Halloween Events in Des Moines

Halloween in Des Moines 2018


Celebrate the spooky season with one of these fun Halloween events happening in Des Moines. Dress up in your costumes and head out to celebrate in Des Moines. Let me know if I am missing your family-fun event.

Looking for a challenge? Download our Fall Bucket List NOW!

Halloween, Des Moines, Iowa

Monster Bash 

Saturday, October 6 

10:45 a.m. to Noon 

The Family Tree Yoga 

Dress up as a silly monster and join us as we do the Monster Mash, Monster theme yoga, read a Monster story, create an Essential Oil “scare away the monsters” bedtime room spray, eat a delicious monster cookie and do a fun craft.

This morning is made to be fun, not scary and is perfect for ages 4 to 8 years old. $25 per child + $10 per sibling. Limited tickets are available.

Pumpkin Express Trains 

Saturday, October 6, 13, 20

10 to 11:45 a.m.

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad 

Get into your Halloween costume, and take the family on this one hour and thirty-minute journey (across our 156′ tall Bass Point Creek High Bridge, and the Des Moines River Bridge) to the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s pumpkin patch. Once at the patch, children will be able to select their perfect pumpkin before returning to town. On the return trip, children will receive an activity booklet and a treat.

Pumpkin Palooza

Saturday, October 13

3 to 5 p.m. 

Journey Church

Journey Church cordially events you to join us for our third annual PUMPKIN PALOOZA- a FREE event with family fun for everyone. Bounce houses, princesses, superheroes, carnival games, candy, popcorn and much more.

Holiday in the Park (Halloween)

Monday, October 15 

5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Urbandale Parks & Recreation 

Join your friends as we make a Halloween themed craft. Located at Senior Recreation Center in the Art Room. $8 fee for ages 5-11 years. Register with Urbandale Parks and Recreation.

Pumpkin Carving at Iowa Arboretum 

Thursday, October 18

5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

Test your carving skills and enjoy a hot bowl of chili, a warm piece of cornbread and a cool dessert. The pumpkins will be displayed during the Arboretum’s Halloween events. RSVP: info@iowaarboretum.org.

Ar”boo” ween at Iowa Arboretum

Saturday, October 20 

1 to 3 p.m.

Put on your favorite superhero, princess or creative costume and join the parade of activities and treats at the Arboretum. Scarecrows and pumpkins will be decorated for the holiday. Enjoy hayrides, the hay maze and games at this fun family Halloween event

Ar “boo” Scare at Iowa Arboretum

Saturday, October 20

6 to 8:30 p.m.

As the sun sets over the Iowa Arboretum… the Halloween Ar “Boo” Scare event begins. Darkness, sounds of time past and hidden surprises set the stage for Halloween night. Walk the “No Return Hidden Trail” and ride the “Hayride to the Valley of Darkness.” Bring a flashlight, wear a costume and enjoy the cool night air. Look for carved pumpkins, scarecrows and lots of treats and treasures at this night event.

Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo 

October 18 – 21; 25 – 28

Thursdays & Fridays: 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 1 to 8 p.m.

Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo has become the sweetest Halloween fun in central Iowa. Be sure to join us to see all the magical characters, take a ride on the train and gather as many sweet treats as you can.

Non- Member ticket $6

Member ticket $5

Family Halloween at Living History Farms

October 18 – 21; October 25 – 28 

5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Families are welcomed into the 1875 town of Walnut Hill to enjoy safe, non-scary trick-or-treating at our historic businesses, try their hand at pumpkin bowling, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, and listen to enchanting storytellers. Living History Farms offers “teal pumpkins” stops for trick-or-treaters with allergies. Buy your ticket early – pre-registrants save money and skip the line!

Schedule of theme nights and table of ticket prices.

Halloween Hoopla at Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge

Friday, October 19

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

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. 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!

Please note: All children must be supervised by a paying adult to participate in the evening festivities and to ride the hayrack.

ages 12+: $6 ages 2 – 11: $4 under 2 years: FREE

Must register with WDM Park and Recreation.

Spirits in the Gardens 

Saturday, October 20; 4 to 10 p.m. 

Sunday, October 21; 4 to 9 p.m. 

Reiman Gardens

All are welcome to join in the spooky fun by attending in costume. As part of a new, astounding display, see 650 carved pumpkins lit against the evening sky. Trick or treat at Reiman Gardens and do activities. Enjoy storytelling by Jerri Heid from the Ames Public Library and more. Come dressed in costume and a bag to collect candy.


Members: $3 in advance and $4 at the door.
General Public: $5 in advance and $6 at the door.
No refunds.

4 – 7 p.m. Trick or treat
4 – 7 p.m. Crafts in the Garden Room
7 – 9 p.m.  Jack-O-Lantern walk 

The Great Pumpkin Party at Valley Church

Monday, October 22 – Special Needs Night 

Tuesday, October 23

Wednesday, October 24

6 to 8 p.m. 

The entire community is invited to the Great Pumpkin party! Kids, wear your non-scary costumes and enjoy giant inflatables, pony rides, petting zoo, Jesse Joyner Juggling and Illusions, carnival games, free popcorn, and more! The Great Pumpkin Party is Des Moines’ best family activity this fall. And it’s totally free! You won’t want to miss it.

Hooray for Halloween

Monday, October 22

6 to 7 p.m. 

Giovannetti Shelter 

For ages 2-12 years

It will be 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 is October 15. $8 fee; Register with Urbandale Parks and Rec.

Creepy Capers

Thursday, October 25 

6 to 7 p.m. 

Lakeside Center

Animals, creatures, superheroes, princesses and more are all invited to this Halloween Party! Participants will play games, collect goodies, decorate cookies and roast marshmallows. Pre-registration is required. $7 per child. Register with Ankeny Parks & Recreation.

Halloween Hop

Thursday, October 25; 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. 

Friday, October 26; 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. 

Clive Public Library 

Halloween Hop: Celebrate Halloween at the library with a costume dance party! We’ll pull out some of our favorite Halloween tunes along with treats and not so spooky fun. Please choose only one date to attend. Register Clive Public Library to register.

Trick or Treat Night Indoors

Thursday, October 25

5 to 7 p.m. 


Put your Halloween costumes on and bring the whole family for our 9th annual Homemakers Trick-or-Treat Night! Your kids will love showing off their costumes and fill their bags with fun toys, treats, and goodies—and parents will appreciate the cozy, indoor atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else. So, gather your pirates, superheroes, and princesses to stop by Homemakers for our free Trick or Treat extravaganza!

Spooky Science at the Science Center of Iowa

Saturday, October 27 

10 a.m to 4 p.m.

Hair-raising experiments, bubbling potions, and visual illusions abound during Spooky Science at the Science Center of Iowa! Dust the cobwebs off of your costume and join the Science Center of Iowa. Trick-or-treat your way throughout the building and experience themed programming. Wear your costume, and receive $1 off general admission to SCI.

Annual Halloween Fest at Grimes Community Center 

Saturday, October 27

4 to 7 p.m.

The gym will be packed with inflatables, activities around the facility, and candy for all at the booths set up. Admission is $1 per person or $5 MAX per family (Ages 2 and Under are free). Adults are encouraged to dress up too!

Mysteries of the Castle – Children’s Halloween Party 

Saturday, October 27 

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Salisbury House & Gardens

The spooktacular family-friendly Halloween party encourages children to come in costume and enjoy interactive & craft activities, science experiments with Mad Science of Iowa, museum scavenger hunt, face painting, storytelling, balloon art, University of Iowa Mobile Museum, live children’s entertainment, trick-or-treating and much more! This is a fun, festive and safe activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Dracula 2018

Saturday, October 27

Iowa Dance Theatre

More details soon!

Pick Your Pumpkin

Sunday, October 28 

1 to 4 p.m. 

Urbandale Public Swimming Pool 

Pick your pumpkin night! 50 pumpkins will be placed into the pool, swim around and find the pumpkin that you want to take home to decorate! Located at the Urbandale Swimming Pool 3:30 to 4 p.m. Admission into the pool applies.

Pumpkin Walk in Valley Junction 

Sunday, October 28 

2 to 5 p.m.

Join the Halloween fun as children show off their costumes and travel through Historic Valley Junction. This is a free event. There will be children’s activities at select shops, hay rack rides, and free pumpkins.

Howl-O-Ween Pooch Party

Sunday, October 28 

2 to 4 p.m. 

Ankeny Dog Park 

Bring your pooch to the Ankeny Dog Park for some Halloween fun! Trick-or-treating for your dog, Halloween games and more! Costume contest judging will begin at 3 p.m. Cost is $5 per dog.

Costume Weekend at Center Grove Orchard

Saturday, October 27 & Sunday, October 28

During normal business hours.

Put on your costumes and come to the Farmyard! What better place to go Trick or Treating than at Center Grove Orchard! Our staff will be dressed in their festive costumes, handing out candy at many different Trick or Treat locations.


1:00-4:00 PM: Superman and Wonder Woman Meet & Greet
Trick-or-Treating all day


1:00-4:00 PM: Superman and Wonder Woman Meet & Greet
Trick-or-Treating all day

Pumpkin Destruction at Center Grove Orchard 

Saturday, November 3 & Sunday, November 4

Come watch and participate in different ways to destroy a pumpkin! From smashing them and bashing them to dropping them from a crane! It’s definitely a crowd favorite so don’t miss out! (Rain date for Crane Drop & Big Tractor Smash: Sunday, November 4)


Pumpkin Crane Drop & Big Tractor Smash (Saturday only)


Rain Date, if needed:  Pumpkin Crane Drop & Big Tractor Smash

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

Leave a Reply