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.


2019: AREA 51 Alien Encounter


And we're not saying it's aliens, but...

A previously classified photo from inside AREA 51!
> The Backstory
You're in Nevada, you've heard the rumors, and you've decided to go for it. Arriving at Nellis Air Force Base, your group has decided to storm Area 51!

You have been warned.

Is that... a REAL U.F.O.??
Running past what appears to be a U.F.O. crash site outside, you make your way into the facility and find yourself in the lab of a very unsuspecting scientist studying a somewhat suspicious looking specimen jar.

What IS in that jar? And why is it glowing?
She looks up with some confusion and concern.

"Um... How did you get in here?"

“The people have a right to know what’s in here!” one of your group shouts.

“Yeah, that’s not how the government works,” the scientist replies, setting down the jar.

“We are American citizens and this is a government by the people for the people!”

Frustrated, the scientist retorts, “Uh huh, and this is a highly secured military facility. You can’t just storm in here.”

“We literally just did though," someone replies.

The scientist pauses. “Ah... You did... You actually stormed Area 51. Okay, I knew if this happened that they wouldn’t be able to stop all of you... And now I am having a panic attack.”

She begins pacing, “Uh, okay... Protocol, protocol...” Looking at your group she declares, “Okay, anything you saw outside was definitely a weather balloon, and there is absolutely nothing... to see... in here.”

As she backs up toward some sort of covered furniture, a large, green, three-fingered hand wraps around her arm. She freezes.

* GULP *
 “Uh, it’s touching me, isn’t it?”

As she jumps back in fear, you see a very live, green alien, apparently startled and hiding beneath a metallic cover. The scientist is suddenly fascinated.

“Wait, this is actually a really big deal. This is the first time he’s been responsive and I think it’s because of your group’s presence here.”

The alien continues to quake beneath the cover.

“He’s a little freaked out right now. Let me see if I can calm him down.”

She hands the alien a doll resembling E.T., the extra terrestrial, which calms him as he studies and cuddles it.

Makes sense, right?
“Okay, that should help. Do you guys want to see if we can get any information from him? I think he’s the kind of alien that actually communicates by brain waves. Let me try something.”

She places a shiny metal helmet on the alien’s head, then places a helmet covered in tinfoil on her own, declaring it “state-of-the-art technology you should not be seeing.”

State-of-the-art government tech. Highly classified.
She leans over the alien. “I’m Dr. Fox and we just want to ask you a few questions. Can you tell us what planet you’re from?” She pauses to "listen." “Aflac? No. Anthrax? Wait. Is it Morthrax? Yeah, that sounds more like a planet name.”

The alien shakes in positive acknowledgment.

She removes her tinfoil helmet, stating, “Sorry it doesn’t always work right the first time. Let’s try something different.”

She moves to a computing device showing various graphics.

“So, I have a few vitals here, but let’s ask him a different question. Can you tell us how you crashed your ship?”

A message suddenly appears on the screen, which the scientist reads. “I was using Spacebook instead of phoning home and I lost control of my spaceship when my device slipped out of my hand.”

Looking at your group, the scientist sternly asks, “You guys know better than to text and drive, right? Well, apparently he doesn’t.” Turning to the alien, she asks, “What are you, a teenager? Your parents should’ve taught you better than that. Oh, look, he’s embarrassed now.” And she works again to calm him down.

So maybe he's not the most intelligent of alien lifeforms.
After a minute she stops to stare at the alien and, with a big smile, enthusiastically states, "If you guys think this is cool, you should see what’s in Hangar 18... Aaand I should not have said that."

She turns to your group with urgency. “Okay, you guys have to get out of here. I'll give you these credentials to help you get safely past the guards.”

Handing over some packets, she says bluntly, “Alright, you never saw anything. I will deny everything. And the truth is out there, it’s just not in here. Okay? You need to go, now. Be careful getting past those guards. ...And happy Halloween!”

Crash site. Do you see something lurking there in the background?

He wasn't in great shape when he came in.
A typical desk and tools of the trade inside AREA 51.

Which branch of government do you call for this kind of thing?
Note that corded phone. Nothing broadcast over the airwaves here.
They should put this on a postcard. Welcome to Nevada?
> The Trick
Since our concepts are typically kept TOP SECRET until actual deployment, no one knew the idea of a U.F.O. crash in our front yard was one of our earliest concepts, dating back probably 10 years, which we simply had yet to implement. With this year's chatter over the "Storm Area 51" Facebook phenomenon, it finally felt right to roll out a full-on alien invasion.

This year's weather was so cold it snowed that morning, and so windy we actually had some difficulty setting up that crash concept, especially the tent itself. But we soon had it under control, and were very thankful that cold wind died down before the trick-or-treaters set out.

Early setup was... billowy.
This year was also bursting with Easter eggs for the sci-fi savvy visitor to notice. Multiple references to "The X-Files" (hence our "Dr. Fox"), "The War of the Worlds," "E.T.," "Close Encounters," "Star Trek," the 1947 Roswell incident and more were woven in throughout the scripting, props and music.

(To be fair, we did cut one mashup from the show, which would have utilized Doctor Who's sonic screwdriver as a "flashy thing" from "Men in Black." Also to hit the cutting room floor, song list inclusion of Billy Thorpe's "Children of the Sun." To be honest, there were just too many ideas and too little time to incorporate them all!)

Is it really that hard in this line of work?
Twinning, mister alien. Twinning.
Wait, were Mulder and Scully actually HERE?
A reminder to "phone home" just above a Star Trek note pad.
A little light reading: War of the Worlds & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
FREAKY FACT: The name of our alien's home planet is a super deep reference to "War of the Worlds: The Resurrection," a 1988 television series by Greg Strangis and book by J.M. Dillard. This sequel to the 1953 film revealed that Mars was just a staging area for the invasion, and the aliens were actually from the distant planet Morthrax. As it happens, Orson Welles aired his radio version of "The War of the Worlds," adapted from the original H.G. Wells novel, on the night before Halloween in 1938, giving a good seasonal fright to at least a few listeners who didn't realize it was all just a radio play.

A good scientist must study these things.
Our outdoor playlist included:
• "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" as performed by The New Movie Orchestra
• "Eve of the War" - Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (1978)
• "The Red Weed, Pt.1" - Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (1978)
• "Epilogue, Pt.2 (NASA)" - Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds: The New Generation (2012)
• "The X-Files" Theme
• "Come Sail Away" - Styx

EXTRA FREAKY FACT: The U.S. government actually just ended use of 8-inch floppy disks to store nuclear codes. These were still utilized due to their highly secure nature given that nothing being stored was thereby transferable on any network. So we're guessing some of the tech featured here is about on point for the current modernization, since the old Mac does utilize the newer and smaller 3.5-inch floppies. (Okay, we may have exaggerated that last bit, but the rest is very true:

As a side note, we also decided to have some fun with a mini-reenactment of one of my more popular tweets, thanks to an unexpected share from the official X-Files account.

Prepared to chuck a writing implement into the ceiling, Fox Mulder style.
(Click the "pic.twitter..." link below on mobile.)

It really was fantastic that Xfinity came out with this gem that had every child of the 80's in tears just about a month later.

> The Treat
Necessary "credentials" to get back out of AREA 51.
As cold as it was, we were glad to see so many storm our place after all. We were ecstatic to have a visit from our former "haunted wagon" crew, now the "duck house gang," early on, as well as lots of regulars, family, friends and even some brand new neighbors. It's always our treat to see everyone!

Much thanks to mom and friends for helping "guard" the place in that cold. (If ever so poorly... They just kept getting in!) Also big thanks to our church for the borrow of the tent, fog machine and lighting equipment—along with the day off to set all this up!

We appear to have shared just shy of 75 treat bags this evening, consisting of our usual fare of pretzels and candy, but enhanced by a very fine alien head sticker AND one of eight possible special space ducks! Since we were only able to get a few packs of ducks which included aliens and astronauts—likely sold out due to the recent Area 51 craze—we were glad to procure some different space ducks, including a fantastic Rocket Duck, more reflective of the Buck Rogers era. (Or, better yet, Duck Dodgers in the 24th & 1/2 Century! Yeah, we'll go with that...)

The Space Duck collection.
Get to the story of Jesus from an alien encounter in AREA 51 you say? Absolutely! The Truth is out there, after all. As seen above, this theme card was naturally printed on some very bright green paper. (Keep scrolling below for the full text).


You just HAD to storm into Area 51, didn’t you? Well, maybe they couldn’t stop all of you. Just be sure to keep our extraterrestrial secrets to yourself, okay? Besides, your friends will probably find it all just a little hard to believe.

Speaking of things people can find hard to believe, we’re reminded of a very real out-of-this-world visitor to our planet. He wasn’t an alien, or really even a stranger to Earth. He Created our whole universe, after all. But He appeared on the Earth scene, lived here in a truly alien-to-us way without doing anything wrong, and still got punished as a criminal (because we Earthlings are stellar at messing things up). When He died, everyone thought the story was over until He actually returned to life! And this visitor’s name was Jesus.

Jesus came to Earth to give us a close-encounter with our Creator. He let us see what God is really like, and what it means to live the way God tells us about in His book, the Bible. The Truth is out there­—or technically IN there—as we read the Bible. And getting God’s Truth inside you can set you free to live as He really designed us to by loving God and people.

In the Bible we see that God calls US aliens or strangers if we don’t really know Jesus. We need to trust Jesus to be part of God’s family and Kingdom. And everything Jesus did, from leaving the heavens to giving up His own life, was so we could know and love Him.

God also tells us to care for our own visitors, even ones from very far away. People we meet might come from other cities or even other countries, and every one of them was made by God just like we are. So He wants us to care for everyone we meet just as He cares for us.

Before you step off the base, stop by our landing pad at where you can see all our Halloween themes over the years, plus check out The Big Story with Bible links to help you have your own encounter with the Creator, Jesus.

Stay safe out there, civilians, and have a happy Halloween.

View our past Halloween themes:
Sneak a photo? We’ll need to confiscate that. Tag us: #HallowsGarage