Drop that Candy Bar, Pagan!

Pat Robertson isn’t the only evangelical leader who frets about all the kids dressing up in satanic garb for Halloween, or as he calls it, the “festival of the Devil.” Mission America’s Linda Harvey recently argued that the holiday’s satanic origins explain its appeal to “the LGBT world.” Here are a few options religious right leaders would like you to consider.

Jesusween. The folks at www.Jesusween.com are hoping to turn Halloween into a “Christian gift-giving festival” and a time for evangelizing. And actually, in spite of the headline on this post, the Jesusween FAQ says it’s OK to give out candy along with gospel tracts or inexpensive Bibles. Just be sure to respond to “Trick or Treat” with “Jesus loves you.”

The Hell House Experience. Plenty of evangelical churches create “Hell House” tours around Halloween, hoping to scare teens away from sex (especially gay sex) and Satanism with the horrors of hell. If your kids aren’t quite old enough for that, you can keep them home from trick-or-treating and read “The Hell House Experience” to them. It’s the story of a girl who accepts her friend’s invitation to a hell house. “What she doesn’t know is that she is about to go through a terifying [sic] ordeal that will ultimately lead her to give her life to Christ.” The book is written by Danita Evangeline, Danae Mary Louise, Daniqua Grace, and Danyelle Elizabeth Whyte—“daughters of the bestselling author Daniel Whyte III” and “founders of V-Girl Ministries, which seeks to encourage young girls to be virtuous girls.”

Reformation Day. You’re in luck if you live near Dallas, Texas, you can attend Generals International’s Reformation Day celebration and pray for a “fresh start” for America, just in time for the elections. Reformation Day features Cindy Jacobs and Dutch Sheets, self-proclaimed apostles associated with the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation. Jacobs warns that President Obama is bringing God’s wrath in the form of natural disasters. And earlier this year Sheets railed against wimpy Christians who are more concerned about pastoral care than becoming an army of “warriors” dedicated to bringing about “kingdom rule” on the earth. Don’t despair if you can’t make it to Dallas, you can watch online starting at 7 p.m. Central.

But if your kids really like candy, you can comfort yourself with the approach to Halloween taken by Mars Hill church, the authoritarian megachurch phenomenon associated with hipster homophobe Mark Driscoll that has spawned survivors’ blogs. In an article promoted by the church’s Resurgence ministry, Pastor Justin Holcomb says Halloween’s pagan origins have basically been subsumed into harmless fun and can be an opportunity for good family fellowship. But don’t take things too far: “There is a big difference between kids dressing up in cute costumes for candy and Mardi-Gras-like Halloween parties, offensive costumes, and uninhibited excess.” Bonus fun: Driscoll on zombies in the Bible.

Peter Montgomery, an associate editor for Religion Dispatches, is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way Foundation where he was on staff for 15 years. Before that he was associate director of grassroots lobbying for Common Cause and wrote for Common Cause Magazine, an award-winning journal featuring investigative reporting about the federal government.