ramp things up for the next two. And so we did, as this became bigger than we ever imagined.

> The Backstory

Outside at the ticket booth, a lady barker told this tale...
Legend has it that a traveling carnival visited a farm region some 16 miles from the city of St. Louis back in 1908. That’s a good ride by coach. The carnival arrived via trains which used to travel the countryside just up the road and they set up on the very spot where you stand tonight.

Some said there was something odd about this carnival, even creepy. Some said they had a message to share. Most said it was a little of both. They were called the Carnival of Souls, an eerie name in itself.

No one knows exactly what happened 100 years ago this very night, October 31, 1908. The troupe may have been run out of town. The carnival may have burned to the ground. But one act in particular has always stayed around... an illusionist known only as the Showman.

For him, every day is a circus, and he’s had time to work on his act. Tonight, you will get a chance to travel back and hear just part of the message he has for you.

Would you like a ticket?
Each person attending the carni got a ticket and stood in line to enter and watch a full choreographed magic show.

Watch the slideshow. (A 404 may pop up, but it still plays.) On mobile, click "View all" below.:

> The Trick
The entire inside show was written, designed and musically arranged by The Showman himself. There were actually two versions of the show viewers had an opportunity to take in.

The outside barker story was finalized the night before, coming together beautifully to create the complete illusion of this trip back in time.

Freaky Facts: The county power lines just up the road from our house run on what remains a government owned railroad right of way, hence the train being so close by 100 years ago.

A family from our church and one of our neighbors helped us out this evening.

The Carnival of Souls is a double reference to a classic b/w horror flick, and a lyric in Alice Cooper's "Stolen Prayer" off his "The Last Temptation" concept album. Based on a graphic novel written with Neil Gaiman, this is the story of a young boy tempted by a Showman around Halloween. Admission to his show was "free" as well, outside the fact that it would eventually cost one's soul.

> The Treat
At some point we honed in on giving out Snyder's miniature pretzels with our candy, and bought some Halloween rubber duckies to give the tiniest of trick-or-treaters. This year we also had on hand some glow sticks for the first 30 visitors or so. Each brought back their ticket to get a treat bag.

This was the final year we used the constantly honed texts I'd written several years ago. Printed on neon green or orange paper, this is how the text of my favorite read:

Seeking something

Ghosts and goblins.
Phantoms and frights.
Around Halloween you can find lots of bizarre things lurking about on store shelves and in home displays. Thankfully, those eerie monsters and “supernatural” characters aren’t real. But we know someone Supernatural who is—Jesus Christ, the Lord and creator of the universe.
Clearly someone who can create a universe is pretty amazing. But what he was willing to do for us­—come to Earth and die a painful death to pay the price that we should have paid for our sins—well, that’s more than a little amazing in itself.
And why would anyone do something like that?
Out of love.
That’s way beyond natural. That’s love that’s Supernatural.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one
and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall
not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

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Thanks for stopping by. And, hey, go easy on the candy. ;-)