Halloween Events in Des Moines

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Halloween in Des Moines 2023

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, and head out to celebrate in Des Moines. Play fun games, enjoy non-scary trick or treating, and have tons of family-friendly events.

** Keep this page bookmarked. We will be updating it daily through the season!

Other Halloween Resources:

2023 Sponsor | Des Moines Children’s Museum

Halloween Party

October 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Des Moines Children’s Museum

Come celebrate Halloween with us! Wear your costumes, enjoy bobbing for apples, pumpkin bowling, and more. $10 for ages 1 – 10, free for adults and children over 10. Free for members.

Sensory Friendly Halloween Party

October 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Des Moines Children’s Museum

A calm and quiet Halloween Party for sensory-sensitive children and their families. Halloween-themed sensory bins, quiet games, and our usual calming area will be available. Admission is free for our sensory-friendly time.

Halloween Party

October 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Des Moines Children’s Museum

Come celebrate Halloween with us! Wear your costumes, enjoy bobbing for apples, pumpkin bowling, and more. $10 for ages 1 – 10, free for adults and children over 10. Free for members.

Halloween Party

October 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Des Moines Children’s Museum

Come celebrate Halloween with us! Wear your costumes, enjoy bobbing for apples, pumpkin bowling, and more.
$10 for ages 1 – 10, free for adults and children over 10. Free for members.

Movie in the Park

October 6 at 6:15 p.m.

Colby Park

Join Windsor Heights for a Movie in the Park! They will be showing Hocus Pocus and serving free pizza, popcorn, soda, and cookies.

Spirits in the Gardens 

October 13 & 20; 6 to 9 p.m.

October 14 & 15 and October 21 & 22; 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 the schedule here.

Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo 

October 19-22 & 26-29

5:30 o 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! 

Halloween in Uptown

October 19 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Uptown Ankeny

For 2023, Uptown Ankeny has added an entire block of entertainment to our beloved Trunk-Or-Treat event! Come for the candy, in the form of TWO blocks of trunk-or-treating, then stay for more Halloween frights and delights! Spooky tunes from DJ Big Lare, costume contest, face painting, balloon animals, rides on the Uptown Express, and Pirate’s Revenge galleon ride, plus more bewitching surprises. Halloween In Uptown is presented by our friends at Veridian Credit Union.

Costume Contest:
Enter to win in one of three categories: Best Costume, Best Group Costume, and Best Handmade Costume. Check in from 5-6 pm. Judging at 6:30, prizes will be awarded at 7. Must be present to win!

Haunted Hantesa

October 20 & 21 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Camp Hantesa

Ring in the spooky season at Camp Fire’s annual Halloween celebration! Bring your family to the free haunted forest at Camp Hantesa! Brave the haunted trail for some family-friendly scariness and then enjoy a bonfire and treats.

Bring your trick-or-treat bag for some free candy, make some s’mores on the fire, and purchase snacks and cider for the road!

Not interested in the spooky forest?
Not to fear, there will be activities for all interests! Join them for games, Halloween-themed activities, and more.

This event is free for all to attend. No need to sign up, just show up!

Family Halloween

October 20-22 & 27-29; Times vary

Living History Farms

Take part in the annual Living History Farms Family Halloween! You’ll be welcomed into the 1876 town of Walnut Hill to enjoy trick-or-treating at historic storefronts, try your hand at games like pumpkin bowling, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, and listen to enchanting storytellers. Take a look at the times and purchase tickets!

Harvest Hoedown

October 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Valley Community Center

Harvest Hoedown is a FREE community event for anyone ages 14+ with special needs. Come dressed for a hoedown to enjoy a festive dinner followed by karaoke, wagon rides, and games. This event is free, but please sign up to let us know you’re coming!

Families with kids younger than 14 — Join us for a Families With Special Needs Night!

Halloween Candy Drop

October 21 from Noon to 2 p.m.

Union Park

Celebrate Halloween by bringing the family out for our annual Candy Drop! With assistance from the Des Moines Fire Department, we will be dumping hundreds of pounds of candy from the sky for your little ones to collect and enjoy! Costumes are not required, but encouraged!

The Great Pumpkin Party

October 22; 6 to 8 p.m. (Families with Special Needs Night)

October 23 – October 25; 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!

Witchcrafts Under the Stars

October 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Ankeny Bandshell

Come join Ankeny Parks & Recreation for Coco and receive a Halloween kit, which will include a craft, pumpkin, candy, and more! Pre-registration is required. Bring your blankets and chairs for a fun night at the Bandshell.

Halloween Hoopla

October 20 from 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 Blue Heron 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.

Spooky Science

October 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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 programming.

All activities are included with admission – free for SCI members!

Costumes are encouraged. No costume weapons will be allowed in the building.

GPS Great Pumpkin Hunt

October 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m.

Greenwood Park

On Oct. 29 starting at 10:30 a.m. we will host a GPS event in Greenwood Park. Participants will learn how to use a hand-held global Positioning Unit and then will use the GPS to find the “GreatPumpkin” in the park. Hidden in the park will be a series of smaller pumpkins leading the way to “the Great Pumpkin.” Each pumpkin will have interesting information about Greenwood Park and a prize. Move at your own pace and see if you can find all the pumpkins and your destination will be “the Great Pumpkin” that you get to take home with you. Pre-registration is required. The fee is $10 and only applies to participants who will be collecting prizes  

Halloween Hullabaloo

October 28 from 5 to 7 p.m.

West Des Moines RecPlex

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

Calling all goblins, ghosts, and ghouls. Head on over to the RecPlex for a spooky good time in a family-friendly environment. You will decorate pumpkins and play fun games and activities like hula hoop pumpkin toss, monster freeze dance, snacks, and more. Space will be limited so don’t miss out! Register here.

Trick or Trees

October 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Join the Greater Des Moines BOOtanical Garden for Trick or Trees presented by Voya Financial!
This festive, family-friendly event includes activities, entertainment, and trick-or-treating in the Garden. Visitors can participate in creeptastic educational activities about trees and spooky botanicals. Costumes are encouraged!

Day of the Dead

October 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join the Des Moines Art Center’s 2023 Day of the Dead celebration, Unidos Por Deportes (United by Sports), which pays homage to the integral role that organized sports play in Mexican communities throughout Iowa. This festive, free, family event features hands-on art activities, traditional food, music, sports demonstrations, and an ofrenda showcasing the achievements and contributions of local Latinx athletes.

From baseball and basketball to boxing and soccer, organized sports foster pride and resilience in our vibrant community. Join us to experience a unique fusion of culture and athletics, honoring the past, embracing the present, and celebrating the unity that will help us move into the future.

Trick-or-Treat on the Farm

October 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Howell’s Pumpkin Patch

Come explore the farm Scavenger Hunt style. Complete your list and redeem it for your tasty treats. 

Hooray for Halloween

October 30 from 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!! You must register.

Halloween on the Hill

October 31 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Historic Sherman Hill

The residents of Sherman Hill will be decorating their historic homes with spooky scenes and collecting non-perishable food items for the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry. Halloween on the Hill continues to grow as more residents decorate and crowds surge!

The event is FREE; however, visitors are asked to bring a non-perishable food item or donation to benefit the DMARC pantry.

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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