$10 off Haunted Woods on Mon 30 and Tue 31

Tonight (October 30) and tomorrow (October 31), you can get $10 OFF a trip through the Carlisle Haunted Woods by showing a post from their Facebook page. Go to the link below and scroll to find the discount offer:


You must show them the offer loaded up from their Facebook page. Be sure to give their page a Like or Follow while you are there.

What is Beggars’ Night?

When I moved to Iowa in 1995, I learned that Des Moines did not celebrate Halloween. Or rather, Halloween was just a day, and trick-or-treating was on the night before – Beggar’s Night. I guess I didn’t know if it was Beggars Night (plural), or Beggar’s Night (singular possessive) or Beggars’ Night (plural possessive). Somewhere my 7th grade English teacher is probably rolling in her grave over that sentence.

And, it wasn’t just “trick or treat!” Kids would tell jokes to get candy.

“How does a ghost say hello?”

“How do you boo!”

My s/o’s grandson, repeatedly, at Living History Farms Family Halloween and Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes…

At the time, a friend from Illinois who had also just moved to Iowa (we both moved to work at the same place) told me he heard it was so the adults could go drink and party on Halloween night without running over trick-or-treaters. I suppose that seemed plausible, so that is what I believed.

I did learn a bit more over the years. For instance, Wikipedia has an entry on the subject:

Beggars Night – Wikipedia

They say it is “Beggars Night” or “Beggars’ Niight,” and mention it is also a thing in a handful of other cities — including Houston, Texas which is where I grew up! (Not a true Beggars Night — just one “small neighborhood” that decided to stop giving candy to kids outside their neighborhood, and they did so by doing it the night before and not doing anything on the 31st.)

Over the years, I do remember reading articles (possible in Des Moines Register) that did not actually know why it existed here, but that changed in 2000 when this was published (and republished in 2015, it seems):

Why Des Moines goes trick-or-treating on Beggars’ Night, not Halloween (desmoinesregister.com)

Halloween vandalism in the 1930s created generations of kids not experiencing the Halloween night tradition of trick-or-treating.

Happy Beggars/Beggars’ Night, everyone! Tonight and tomorrow (Halloween) are the final two nights with haunted attractions operating in the area. Get out there and boo something fun before the Christmas decorations take over…

Slaughterhouse video interview

Earlier this afternoon we swung through downtown Des Moines to speak with Ian Miller about The Slaughterhouse. I had not seen the place since it moved to this new Locust Street location, and I was blown away. I had assumed they were still the “pig rendering factory” I had seen in past visits, but this is an all-new experience. It was not at all what I was expecting, and I can’t wait to see it with the lights off. Or themed lights on. Whatever. Here’s the video.

Bouton Haunted Church video interview

Just a short drive from Des Moines is Bouton, Iowa where an old church building has been turned in to a haunted house. It is only $5, and more than worth it. The funds go to the firefighters there (who also operate this haunted house). The haunt has all kinds of stuff in it — dark twisty hallways, creepy folks waiting for you in corners, clowns, unexpected blasts of air … it was a great time.

Krampus: Jingle Hell!

I know we are not even done with Halloween yet, but this was just sent to me about an event happening at The Slaughterhouse in a little over a month:


Krampus: Jingle Hell is describe as:

Prepare for a Night of Terror and Delight on December 2nd in Des Moines!

Get ready for an unforgettable evening as Krampus and his mischievous H’elves unleash their mayhem at The Slaughterhouse! For one night only, this spine-chilling event is open to all ages from 6-9pm. (Ages 6 and up strongly recommended)

Embrace the darkness at our BLACKOUT show where the Christmas Beast has devoured the power lines! Feel the adrenaline surge through your veins as you navigate our subterranean lair, with only the red Rudolph Glow Necklaces provided to light your way.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Krampus and our haunting Holiday ghouls! Bring your mischievous loved ones along and capture the terrifyingly memorable moments with a photo alongside these mysterious creatures.

Experience the thrill and excitement of Krampus: Jingle Hell by securing your tickets now!


Consider this your advance notice to do some early Christmas (ticket) shopping. With only three hours on one night, I do not expect these tickets to last long.

Peak haunt has been achieved

Today is the day. The Friday before Halloween begins the weekend with the most haunted attractions operating. Lines at the popular haunts are expected to be the highest all month. With places like Sleepy Hollow Sports Park selling out many nights earlier in the month, it should be no shock if they sell out during this weekend too.

Slaughterhouse, established in 2010, is the haunt that put Des Moines on the national haunted house scene.


  1. If this is your weekend to go, spend the extra money and buy tickets online — especially if the haunt offers a timed ticketing system. For more traditional haunts, such as Linn’s Haunted House and the relatively new Haunted Woods in Carlisle, buying tickets at the entrance may be your only option, so show up right at opening to avoid expected long lines.
  2. Some haunts offer VIP passes that let you skip straight to the front of the line. If you only have one evening, consider spending the extra money to do this. It will cost more, but will enable you to do more than just stand in long lines all evening.
  3. Between a chance of rain and freezing temperatures, some outdoor haunts may reduce hours or not operate. Check their official website or Facebook page before heading out to make sure they are up and running.
  4. Remember that even some indoor haunts have outdoor lines (such as Linn’s). If you would rather not deal with the temperatures, consider visiting Merle Hay Mall to check out Future Nightmares (20 minute shows start the top of the hour) or try out a Virtual Reality Horror Escape Room at White Rabbit VR Arcade.
  5. And most of all … try to take a moment to appreciate the artistry and effort that goes in to these attractions. It is a high-risk business where they only get a few weekends to make it profitable. Bring your friends 🙂
Outdoor haunts like Haunted Woods in Carlisle may be impacted by weather. Check before heading out.

I expect to continue sharing news and haunt updates through Halloween. After that, I hope to bring news of other haunt happenings throughout the year, such as events at Slaughterhouse, Future Nightmares and any speciality events like this year’s “Haunted Tavern” that came through Des Moines.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And have fun!