Top Ten Halloween Events in and around Des Moines

Photo Courtesy Des Moines Register

The month of October will have plenty of options to get you in the Halloween spirit in Des Moines. The following are the best to go both with and without your children to celebrate the spookiest month of the year.

  1. Zombie WalkOctober 8, 2016- Have you ever wanted an excuse to walk around the streets of Des Moines in full zombie paraphernalia and also help raise money for Central Iowa Shelter and Services? This walk is for you then. A bazaar will start at 11am and will have family friendly activities like face painting and a costume contest. At 2pm the zombies will be released to walk/lurch down the streets of Des Moines hitting Court Avenue and back up 5th Avenue and finally ending at Zombie Burger. They’ll have four local bands performing after the walk from 5pm-9pm. This is a fun way to get into the Halloween spirit while letting you act out your zombie dreams.

  2.  Living History Farms Family Halloween- October 20-23, 2016- The Family Halloween event at Living History Farms is a non scary event for the family. They have horse-drawn wagon rides, storytellers and pumpkin bowling. Trick or treating will be held in the 1875 Town of Walnut Hill where you can enjoy free goodies. Tickets at the door at $6.75 for adult non members and $6.50 for children.  This will give your children great memories of both Living History Farms and of celebrating Halloween.

  3. Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo-October 20-23 and October 27-30, 2016- This year mark’s Night Eye’s 26th year of being on the sweetest and arguably cutest family friendly trick or treating event. Children get the chance to go to multiple stops to trick or treat and to show off their Halloween costume to the zoo animals. Train rides will give parents a short chance to relax before the kids will want to head back for more candy. This event is held rain or shine so be sure to dress appropriately if the forecast calls for a rainy night.

  4. Sleepy Hollow’s Haunted Scream Park– Every Friday and Saturday in October- Sleepy Hollow turns their Renaissance Village into a horror park every October. There’s multiple attractions to hit like the Zombie Pitball, Castle of Blood, and Chaos which is a haunted house with a morgue/catacomb/execution room and even a spinning tunnel. This is more for older children but I saw plenty of children under 10(who ended up being far braver than I am) so base going here on how easily they’re scared.  Food and beverages are available for purchase in case you work up an appetite or need some liquid courage to face your fears.

  5. Linn’s Supermarket Haunted HouseOctober 1,7,8,14,15,21- This is Linn’s 32nd year of scaring Des Moines residents and visitors from all over the Midwest. This haunted house requires you crawl around in a very dark tunnel to a pitch dark basement. You’ll go by different “scenes” that can have anything from clowns to a room full of killer bees. Amission is $14 and the experience can range from 10-30 minutes in length depending on crowd size. They were voted best haunted house in Cityview in 2013 and with how long they’ve been doing this, the Linn’s Supermarket are in the business of effectively scaring people.

  6. Valley Junction Pumpkin Walk-October 23, 2016- Celebrate Halloween with your family at this Pumpkin Walk. Free pumpkins will be given away at the Swander Gazebo. Trick or treating will be offered as well as children’s activities to keep the younger members of your family happy. Most of the stores participate in the festivities offering sales for the adults who want to get in some shopping while their kids hunt for candy.  This is a great way to spend a fall afternoon with your family.

  7. The Haunted Barn-Every Friday and Saturday in October- Located in Ankeny, The Haunted Barn is built from scratch every year and then torn down at the end of October. Every year is different with what you’ll experience with one year having live rats and another year featuring a room that “crushed” you against the ceiling. Try and get the VIP pass to be able to skip the lines- only a limited number are sold every year so try to get yours early in the month.

  8. Scare Us Hill Cocktail Party-October 14, 2016- The Governor and First Lady are hosting a haunted cocktail party to raise funds for the restoration of Terrace Hill and other programs. This is a fun chance to break out your cocktail attire (or go shopping for it, click here for the best formal dress stores in Des Moines) and mingle among partygoers in a Victorian setting while helping raise money to maintain Terrace Hill.

  9. Pumpkin Express– Saturdays in October- The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s Pumpkin express takes your family on an hour and half ride to a  stop at a pumpkin patch where children get the chance to pick out their favorite pumpkin to home with them.  On the return trip, children are given an activity book and a treat. Dressing up in costume is highly recommended but be sure to get there on time or early since the train leaves promptly at 10am.
  10. Iowa Ghosts and the Afterlife– October 26- The Des Moines public library is hosting Terry Fisk for a presentation on scientific evidences for reincarnation, near death experiences, ghosts and hypnotic past life regression. You may not walk away believing in it especially if you didn’t before the presentation but you’ll at least hear some compelling arguments on the topic.

For the best places to get your pumpkin flavored fix, click here.


Men’s Jack O’ Lantern T-shirt $12.95 @



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