Halloween Events in Des Moines

Halloween in Des Moines 2021

Celebrate the spooky season with one of these fun Halloween events happening in Des Moines. Kids of all ages will enjoy new events or even an old tradition. Grab your Halloween costumes, dress up in and head out to celebrate in Des Moines. Play fun games, enjoy non-scary trick or treating, and tons of family-friendly events.

Family Halloween at Living History Farms | 2021 Sponsor

Weekends October 15 – 24

Friday & Saturday 5 to 8 p.m.

Sunday 4 to 7 p.m.

Bring your little ghouls and goblins to trick-or-treat in the 1876 town of Walnut Hill. They can take a horse-drawn wagon ride, play seasonal games, and hear stories in the historic Flynn Barn. Family Halloween is a tradition of more than 30 years at Living History Farms—make your family part of it! October 15-17 and 22-24; Fridays and Saturdays 5-8 p.m., Sundays 4-7 p.m.

Advance reservations are recommended.

Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo 

October 14 – 17 and October 21 – 24

5 to 9 p.m.

Ready for one of Central Iowa’s sweetest family traditions? Roam through enchanted lighting displays, a merry-not-scary treat safari, and enjoy live entertainment and games, all while learning more about and supporting wildlife! 

Spirits in the Gardens 

October 15; Sneak peek 7 to 9 p.m. (No candy or shows. Just pumpkins)

October 16 & 17; 5 to 9 p.m.

Reiman Gardens

Tickets: must be purchased online.

See incredibly detailed, volunteer carved Jack-O-Lanterns! Sunset is at approximately 7:00. See amazing Jack-O-Lanterns, Collusion hologram projections (best after sunset), glowing orbs, and the Sycamore Falls lighted tower. Follow a designated path and see all of the fun. There are planned activities. View schedule here.

Witchcrafts Under the Stars

October 16

5:30 to 8 p.m.

Ankeny Bandshell

Come join us for Monsters Inc. and receive your Halloween kit, which will include a craft, pumpkin, candy, and more! Pre-registration is required.

Halloweekends at Blank Park Zoo

October 16-17 & 23-24

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join Blank Park Zoo October 16-17 and 23-24 during regular daytime admission for fall-themed activities focused on their favorite “halloweeny” animals! The autumnal amusements, included in the cost of Zoo admission, will be taking place all around the Zoo. Stop by the Large Pavilion, Australia Adventure Loop, Vulture and Gibbon Exhibit, and Africa Pavilion anytime between 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for crafts, pumpkin decorating, activities, and games.

Halloween Pizza + Painting Party

October 22

7 to 10 p.m.

Painting with a Twist

Drop off the kids and enjoy some YOU time: We’re hosting a kids-only Halloween party, featuring a spooky painting class and pizza! Games and other activities are also included, and costumes are welcome! Ages 5-12. Please register!

Halloween Hoopla

October 22

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Raccoon River Nature Lodge

Halloween is lurking just around the corner, and this haunted holiday would not be complete without a fun, family-friendly event at Raccoon River Park. Come on out and join the freaky festivities. We will decorate pumpkins and enjoy a ride on the “Witch’s Wagon” around the Lake. You will be treated to Count Dracula’s “blood” while making your own Skeleton S’mores! Be sure to save the date…we’re just dying to see you there! Must register with WDM Park and Recreation.

10th Annual Bondu Spook-Tacular

October 23

3 to 5 p.m.

Bondurant City Park

There will be lots of games, activities, and CANDY for the little ones. This is a fun, safe Trick-or-Treat opportunity. A Costume Contest will start at 3:00 PM. The contestants will be divided into groups, which include 4 & Under, 5-9, 10-12, 13-18, and Groups and Families ). It will be based on creativity, attention to detail and presentation, and quality. The Donut Eating Contest will begin directly after the Costume Contest. This year it will be divided into three age groups – 5 & Under, 6-9, and 10 & Up. Bring your camera because there will be plenty of photo opportunities.

Spooky Science

October 23

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Science Center of Iowa

Celebrate Halloween at the Science Center of Iowa! Dust the cobwebs off your costumes, and bring the whole family down to enjoy spooky, science-y, and SAFE Halloween fun. There will be hair-raising experiments, creepy-crawly critters, and tons of other spook-ified programmings.

All activities are included with admission – free for SCI members! Reserve advance tickets in one of two timeslots (9:00 am-12:00 pm or 1:00-4:00 pm) at www.sciowa.org/gettickets.Costumes are encouraged. Face coverings are required for all visitors ages 2 and up. Costume masks do not qualify as a replacement for protective face masks, and no costume weapons will be allowed in the building.

Howl-O-Ween Paw-Ty

October 23

9 to 11 a.m.

Racoon River Dog Park

Calling all dogs for a HOWL’ing good time! Join other four-legged friends as we celebrate HOWL-O-WEEN at the Dog Park. This fun pooch paw-ty will feature fun and games for the dogs; a Toss and Fetch demonstration; dog-friendly vendors on-site; and a pooch parade. Bring your dog in costume and take a fun fall photo at our photo stop! Please note: This is a special event inside the DogPark, so a separate fee to participate is required. Dog Park season passes will not be honored in lieu of the registration fee. Must register with WDM Park and Recreation.

Trot or Treat

October 24

Noon to 4 p.m.

Menagerie Stables

We will have a designated path through the barn, and stalls will be decorated for a family-friendly Halloween!

Walk through the barn, say hi to all the horses, and fill your Halloween bag! Attendees will receive treats or prizes at each of the decorated stalls. You will also receive a one-horse snack per admission to give as a treat to a horse. Admission: $10 per person (we take cash, credit card, or check). No pre-pay tickets available; tickets will only be available at the door the day of.

The Great Pumpkin Party

October 24; 6 to 8 p.m. (Families with Special Needs Night)

October 25 – October 27

6 to 8 p.m.

Valley Church

Wear your non-scary costumes and enjoy giant inflatables, barrel train rides, carnival games, free popcorn, and more! We have all sorts of fun at Valley Church, Valley Community Center, and our outdoor areas. Invite your friends and family!

The Great Pumpkin Party is Des Moines’ best family activity this fall and it’s totally FREE! We have a variety of great options at Valley Church, Valley Community Center, and outdoors. Plus a special night for families with special needs!

There’s something for everyone at the Great Pumpkin Party!

Valley Junction Pumpkin Walk

October 24

2 to 5 p.m.

Valley Junction

Join the Halloween fun as children show off their costumes and travel through Historic Valley Junction on Sunday, October 24, from 2-5 p.m. Trick-or-Treating, Free Pumpkins (while supplies last), Balloons & Bubbles, and Hay Rack Rides.

Halloween Family Night at the Library

October 25

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

West Des Moines Library

Please register each person attending (children and adults): https://www.wdmlibrary.org/…/halloween-family-night…Come one, come all to a fun family night at the library! This month we’ll be celebrating all things fall and getting one more use out of those costumes by wearing them to the library. For all ages. 

Hooray for Halloween

October 25

6 to 7 p.m.

Giovannetti Shelter

Come to the Giovannetti Community Shelter for a spooktacular night! Children should dress in their favorite costumes and bring a sack for trick-or-treat candy! We will make Halloween crafts, decorate Halloween cookies and play Halloween games!! Registration Deadline: October 18.

Sensory Friendly Boo Bash

October 25

5:30 to 6:15 p.m.

Johnston Public Library

Wear your costume and join us for a sensory-friendly trick or treating experience. ARL TheraPets will be present for this session. RSVPs appreciated. *Please note: This time is for our patrons with special needs and their families.

Boo Bash

October 25

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Johnston Public Library

Wear your costume and join us for trick or treating throughout the library. Enjoy a delicious treat and take pictures in the photo booth.

Plant & Pollinator Palooza Halloween Hike

October 25

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Annett Nature Center

Head on out to the Annett Nature Center for our Plant and Pollinator Palooza Halloween Hike. This non-scary hike is educational and fun for the whole family. You will be guided along the trail to meet the following characters: butterfly, bat, prairie blazing star, hummingbird, and cup plant. After the hike, you can make a craft and enjoy some treats. The cost is $4 per person and those under 3 are free.

Pumpkin Palooza

October 27

6 p.m.

The Salvation Army – Des Moines Citadel

The Salvation Army – Des Moines Citadel will be having Pumpkin Palooza on October 27, 2021, at 6:00 PM with food, fun, and prizes! Join us for a night of fun! Free dinner at 6:00 PM followed by crazy pumpkin fun! Games, candy prizes – Door prizes will be drawn every 30 minutes.

Trick or Read

October 28

6 to 7:30 p.m.

Ankeny Library

The Annual Trick or Read Event will once again be done via drive-thru, as we want to social distance and keep everyone safe. Join us outside the library on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 6-7:30 p.m. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Brittany will be handing out goodie bags, filled with treats and early-literacy activities. Maps will be available at our circulation desk and on our website and Facebook page in the next few weeks. We can’t wait to see you all there! 

Halloween Hayday Parade!

October 30

3:30 p.m.

Dallas Center, Iowa

Join the Seasonal Fun Committee for the Halloween Hayday Parade! The parade begins at 3:30 p.m. at Mound Park. From 4 to 6 p.m. enjoy arts & crafts, chili cook-off, hot dogs, and apple cider. Then head out for a town-wide trick or treat!

Spooky Spiders

October 30

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Spiders are the most commonly feared and misunderstood creatures in this world. Discover how spiders are actually fascinating animals, including their unique adaptations and the important role they play in ecosystems. You’ll even get to meet the Jester Park Nature Center’s resident spider. REGISTRATION: https://bit.ly/2Vmma6i DEADLINE: Register by Friday, October 29 COST: Free AGES: 5+ 


October 29; 6 to 9 p.m,

October 30; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m,

October 31; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

People of all ages will enjoy this festive event at the Greater Des Moines BOOtanical Garden!

Trick-or-Trees will feature interactive activities, entertainment, and opportunities to learn about trees and spooky botanicals throughout the outdoor gardens. Costumes are encouraged!

On-site activities throughout the three-day event will include: educational activities about trees and spooky botanicals, botanical potions activity, festive, botanical displays from Garden supporters, carved pumpkins throughout the Garden and so much more!

Costume Hike + Scavenger Hunt

October 31

10 a.m.

Brown’s Woods

Put on your costumes and head to Brown’s Woods for a hike and scavenger hunt! Kids will receive a scavenger hunt card and will hit the trail to mark off what they find, both natural items in the park and some fun Halloween-themed props. We will have both easy and more difficult scavenger hunt cards so all ages can participate. Kids will redeem their cards for a candy-free treasure bag. Nature crafts and a family photo station will also be available at the park. More information and registration at www.muddybootsforestcamp.org.

Halloween Hullabaloo

October 31

5 to 7 p.m.

West Des Moines RecPlex

ages 12+: $10; ages 2 – 11: $8; Under 2 years: FREE

If you are looking for an event on Halloween night, check this out! Calling all goblins, ghosts, and ghouls! Head on over to the RecPlex for a spooky good time in a family-friendly environment. We will decorate pumpkins and glittery pumpkin mason jars, have fun activities like hula hoop pumpkin toss and monster freeze dance, snacks, and more! Space will be limited…don’t miss out! Must register with WDM Park and Recreation.

Pumpkin Express Trains 

Details to come!

Mystical Forest Halloween Drive-Through

October 31

2 to 5 p.m.

The Brenton Arboretum

During this drive-through event, you’ll wind your way through the Mystical Forest to view spooky scenes with scenic fall vistas in between. Vote for your favorite scene at the end of your drive!

Fee: $5 per passenger car. (No buses) Exact cash required at the gate, or pre-register by Oct. 30th for faster check-in and a $1 discount!

Trick-or-Treat on the Farm

October 31

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Howell’s Pumpkin Patch

Come join us for some fun on our last weekend of pumpkin season. Anyone 2 years of age and older dressed in their favorite costume will receive half off their general admission wristband. Visit all of our farm attractions for a special beggar’s treat.

All Halloween events are also listed on our extensive Des Moines Parent event calendar.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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