11 Can’t Miss Halloween Events in Des Moines

Ahhh October. A month filled with football, fall weather and Halloween events. Let’s not forget Des Moines trick or treating. This year, October brings new events, annual celebrations, and plenty of ways to get your dose of ghosts, pumpkins and candy. Catch these 11 ways to celebrate Halloween in Des Moines:  

Des Moines Zombie Walk

October 8
11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

If you are itching to be a zombie and support a good cause, then sign up for the Des Moines Zombie Walk. For $20 you can participate in the bazaar which features face painting, fake blood, and a costume contest. Everything you need to create your zombie look! At 2 p.m. all zombies are then released through downtown ending at Zombie Burger. Following the walk, check out the after party featuring four local bands. As for your $20, it goes towards helping Central Iowa Shelter & Services which provides shelter, meals and support services at no cost to adults experiencing homelessness.

Zombie Apocalypse - Des Moines

"Zombie Apocalypse - Des Moines" by Jason Mrachina is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Wine Witches and Brews

Indianola Square

October 14
5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

This is a new shopping event in the square of Indianola. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes (however it’s not required) and can shop local stores while enjoying local wine, beer and spirits. Tickets to attend are $10. That gets you into the event, a special Trick or Treat bag, and a commemorative wine glass to sample drinks. Must be 21 years or older to attend.

RELATED: Fall Bucket List  |  Greater Des Moines

Scare us Hill Spooktacular Cocktail Party

October 14
5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Explore portions of the Governor’s mansion with live music and cocktails. No costumes allowed at this event, but it’s still a fun Halloween themed party! Check out the spooky décor while you sip on a drink. The $50 ticket proceeds go towards ongoing restoration of Terrace Hill. Must be 21 and older to attend.


pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! #scareushill

A photo posted by Terrace Hill (@terracehilliowa) on


Night Eyes

October 20-23 & 27-30
5 – 8 p.m. Thu & F; 1 – 8 p.m. Sat & Sun

There’s a reason that Night Eyes is celebrating its 26th year! This popular event allows your kids to explore the zoo while collecting candy in their favorite costumes. Take a ride on the train and stop by to see your favorite magical storybook characters. This fun, not scary, Halloween event is just $4 if you purchase tickets in advance.

Night Eyes


Family Halloween

October 22-25 & 28-31
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Jump on the horse-drawn wagon and get ready for a family-friendly Halloween in Des Moines! Living History Farms celebrates Halloween with fun activities such as pumpkin bowling, trick or treating through town and storytellers. Kids can check out scarecrow and jack-o-lantern displays and enjoy free pop and popcorn all night. Admission is $6.50 per person at the door.

RELATED: It's Pumpkin Patch Time! Catch Fall Fun at Geisler Farms

Pumpkin Walk

October 23
2 – 4 p.m.

Head to Historic Valley Junction for trick or treating, free pumpkins and shopping. That’s right, FREE PUMPKINS available at the Swander Gazebo. Admission is free too. Children can show off their costumes while they collect candy through the district. After you’re finished, swing by your favorite shops to pick up Halloween décor, sweets and more.

RELATED: Farms and Orchards in Greater Des Moines

Scare us Hill Trick or Treat

October 23
1 p.m.

If you missed the cocktail party at the Governor’s residence, don’t miss the chance to take the kids there for trick or treating. Costumes are encouraged at this family event that will feature dozens of carved pumpkins on display and a variety of spooky activities. The event runs from 1 – 4 p.m. and tickets are just $5.

Scare Us Hill Terrace Hill

Photo Courtesy of the Terrace Hill Facebook Page


Trick-or-Treat Night

October 27
5 – 7 p.m.

This is a great event that’s enjoyable for parents and kids. Dress up the kids and head to Homemakers for free, family fun. Kids can trick or treat around the store and parents will love the indoor, low-key environment. It’s a great option should the weather be rainy or cold. Plus, you can secretly shop while your kids are collecting candy and come home from trick or treating with a new lamp…or couch. We call that a win-win. It’s all free to attend (unless you decide you need new furniture or décor).


Mysteries of the Castle

October 29
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Enjoy interactive crafts, live children’s entertainment, storytelling, chocolate making, games, a bounce house, mascots, and trick or treating throughout the Salisbury House. It’s only $5 to attend and is a fun family-friendly way to kick off October and check out the Salisbury House! Food and snack vendors will also be available.

Salisbury House

"Salisbury House" by Carl Wycoff is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Spooky Science

October 29
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Catch Spooky Science at the Science Center of Iowa. Families can enjoy science experiments, bubbling potions and visual illusions. Bring the kids in costume and treat-or-treat your way through the Science Center. Don’t miss live programing, meet-and-greets with creepy crawly critters and other giveaways. Discounted admission is available for all those dressed-up! Admission is standard Science Center Admission. You can snag a buy one, get one free admission with our Catch Des Moines Fun Pass here.


Spooky Paws Parade

October 30
2 p.m.

Bring your favorite furry friend for the Spooky Paws Parade in the Historic East Village. Dress up your dogs for a costume contest and then walk them in the Halloween parade through the district. It’s free to participate and a lot of fun. If you don’t have a pet, you should at least go watch. Picture dozens of dogs in costumes walking down the street…adorable, right? Stop by Jett & Monkey’s between noon and four for your keepsake parade photo!

Paw Parade Jett and Monkeys

Photo courtesy of the Jett and Monkey Facebook Page


There’s so many Halloween events, it was hard to narrow it down! Check our events calendar for an entire list of events happening in October. How will you trick or treat in Des Moines? What are your favorite local events? Best place for the kids to snag candy? Let us know!

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