Haunted House Guide 2016

Here is the 2016 Haunted House Guide, courtesy of dmhauntedhouses.com!


Even though Des Moines celebrates Halloween as Beggar’s Night on October 30th, there’s one Fall tradition that lines up with the rest of the country: Haunted Houses!


Each year, various barns, basements, garages and even Renaissance festival parks transform into attractions designed to make you jump, scream, and/or laugh. Des Moines continues to serve up everything from family friendly Halloween yard displays, to all-out scream parks designed to make you wish you brought a change of pants.


Here are some of the missing, returning, and new things to scream at this season:


First, after a seven year run, the Ankeny Haunted Barn (www.ankenyhauntedbarn.com) will not be operating this year so you will have to find someplace else to crawl over live snakes and rats. The Slaughterhouse shut down a few years ago, but there are rumors of it’s return next year (www.herepig.com). Tormented Souls Haunt in Madrid (www.tormentedsoulshaunt.com) took a break last year due to a personal loss, but claimed they would return this year. At the time of this writing, they have still not announced dates for 2016.


And now … the lineup:


Ames Haunted Forest – It might seem like a long drive to visit an outdoor haunted walk in Ames, but every year thousands of people travel hours from all over Iowa to be chased through the woods. It is one of the largest and most spread out haunts in the region. If you see their white hearse parked outside, take a look at the license plate. And, don’t worry about the ambulance. Medics like chainsaws too.

Address: 1 block south of Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

Nights: Oct 7-8, 14-15, 21-23 and 28-30, 2016 (10 nights).

Admission: $15, but you can save $1 by using a coupon on their website.

Website: www.ameshauntedforest.com

Pro-Tip: If you love standing in lines, you can find a really nice 2-3 hour one by visiting on the busiest weekends closest to Halloween. Or, go earlier in the season to avoid that.


Grimes Haunted Garage (Home Haunt) – This is a small neighborhood haunted house display in their triple-car garage. It’s great fun for the kids (they will escort them thru if requested) but can still be scream inducing for the rest of us.

Address: 612 NE 13 St, Grimes IA 5011

Nights: Oct 29 and 31, 2016 (2 nights only)

Admission: Free, but donations of canned goods for the food pantry are accepted.

Website: www.facebook.com/grimeshauntedgarage

Pro-Tip: This is a great starter haunted house for your little ones, and a great free thing to check out if you are in the area. It is in a residential neighborhood so drive slowly. It can only handle about 150 visitors per night.


Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House – Although Linn’s Supermarket is now under new management, Merlin Linn has retained the rights to keep offering his yearly haunted house in the basement. Guests will once again get to crawl through that long, dark, claustrophobic, scary, carpeted hallway and say hi to those friendly clowns with chainsaws. This classic haunt has operated for over 30 years, and now is welcoming third-generation fans. After the fear that last year would be the final one, it’s good to have at least one more chance to visit. It’s also the most inexpensive of the multi-weekend haunts, and the only one that open on October 1st.

Address: 3805 6th Ave, Des Moines IA 50313 (at Linn’s Supermaket)

Nights: Oct 1, 7-8, 14-15, and 21-31, 2016 (16 nights).

Admission: $14, but only $10 if you use a coupon during the first two weekends.

Website: www.linnshauntedhouse.com

Pro-Tip: Due to the various crawls, the line can move slowly. Go earlier in the season to avoid long waits to get in. If you can’t find a coupon, drop by the supermarket on a night when the haunt isn’t operating. They sometimes have them there.


Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park – Some folks know this as a place to ski or snowboard in the winter, or that place with the go karts in the summer. In October, we just know it as the place that claims to “scare the yell out of you.” Rather than just a haunted house, this is a Halloween theme park held in an old English village built for a Renaissance faire. This year, over 50 new special effects have been added to the park (animatronics, lighting and sound, projections, etc.) Various ticket packages get you access to up to five haunted houses: Castle of Blood (vampire horror movie), Chaos (heavy metal and strobe lights), Nightmare Estates (trailer park experience), Freak Show (after-hour clown circus haunted walk, added in 2015), and Twisted Tales: The Next Chapter (scary fairy tale haunted walk). Each ticket also includes access to various bonus activities such as the 3-D Gallery: Aliens Attack and the all-new 13 Gates Maze (the largest maze they have ever built). There’s also the add-on Black Ops: Zombie Paintball Ride where you ride in highly modified buses with side-facing seats and customized paintball guns mounted in each window. You get to shoot at props, moving targets, and human zombies lit up by black light. And, if that isn’t enough, you can also try the brand new Infection: Laser Tag game for an additional fee. Club Blood returns as a silent disco where you wear wireless headphones and select which one of three large projections screens you want to dance to. There are also various food, drink and merchandise buildings open.

Address: 4051 Dean Ave, Des Moines IA 50317 (East of the Iowa State Fairgrounds)

Nights: Oct 7-8, 14-15, 20-23 and 27-31, 2016 (12 nights).

Admission: $21 (zombie paintball ride only), $24.50 (3 haunted houses), $28.50 (all five houses), $38 (five haunted houses and zombie paintball ride). Discounts for buying tickets in advance online. NOTE: This year, tickets are sold where you pick a 2-hour time frame where you can go through the houses with shorter waits, while still having access to the rest of the scream park the entire evening.

Website: www.sleepyhollwscreampark.com

Pro-Tip: In recent years, there have been more and more nights where the park completely sells out early, and other nights with a line of over an hour just to buy tickets and get in. Buy online to guarantee admission, and also save money. (A one hour wait on a busy Saturday night might only be 10 minutes on Sunday.)


Waukee Halloween Haunted House – Each year, the City of Waukee turns a park shelter into a haunted house that they say is “not suggested for young children.” Sounds like fun!

Address: Centennial Park, Waukee IA 50263

Nights: Oct 28-29, 2016 (2 nights only)

Admission: $5, but you can get in for $4 if you bring a nonperishable donation for the Waukee Area Food Pantry.

Website: www.waukee.org/475/Halloween-Haunted-House

Pro-Tip: Bring a nonperishable food item so in case you wet your pants, you can at least say you did it for “a good cause.”


Zombie Hollow (Yard Haunt) – This is without a doubt one of the most stunning Halloween displays anywhere around. Each year, artist and backyard Imagineer Lew Jordan (with family and friends) transforms his Urbandale home into an amazing tribute to Disney’s Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean…if they were taken over by zombies. This is not a haunted house where things jump out at you. Instead, it’s a highly detailed walkthrough of sets with music, lighting, and animatronics — almost all of it home built! There’s even a pirate ship attacking a village, just like in the Disney ride. You might also find tributes to the villains of Scooby Doo or Harry Potter. This is a must-see, with special effects that surpass even the big commercial haunts in the area. New this year will be Lew’s tribute to the legendary Disneyland “Hat Box Ghost.”

Address: 3109 Pine Circle, Urbandale IA 50322

Nights: Oct 28-30, 2016 (3 nights only, weather permitting)

Admission: Free, but donations are accepted for Sentinels of Freedom.

Website: www.thezombiehollow.com

Pro-Tip: He can only operate in dry weather, so check his Facebook page before heading out. This is in a cul de sac of a residential area, so drive slowly and be prepared to park down the block. It is self-paced so you can spend as little or as much time as you want admiring all the animatronics, sets and props (and you probably want to stick around to see the entire pirate show cycle).


Fright Manor (Home Haunt) – This is a home haunt in a residential area. These folks previously had a home haunt when they lived in Kansas City and decided to try it out here in Des Moines.
Address: 4102 138th St, Urbandale, IA 50323
Nights: Oct 30-31, 2016 (2 nights only). 6pm-9pm.
Admission: Free, but they will be collecting donations for a local animal shelter.



Allen has been indexing Des Moines haunted houses since 2010 and recently started a comprehensive tribute website to Adventureland Park (www.parkhopping.com). He has posted well over 150,000 digital photos from various theme parks and Renaissance festivals since 1996, and also produces radio and TV ads. He is known to not like clowns with chainsaws.

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