If you are looking for something to take your mind off of pumpkin spice, here are a few Des Moines haunted house options, including one haunt that is returning after a three-year hiatus.
Multi-weekend commercial haunts:
Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House
Location: 3805 6th Ave, Des Moines IA 50313 (at Linn's Supermarket)
Nights of Operation: Sept 29-30, Oct 6-7, 13-14, 20-31, 2017. (18 nights) Opens at 7 p.m.
Admission: $15. $5-off coupon available for the first two weekends.
Details: Although the ownership of Linn’s Supermarket changed in 2016, Merlyn Linn retained the rights to operate his haunted house in the basement of the building. A tradition since 1984, visitors can still crawl and wander through pitch black passages and be startled by various ghouls, monsters and (of course) clowns. As the longest running haunt in the area, Linn’s is now making 3rd generation fans scream (and laugh). Visitors drive from hours away to experience this classic, which chooses to startle rather than gross you out with blood and gore. It’s a true retro-classic haunted house experience, and unlike any others around.
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Location: 97 Indiana Ave, Des Moines IA 50314 (downtown)
Nights: Oct 6-7, 13-15, 19-22 and 26-29, 2017. (13 nights) Opens at 7p.m.
Admission: $20. $2 off coupons available on Zombie Burger receipts.
Details: Themed as a pig rendering factory, this haunt was formerly held from 2010-2013 in three different locations before shutting down and being sold off to the now-defunct Ankeny Haunted Barn. This year, it returns in a new permanent location downtown. This allows them to replace their former dark metal hallways with movie-style sets like something you’d see at Universal Studios. They also promise high end masks, makeup and even scents. For those looking for a very intense (and bloody) experience, this will be the place. There’s even going to be a Slaughterhouse shuttle bus taking victims back and forth from Zombie Burger’s downtown location.
Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park
Location: 4051 Dean Ave, Des Moines IA 50317 (East of the Iowa State Fairgrounds)
Nights: Oct 6-7, 13-14, 19-22, 26-29 and 31, 2017. (13 nights) Opens at 6:45 p.m.
Admission: $30 Park Pass or $25 Pick 3 Pass (11 and under: $28 and $23). Purchase discounted tickets online.
Details: Hands-down, this is the largest haunted attraction in the area, made up of five different haunts houses/walks (Castle of Blood, Chaos, Freakshow, Nightmare Estates, and Twisted Tales: The Next Chapter) plus several bonus attractions. This year, Twisted Tales receives an additional indoor scene - the largest Sleepy Hollow has ever built. Also new is the inclusion of Black Ops: Zombie Paintball Hunt in the Park Pass. The past two years, this was an add-on ticket that had to be purchased separately. There are also a number of bonus attractions such as 3-D Gallery: Aliens Attack, Club Blood (silent disco), 13 Gates Fog Maze, and Infection: Laser Tag ($5 extra). While most of the individual haunted houses are quite short compared to the other standalone haunts in the area, expect to spend a whole evening here if you want to see everything. Food and drink is also available, so come hungry.
Community haunted houses and home haunts:
Waukee Haunted House
Location: Centennial Park, Waukee IA 50263
Nights: Oct 27-28, 2017. (2 nights) 7 – 10 p.m.
Admission: $5. $1 off if you bring three non-perishable donations for the Waukee Area Food Pantry.
Details: Each Halloween, Waukee turns this park shelter into an enclosed haunted house. This year’s theme has not been announced, but their website warns: “This haunted house is not suggested for young children.”
Haunting of Fright Manor (Home Haunt)
Location: 4102 138th St, Urbandale IA 50323
Nights: Oct 20, 28, 30-31. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Admission: Free, but they collect donations for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (food, bedding and monetary donations).
Details: This is a haunted house built in their garage. It is kid-friendly and nothing will be trying to scare you. There are many cool scenes to check out as you wander through at your own pace.
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The addition of the Slaughterhouse should help spread the crowds around this year, but you can still count on huge lines on peak Friday and Saturday nights. Historically, lines have exceeded two hours on Halloween weekend! Try to go early in the season, or choose a non-weekend night. If you have to go when it’s busy, be there right when the haunt opens.
Since outdoor haunts can be impacted by weather. Be sure to check the haunt’s Facebook page for any updates before driving out.
Appropriate clothing and footwear is important even for indoor haunts. Some might have you crawling, climbing stairs or ramps, or walking through dirt outdoors. Be aware of any physical limitations you might have, and contact the haunt operator before your visit to ask any questions.
But most of all … be prepared to scream and have fun! #CATCHdsm
Information from www.dmhauntedhouses.com.
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