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 WalkTBA- 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 18-21 & 25-28The 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 18-21 & 25-28 This year mark’s Night Eye’s 28th 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 House – Every Friday & Saturday in October – This is Linn’s 33nd 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 28- 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 especially if you want to involve a little learning while having fun.

  7. Halloween Ball with the Spazmatics-October 28-  Prairie Meadows will hosting a dance party for those 21 years old and older that will feature the 80’s cover band, The Spazmatics. Wear your best costume to compete in the contest and hopefully win the $1,000 prize- they do have some rules on having no face paint or masks so be sure to follow the guidelines or you’ll be disqualified. Tickets are $20/general admission and $50 will get you the VIP Package with a special seating area and private bar. Doors open at 7pm and the costume contest is at 9:30pm.

  8. Hollywood Halloween– October 20- This year is the Des Moines Playhouse’s 15th year holding their annual premier costume party being held at the Scottish Rite Consistory. Proceeds from the event benefit the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre and Education program so you’ll know your money is going towards programs that will instill a love of theater for children.  Tickets are kind of expensive at $125 each but you do get complimentary wine, beer and food so think of it as an indulgent dinner night.

  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. Halloween at Val-Air Ballroom-October The party starts at 9pm so maybe load up on Red Bull drinks beforehand if you’re going to plan on staying for a while.  General admission tickets are $15 and you’ll have the opportunity to enter their cash prize costume contest so go all out for your costume.  This a fun way to experience the Val-Air ballroom whether you’ve been there before at the various events in the past or this is your first time.

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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