The haunted house scene in the area came crashing down in 2020, with most not operating, and some closing permanently. 2021 had far fewer haunts operating than earlier years, though it did see the addition of Scare DSM. This year saw the addition of Adventureland’s new Halloween themed event. Even with all of this, the market is still way down compared to “the before times.”
That said, with fewer choices, and an audience returning to wanting to do these things, that should mean that the remaining haunts get a larger slice of the haunt visitor pie. Without having access to business records of the various haunts, all we can really say is several did report nights when they operated at capacity (though we don’t know if they are operating a full pre-pandemic capacity, or still at some reduced level).
As far as this website, it saw a 41% increase in visitors in 2022 compared to 2021. With the trajectory is headed back up, so let’s hope for an even better next year.
Maybe I’ll even resume doing video interviews, though the landscape in 2023 is very different than what it was like when I first started this site. I think posting 15 second TikTok videos or someone screaming when they see a clown might get a larger audience than interview videos 😉
The final two weekends of haunted house season 2022 have begun, with several haunts operating Thursday-Sunday. I haven’t heard from any other haunts that want to be listed, but if I do, they will be added to the site.
When you buy tickets online, you usually do so either to guarantee entry (for places that sell out), or to get a discount. Most online ticket sales have extra fees added. Here is a rundown of the area haunts and their fees, from most expensive to least:
Adventureland Park – $4 Processing Fee (per item, but no fee for $5 mAlice add-on)
Scare DSM – $2.50 Fee (per ticket)
Slaughterhouse – $2.48 Processing and Service Fee (per ticket)
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park – $1.50 Service Fee (per item)
Parking is also extra at Adventureland ($20, or $15 online) and Sleepy Hollow Sports Park ($5?). Some have had to pay after buying a ticket online, and others have said buying a ticket online includes parking. Always check with the haunt to make sure.
Also, Adventureland is cashless as of 2022, so you have to have a credit card to pay for parking. Other places may be cash only to buy tickets or pay for parking at the event.
In the future, I’ll be adding these items as categories to the listing.
The Harry Potter House is back for 2022. Located at 3720 Brook Ridge Ct in Des Moines, this house gets quite the themed overlay this time of year. Drive by and check out the large-size Hogwarts Express train poking out from the building, and see skeleton versions of your favorite Harry Potter characters in the yard. It’s quite the display!
Haunted house season officially began last weekend with Adventureland, Linn’s Haunted House, Scare DSM, Slaughterhouse, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park, and Tormented Souls Haunt beginning their season.
This weekend, the Ames Haunted Forest will join them. It will open at 7pm this Friday and Saturday night.
Meanwhile, a few online comments have started to show up about opening weekend. If you enjoyed the haunt, be sure to leave a review on Google or their Facebook page. Likewise, if you do not think the haunt was worth the money, be sure to leave a review and let others know.
For those new here… EVERY HAUNT will have fans who think it’s the best thing ever. And EVERY HAUNT will have folks saying it’s the worst one they’ve ever been do. Don’t let reviews sway you unless they are overwhelmingly negative or overwhelmingly positive.