Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in October

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Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in October

Put on your flannel, fill up your pumpkin spice, and go pumpkin picking, October is here! Plan your October with a trip to Winterset, the Reiman Gardens, or stay local and celebrate Oktoberfest in Waukee. And for all the fall fun check out our Fall Guide.

Bookmark these other Halloween resources for October:


Address: 550 Ashworth Dr, Waukee, IA 50263

Hours: Saturday, October 7th, 4:30 PM-11:00 PM 

Cost: Tickets are $10 each

Wauktoberfest is a fundraising event for the Waukee Area Historical Society. Throughout the evening, you’ll see live performances by three different bands. Enjoy ice-cold beer in steins, delicious food, and German traditions.  

Worldwide Food Truck Tours

Address: Court Ave Bridge, Des Moines, IA 50309

Hours: Saturday, October 7th, 12:00 PM-10:00 PM

Cost: Tickets start at $5

Try a variety of culinary delights at Worldwide Food Truck Tours. There you’ll find food trucks from all over with things from salty to sweet. Enjoy your food with live entertainment or relax at the beer tent. Bring the little ones to the kid’s zone to play. 

Raccoon River Rally

Address: Raccoon River Park, 2500 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Hours: Saturday, October 14th, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM

Cost: Free admission 

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce and the City of West Des Moines present the Raccoon River Rally. Raccoon River Rally is a fall festival to celebrate the beauty of nature and community. There will be something for everyone including cardboard boat races, beer, food trucks, and a family fun zone. 

Raccoon River Rally, West Des Moines, Iowa, Raccoon River Park, Fall festival

Madison County Covered Bridge Festival

Address: Winterset Courthouse Square, 73 Jefferson Street, Winterset IA 50273

Hours: October 14th and 15th, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Cost: $3 per person or $5 for two people, free for children under 12 
Make your way to Winterset to experience the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival. Each day will include arts and crafts vendors, food, live music, a farmers market, and a kid’s zone. At the kid’s zone, enjoy free face painting (9:00 AM-12:00 PM), disc golf, axe throwing, and the Blank Park Zoo will make an appearance. Don’t miss the parade on Sunday at 3:00 PM. Other activities around the area will include a tractor ride to five covered bridges, a Winterset Firefighters Pancake Breakfast, and free smores and popcorn from the Madison County Historical Complex.

Howell’s Scavenger Hunt and Book Signing-100 Things to Do in Des Moines Before You Die

Address: Howell’s Pumpkin Patch, 3145 Howell Ct, Cumming, IA 50061

Hours: Sunday, October 15th, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM (Howell’s is opened 10:00 AM-6:00 PM)

Cost: Howells admission: $18 per person, $12 for seniors (over 65), $15 for military, free for under 2

Make your annual trip to the Howell’s Pumpkin Patch on October 15th to enjoy all your favorite activities plus a scavenger hunt led by our own Erin Huiatt and a book signing by her too! Learn more about the event here

Spirits in the Garden at Reiman Garden 

Address: Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd, Ames, IA 50011


Jack-O-Lanterns sneak peek on Fridays. (No candy, shows, or other entertainment) 

  • Friday, October 13th, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday, October 20th, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Spirits in the Garden

  • Saturday, October 14th, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 15th, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 21st 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 22nd, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Cost: Purchase Tickets (Tickets are for a specific day and entry time window) 

  • $13: Member Adults Ages 13+ • Must Present Membership Card At Check-In
  • $15: General Public Adults Ages 13+ • General Public
  • $7: Youth Ages 2-12
  • $13: ISU Students Valid with Student ID
  • Free: Infants Under 2 years

Put on your costume and come to Reiman Gardens for Spirits in the Garden. See the amazing Jack-O-Lantern creations, hollusion hologram projections (best after dark), glowing orbs, the Sycamore Falls lighted tower, and of course lots of candy! The walking path through the gardens is about ¾ of a mile. Bring a bag for your candy. 

Halloween, Halloween displays, Halloween lights, Des Moines, Iowa

Blank Park Zoo’s Night Eyes

Address: Blank Park Zoo, 7401 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315

Hours: October 19th-22nd and October 26-29, 5:30 PM-9:00 PM (last entry at 8:30 PM)

Cost: $8 per person, $6 per member, under 12 months are free

Join in on the fun at Blank Park Zoo’s Night Eyes. The merry, not scary event is a favorite family tradition. Walk through the zoo to see the enchanted lighted displays, a treat safari, live entertainment, and games. Stop by the fun zone with free carnival games and inflatables, 

Halloween Hullabaloo at the Rec Plex

Address: West Des Moines RecPlex

Hours: Saturday, October 28th, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM

Cost:  $10 for 12 + older, $8 for 2-11 year olds, Free for under 2 

The Rec Plex is hosting Halloween Hullabaloo. Don’t miss out on pumpkin decorating, monster freeze dance and of course snacks! Space is limited to sign up soon. 

Jackie Fioritto

Jackie Fioritto

Hi, I’m Jackie. I am a teacher who recently became a stay-at-home mother of two. My husband and I moved to Des Moines from Green Bay, Wisconsin a few years ago. Originally, I am from Chicago, Illinois. My family has loved exploring Des Moines and all that it has to offer!

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