TRAVERSE CITY -- As more Christians view Halloween with skepticism -- disliking its emphasis on the supernatural and celebrations of gore -- a local youth theater company is offering an alternative.
For the second year, the Homeschool Arts Project will present a classic C.S. Lewis story from "The Chronicles of Narnia" series over the Halloween weekend.
"A Horse and His Boy" will run for four public shows Oct. 30 and 31 at the New Hope Community Church.
Attendees may also participate in a Narnia character costume contest, complete with prizes awarded by Narnian royalty, before the Saturday evening show.
Brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for the Christian company, director Lynn Moody mines multiple positives in the annual production.
"First of all we like to bring classic literature to the stage," she said. "Second of all, it gives the the homeschool students an opportunity to do something they might not otherwise get to do -- in other words, theater."
"The third thing, obviously by doing a Narnia play, there's so many fantastical characters it just lends itself to Halloween," said Moody. "It also allows us to do a large cast and involve younger kids and older kids."
This year's company features 50 homeschool students from third grade through high school. Many of the cast are veterans from the 2008 show, which delved into untapped -- and, at the time, mostly untrained -- acting abilities.
"Last year, we had three or four kids with actual play experience, others had had church drama experience," recalled Moody. "And they were wonderful. I'm just amazed at the talent these kids have."
The Williamsburg church seats 1,600 in its sanctuary. Last year's three showings of "The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe" at the Lars Hockstad Auditorium drew more than 400 attendees and launched a loyal following.
Not to mention a welcome Halloween tradition for many area Christians.