6 haunted houses to try in the Des Moines metro for the 2021 Halloween season

As the leaves begin to turn and the days grow shorter, all thoughts turn to Halloween.

To help you celebrate this spooky spectacle, the Des Moines Register has put together this list of ghoulish gathering spots, many of which open their doors to horror lovers on Friday, October 1.

The haunted attraction of the slaughterhouse

  • Address: 500, rue Locust, Des Moines
  • Price: $ 25 to $ 30

Ian Miller has always made sure that fears get more and more frightening every year, and after nearly a decade of fostering fear and fun, The Slaughterhouse Haunted Attraction owner says that’s not going to change.

“We are always adding new items every year and improving existing items,” Miller said. “So Slaughterhouse fans new and old can expect to see new things … but also to experience things they’ve loved from years gone by.”

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Scheduled to operate on weekends October 1-31, Slaughterhouse occupies the basement at 500 Locust Street in the heart of downtown Des Moines, with a street-level entrance. This will mark the attraction’s second year operating there, with more than double the size of its former hangout, according to Miller.

Ian Miller poses for a photo in his new Slaughterhouse escape room in downtown Des Moines on Friday, April 16, 2021.

The slaughterhouse opening hours are from 7:00 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays. Hours of operation will be 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, October 21.

Guests will wander through a maze of flashing lights, animatronics, and costumed actors. Sets range from mine carts to a pagan sacrificial chamber.

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New features will include a character called Vinnie the Ventriloquist and a section called The Hall of Doll.

Miller also said he was planning antics that would ensure that queuing was “just as entertaining as the attraction itself,” although that wait should be short given the timed ticket booth.

He said Slaughterhouse hosted around 7,000 guests in the 2020 pandemic year, about half of what the place has seen in its best year.

“It was reduced attendance, but it was because of how careful we were with COVID, being in its first wave, so we were very restrictive in terms of attendance last year,” he said. he declares. “This year we will have fewer restrictions, but still attention to cleanliness and sanitation.”

More information on the haunted slaughterhouse attraction can be found at abattoirdm.com.

Scare DSM

Scare DSM director Zach Wiechmann applies horror makeup to an actor.
  • Address: 97, avenue Indiana, Des Moines
  • Price: $ 20 to $ 40

Originally slated to launch in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic causes a delay, Scare DSM opens for the season on Friday, October 1, from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays until the end of the month. A special “Night of the Living Drag” event is scheduled for October 28 from 7:30 pm to 10 pm.

Breanne Barnum, commercial director of Scare DSM, said she and her husband bought the old paint factory on the north side of Des Moines five years ago and turned it into artist studios. It also hosted The Slaughterhouse Haunted Attraction until this attraction moved downtown last year.

The new haunted house will take a look at the history of the place by depicting an abandoned paint factory overrun by the living dead.

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Barnum said attendees – who are encouraged to be masked and vaccinated – will spend about 30 minutes going through 12,000 square feet of thrills and chills.

Barnum is unsure of what to expect in terms of footfall, saying Scare DSM “is preparing for thousands, but it could be hundreds.”

Barnum hopes to continue expanding the attraction with upgraded props while revamping the theme every three to five years.

More information on Scare DSM is available at scaredsm.com.

Linn’s haunted house

Linn's haunted house
  • Address: 3805 Sixième avenue, Des Moines
  • Price: $ 20

Located in the basement of Linn Supermarket in Des Moines’ Highland Park neighborhood, Linn’s Haunted House has been a running attraction for over 30 years, focusing more on shadows and suspense than blood and blood.

The venue opens Friday, October 1 and remains operational every Friday and Saturday until the end of the month, as well as the last two Thursdays and Sundays and the last Wednesday in October.

Linn’s Haunted House will open at 7 p.m., but closing times will vary from 10 p.m. to midnight. For specific times and other information, visit linnshauntedhouse.com.

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park

  • Address: 4051, avenue Dean, Des Moines
  • Price: $ 28 to $ 48

Sleepy Hollow’s Haunted Scream Park opens on Friday, October 1 and will operate every Friday and Saturday until the end of the month, as well as the last two Sundays and the last Thursday in October.

The park gates open at 7 a.m. each evening, with the ticket office closing at 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Sundays and Halloween and at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, according to the Sleepy Hollow website.

A new attraction this year is Dr. Demonik’s Island, which takes visitors to a remote island home to strange creatures, the result of unbridled experimentation. Other themed attractions include Castle of Blood and Blazing Jack-O-Lanterns.

For more information, visit sleepyhollowscreampark.com.

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Haunted Forest of Ames

  • Address: 1400 S. Fourth St., Ames
  • Price: $ 25

According to the Ames Haunted Forest website, the attraction will open on October 8 and operate from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays until the end of the month.

Participants will walk for 30 minutes through the Haunted Forest, which occupies approximately 6 acres. For more information, visit ameshauntedforest.com.

Tormented Souls Haunt and Scream Park

  • Address: The bus departs from Edgewood Park on South Main Street, Madrid
  • Price: $ 21, $ 29 or $ 45

Tormented Souls Haunt and Scream Park promises fear, food, and fun for those hungry for Halloween.

The site will open on Saturday, October 2 and will operate from 7:15 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. every Friday and Saturday until the end of the month. To reach its undisclosed “middle of nowhere” location, horror fans will board a terror bus at the southeast corner of Madrid’s Edgewood Park.

The 22-acre site will contain a haunted maze (admission $ 21) and a Zee-Pocalypse zombie hunting paintball (admission $ 29). Combined admission is $ 45. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

You can find more information about the event at tormentedsoulshaunt.com.

Halloween hauntings are not open for 2021

Some of central Iowa’s traditional Halloween haunts will remain buried for another year.

The haunted barn of Ankeny

The Ankeny’s Haunted Barn Facebook page announced that it will not be returning this year because the city rejected its application for a special event permit. Organizers say they are working to refund tickets sold in advance and could move the attraction back to another venue in 2022.

The Haunted Barn in Ankeny, Iowa.

The haunted garage

Grimes’ Haunted Garage will remain closed for a second season. There is no word on future plans.

Waukee Haunted House

Usually sponsored by the Waukee Park Board, the haunted house has been canceled for 2021.

Zombie Hollow

The yard lair, which was originally from Urbandale before moving to Winterset, is closed due to the high price of lumber needed to build its sets and other infrastructure, organizer Lew Jordan said. He said he hopes Zombie Hollow will return next year.

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at Des Moines Register. Contact him at [email protected] or (319) -600-2124, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.

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