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.
- The Slaughterhouse-October 2-November 1- From the band Slipknot, the Slaughterhouse is basically a walk through version of the band’s music and image. Doors open at 7 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and are open 7 p.m. to Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. This is an excellent way to support an Iowa band while also getting a different type of haunted house experience. Tickets cost $30 for a timed general admission and they come with a limited edition face mask.
- Living History Farms Family Halloween- October 16-18 & 23-25– 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 $7.25 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.
- Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo-October 17-20 & 24-27 This year mark’s Night Eye’s 30th 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.
- 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.
- Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House – TBA- Usually every Friday & Saturday in October – This is Linn’s 34nd 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 $17 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.
- Valley Junction Pumpkin Walk-October 25- 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.
- Family Halloween Spooktacular at the Pines– Located at the Puttmasters at the Pines near Saylorville Lake, this is a very family friendly event with different stations to keep everyone in your family happy. There’s a temporary tattoo station, a campfire to roast marshmallows, a costume contest at 7 p.m. and even a psychic who will do readings for $15. Tickets cost $17 in advance and $18.50 at the door.
- Spirits in the Gardens-October 23-25 and October 30-November 1 Reiman Gardens in Ames will be holding it’s annual Spirits in the Garden with some added safety precautions like one way paths and a timed ticket to ensure overcrowding. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be a variety of activities like Simon Says and Flash mob dancing and at sunset there will be lit Jack O lanterns and holograms to make the gardens extra spooky. Tickets must be purchased online $7 for the general public and $5 for members and ISU students.
- 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.
- Hwy 2 Hell Christian Scare Attraction– Every Friday & Saturday in October- this event is more Christian based so if that’s not your thing then this won’t be worth the drive but if you’re wanting to get out town and have a Christian oriented haunted house then set out to Hamburg every Friday or Saturday in October. It’s a 20 minute walking journey with different experiences like the Apocalypse and ends with judgement by Jesus himself. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $12.
For the best places to get your pumpkin flavored fix, click here.