Halloween Events in Des Moines

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Halloween in Des Moines 2022

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!

Halloween events, halloween activities, fall, Des Moines, iowa

Family Halloween at Living History Farms | 2022 Sponsor

  • Saturday, October 15, 5-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 16, 4-7 p.m.
  • Friday, October 21, 5-8 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 22, 5-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 23, 4-7 p.m.
  • Friday, October 28, 5-8 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 29, 5-8 p.m.

Family Halloween is a tradition of more than 30 years at Living History Farms. Families are welcomed into the 1876 town of Walnut Hill to trick-or-treat at our historic businesses, try their hand at pumpkin bowling and other games, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, and listen to enchanting storytellers. Wagon rides are weather-dependent; other activities may move inside if necessary. Admission is $8 per person or $7 for members. Children 1 and under are free.

Movie in the Park

October 7 at 6:15 p.m.

Windsor Heights Community Center

They will be showing Hocus Pocus! Also, come to the Community Events Center early for FREE Pizza, Cookies, Popcorn, and drinks before the movie!

Youth Halloween Craft Event!

October 8 at 10 a.m.

AR Workshop Ankeny

At this workshop, your kids can DIY an exclusive Halloween 3D Bats 12″x16″ Plank Wood Sign. This specialty workshop is $45. Come to AR Workshop and enjoy a spooky good time! Registration is required. This special event is not eligible for promotions or coupons. 

Movie in the Yard

October 8 at 7 p.m.

Johnston Town Center

Kick off the Halloween season with a Movie in the Yard at the Johnston Town Center. They will be playing Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) on Saturday, October 8 at 7 p.m.

Pumpkin Party with BINGO

October 14 at 5 p.m.

Kids Create

It’s a DATE NIGHT CLASS!

Send your student to the studio for a fun evening celebrating the season! Students will learn about patterns and color theory, and then paint a pumpkin using their new knowledge. We will also play Halloween bingo for prizes and watch a short show with popcorn and M&M’s. This relaxed evening is 1/2 art class and 1/2 party. Expect your child to have a blast and go home with a one-of-a-kind painted pumpkin masterpiece! – the perfect table centerpiece!

Examples of prizes include fruit snacks, candy necklaces, watercolor paints, colored pencils, charm bracelets, a ring pop, etc.

Serve your child dinner at home and expect them to snack at the studio. Please always send your child in painting clothes.

Drive-in Movie: Hotel Transylvania

October 14 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Walnut Creek Park, Urbandale

The movie starts at 6:30 p.m., parking lot opens at 5:00 p.m. The cost is FREE, but MUST pre-register, as only 75 spots will be available. ONE parking pass per address/family. (This is verified before we mail out the parking passes.) PARKING PASSES for ADMISSION will be mailed out the week prior. You MUST display the parking pass in your vehicle’s window dash in order to enter the parking lot. Bring your own snacks and drinks!

Harvest Fest: Hosting World Singing Day

October 15 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Des Moines Central Library

Celebrate autumn with crafts, a spooky sing-along, and a showing of the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, all while sipping hot cocoa! Sing-along begins outside on the Library lawn at 11 a.m., followed by Hocus Pocus at noon inside the Library.  Family-friendly costumes are encouraged!

Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo 

October 20-23 & 27-30

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! 

Witchcrafts Under the Stars

October 15 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ankeny Bandshell

Come join Ankeny Parks & Recreation for The Addams Family 2 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.

Geocache Pumpkin Hunt

October 16 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Yellow Banks Park

Learn how to use a GPS, then go search the park to find some pumpkins, collecting candy along the way! Be sure to keep an eye out for spiders along the way that are worth special prizes. Space is limited, so register early.

REGISTRATION: https://bit.ly/3RtHjTP

DEADLINE: October 12

COST: $5

AGES: 3-14

Spooky Tale Trail

October 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Altoona Library

Come trick-or-treat on our glow-in-the-dark Tale Trail! We will have a light-up story for you to read along the way. Ages 12 and under. No registration is required.

Night Eyes

October 20-23 & 27-30

Blank Park Zoo

Ready for one of central Iowa’s sweetest family traditions? Roam through enchanted lighted displays, a merry-not-scary treat safari, and enjoy live entertainment and games, all while learning more about and supporting wildlife. It is time for dazzling lights, festive delights, and merry-not-scary Halloween nights of Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo.

At Night Eyes, you’ll enjoy:

  • the treat safari
  • fun zone with carnival games and bounce houses
  • costume characters and live entertainment
  • lights and fun displays

Night Eyes tickets go on sale on October 1. Tickets are valid for any one evening during Night Eyes and not for a specific day and time.

Tickets: $8, $6/members, under 12 months are free.

Haunted Hantesa

October 21 & 22 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 us for games, Halloween-themed activities, and more. This event is free for all to attend. No need to sign up, just show up!

Halloween Party

October 21 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Des Moines Children’s Museum

Join the Des Moines Children’s Museum for their Halloween party, Night At The Museum style! Go on a scavenger hunt for exhibits that have come to life in the Museum, a haunted maze, disco dancing, and more! Regular admission prices and rules apply.

Spirits in the Gardens 

October 21; Sneak peek 7 to 9 p.m. (No candy or shows. Just pumpkins)

October 22 & 23; 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.

Halloween Hoopla

October 21 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.

Wizards in the Wild

October 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Join us as you transport yourself into the wizarding world of nature! Make nature wands, mix potions, sort yourself into your wizard house, and more. Wizard attire is welcome!

REGISTRATION: https://bit.ly/3B4EiCs

DEADLINE: October 15th

COST: $5 per person

AGES: All ages welcome

Halloween Candy Drop

October 22 from Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Union Park

Celebrate Halloween by bringing your family to Union Park on Saturday, October 22 for an inaugural 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 encouraged, but not required.

Ages 5 and under – Noon

Ages 6-12 – 12:30 p.m.

All-Inclusive – 1 p.m.

Spooky Science

Science Center of Iowa – Details, and date of not been released yet.

Howl-O-Ween Paw-Ty

October 22 from 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-WEENat the Dog Park. This fun pooch paw-ty will feature fun and games for the dogs with dog-friendly vendors on site. Bring your dog in costume and take a fun fall photo at our photo stop! Please note: This is a special event inside the dog park, so a separate fee to participate is required. DogPark season passes will not be honored in lieu of the registration fee.

The Great Pumpkin Party

October 23; 6 to 8 p.m. (Families with Special Needs Night)

October 24 – October 26; 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!

Hooray for Halloween

October 24 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 Hayday Parade!

October 29 from 3:30 to 8 p.m.

Dallas Center

3:30 PM: Halloween Hayday Parade!
4-6 PM: Fun & Games, & Free will donation Chili and Hot Dogs
6-8 PM: TOWN-WIDE TRICK OR TREAT!

GPS Great Pumpkin Hunt

October 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 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 that will be collecting prizes  

Halloween Hullabaloo

October 29 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. We 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.

Spooky Spiders

October 29 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Spiders are one of the most commonly feared and misunderstood animals. Learn about some of 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: None

COST: Free

AGES: All ages welcome

Day of the Dead

October 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Des Moines Art Center invites you to join us for a day of food, activities, and entertainment in this festive fusion of Mexican traditions!

Lucha libre and Día de los Muertos are cultural parallels of Mexican origins. The word lucha has a double meaning, it is the name of the popular wrestling sport, as well as the ability to use your whole heart and soul to overcome struggles and obstacles. Day of the Dead celebrations honor those who came before us, our ancestors, and those we have loved and lost.

This year, the Des Moines Art Center, in collaboration with Iowa Artist Miriam Alarcón Avila, will infuse la lucha into our annual Day of the Dead Celebration, honoring Our Luchadores Ancestors.

Take advantage of easy parking and a free shuttle from Merrill Middle School, running continuously from 11:30 am to 3 pm.

Spooktacular Trees Halloween Drive-Through

October 30 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Brenton Arboretum

Before you fill your bags with candy, fill your travel mugs with cider and come out to the Arboretum for a Halloween drive. During this daytime drive-through event, you’ll creep through the Spooktacular trees to view delightfully spooky scenes crafted by local businesses, clubs, and organizations with scenic fall vistas in between. Costumes are encouraged!

Fee: $5 per passenger car. (No buses) Exact cash is required at the gate.

Bat House Building

October 30 from 10 to 11 a.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Bats are one of the most effective natural controllers of insects, eating thousands of bugs nightly. Currently, bat populations are decreasing. Help them out by building a bat house. Not only does this give them a safe place to live and breed, it also attracts bats to your neighborhood, helping to decrease mosquitos. A naturalist will give a short presentation about bats before we begin construction. All materials and tools provided.

REGISTRATION: https://bit.ly/3QqLONH

DEADLINE: October 21

COST: $25 AGES: 10 and up with an adult 

Trick-or-Treat on the Farm

October 30 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.  Individuals dressed in their favorite FULL costume will receive half-priced admission today only.

Bats! Creatures of the Night

October 30 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Are they blind? Do they really suck blood and turn into vampires? Come learn the truth about this “grossly” misunderstood animal. Learn how to deal with them when they become an unwanted houseguest and find out what you can do to help protect this beneficial species.

REGISTRATION: None

COST: Free

AGES: All ages welcome

Halloween Party at The Pumpkin Ranch

October 30 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Pumpkin Ranch

Join us for Trick-or-Treating around The Ranch, a costume contest, and more!! This event is free with your paid admission.

Sensory Friendly Boo Bash

October 31 at 12:30 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.

*Please note: This time is for our patrons with special needs and their families. If you and your family do not meet these requirements, please join us for the Boo Bash event that starts at 1 pm.

Boo Bash

October 31 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Johnston Public Library

Drop in anytime between 1 & 3 pm to trick or treat throughout the library. Enjoy a delicious treat and take pictures in the photo booth. Costumes encouraged!

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.

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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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