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Farewell, Ankeny Haunted Barn

Ankeny Haunted Barn was selling off all it’s haunt inventory, including brand new items they have purchased (but didn’t get to use) last year. I have been informed they did find a buyer, so somewhere out there will be a little bit of the Haunted Barn DNA operating somewhere else.

Old haunts never die — they just get reincarnated 🙂 Parts of Tormented Souls are from a haunt that once operated in Urbandale, for example. This makes me wonder what happened with all the stuff at Whitewater Haunted House … they had some neat effects and props. Anyone know if those items went to a new home?

Adventureland upcharge only $5?

An Adventureland insider involved with the Phantom Fall Fest posted that the mALICE IN WONDERLAND upcharge haunt will end up being $5 instead of the $9.99 that was announced earlier. Currently, the website has not been updated and only says:

The mAlice in Wonderland haunt requires an additional ticket for entry

https://www.adventurelandresort.com/things-to-do/events/phantom-fall-fest

We don’t yet know if this will just be just an online discount (with the price at the event still being $9.99), but if so, it would match the other deep discounts the park has been offering for buying tickets in advance.

She also mentioned that the fee includes re-admission to the haunt, rather than just one time through.

Be sure to look at the Phantom Fall Fest map that is on the official website. It shows how large of an event this will be, starting at the Main Street area and spreading all the way back to Dragon Island.

More news later…

Adventureland confirms $20 parking fee, chaperone policy

Per guest services at Adventureland, the standard $20 Adventureland parking fee will apply to their Phantom Fall Fest event. If you planned to show up and pay, you would be paying $99.98 to do all four haunted houses — $69.99 admission, $20 parking, and an extra $9.99 for their upcharge haunt.

DMHH advice: Buy your ticket online in advance. You can pick a specific day you plan to go, and get tickets for $39.99-$49.99 depending on the day. Currently the park is offering a $29.99 ticket price – by doing that, you can save $40 right there.

You can also pre-pay for parking, and receive $5 off, getting it for only $15.

If you plan to go hang out with friends, consider carpooling. Over in my Adventureland Iowa Discussions Facebook group, folks often mention that they park for free at the hotel and just walk over. Others say they park across the street at a nearby hotel or even a fast food restaurant. Keep in mind, if you try this, you might find your car has been towed. It might be better off to take an Uber or Lyft, especially if you live close enough that the rideshare to and from costs less than $20.

Chaperone Policy

The park has stated that a chaperone (21 or older) will be needed for all guests under 18 who are in the park after 6 p.m. I reached out to the park for some clarification and was told:

“We will not be evicting everyone and reentering them checking IDs. If the kids create no trouble they will be allowed to stay.”

Adventureland Guest Services, 9/15/2022

This is great news for kids who want to experience the event without mom or dad hanging around. While they may not be admitted after 6 p.m., it sounds like they can show up earlier in the day and just stay until closing.

Disclaimer

This is just what this one specific guest relations employee told me. It is not stated on the official website policy, and as such, could change. As the website states:

This policy is subject to change at Adventureland’s discretion.

https://www.adventurelandresort.com/things-to-do/events/phantom-fall-fest/faqs

Always check with the official sources. Never rely on fan websites, Facebook groups, etc. since we just echo what we’ve heard, and the moment we hear it that information could be out-of-date 🙂

I did ask them specifically if “must be accompanied by an adult chaperone” meant that the adult had to actually be accompanying the kids (as in, with them). The response was “you do not have to hold their hand.” So take that as you will. To me, it sounds likes well-behaved kids will be just fine roaming around on their own, but Adventureland said “if they create problems they will be removed from the park.”

Rides?

The event description does mention rides will be open, but I haven’t seen a list of which rides. On the Adventureland Facebook Page they did announce that The Outlaw would be closing for the season, so it probably won’t be open.

More news when we get it…

Phantom Fall Fest: Rated R?

On Adventureland’s Phantom Fall Fest F.A.Q., they note that after 6 p.m., anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult that is 21 or older. This is a bit more restrictive than the movie industries R rating, which requires those under 17 to be accompanied by an adult:

R – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Movie Ratings
R Movie Rating logo

Adventureland is normally a family-friendly establishment full of children’s rides, but they have done a number of “adults only” events such as their yearly Oktoberfest and even some adults-only days at the water park.

Is this a hint that the style of haunts at Adventureland will be more on the adult/mature side after 6 p.m.? Will the haunts be tamer for kids during the day, then cranked up in the evening?

The event hours are:

  • Fridays – 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturdays – 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sundays – 1 .p.m. to 8 p.m.

This means if you are a teenager that wants to go out just with your friends, you can only do it for five hours on Saturday or Sunday between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., then you will have to leave or call an adult to come join you.

Updates when we have them…

DMHH Sponsorships

I enjoy having less work to do, so this site has never had a way for anyone to sign up as a sponsor. It still doesn’t, so if you want to donate to this website project, contact me directly. Some suggested optrions:

  • $1000 – exclusive sponsor. Entry at the top of the list, and logo/name on the top banner of every page of this site and on the Facebook page banner graphic. This is only valid while no other donations have been received.
  • $500 – site sponsor, non exclusive. Entry alphabetically sorted at the top with other sponsors. If possible, also a promotion on the top banner, shared with other sponsors.
  • $250 – promoted listing, sorted at the top with all other sponsors/promoted listings.

Listings will include the haunted houses in the area, as well as home haunts, yard displays and any other related event that is suggested or submitted this season.

Linn’s confirmed; Adventureland 18+?

Linn’s Haunted House

One of the oldest haunts in Iowa, Linn’s Haunted House, has confirmed plans to operate this year. At the time of this news, their Facebook page and website still only had things from last year, but they say they will have it updated soon. Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without Linn’s!

They have stated their opening night will be Friday, September 30 at 7 p.m.

Adventureland Phantom Fall Fest

Adventureland’s new Halloween event will feature four haunted house (one is an additional $9.99 upcharge), three scare zones, and some of the park rides open just like a normal day in the park.

There is currently a $29.99 offer on their website — a great savings from the gate price of $69.99!

But, note that if you want to go to the scare zones and haunted houses in the evening when it gets dark, you cannot do so if you are under 18 unless you are accompanied by a chaperone.

Their chaperone policy requires any 17 or younger visitor to be with an adult, guardian, or supervising adult that is 21 or old. From their website FAQ:

Guests aged 17 years and under must be accompanied by an adult chaperone beginning at 6pm.

An adult chaperone is a parent, guardian, or other supervising adult at least 21 years of age or older. Adult chaperones must be able to provide valid ID, including a photograph and date of birth.

Each adult chaperone must be present at the time of entry and remain within the park for the duration of their party’s visit. Adult chaperones supervising more than four minors must register their group at the Rider Safety Center before entering the park.

Minors visiting prior to 6pm may enter without and adult chaperone. Adventureland expects that minors entering without a chaperone will be joined by one at 6pm. If guests aged 17 and under enter prior to 6pm., then leave and request to re-enter the park, at 6pm or later, they must be accompanied by an adult chaperone.

During Phantom Fall Fest, adult chaperones are required beginning at 6pm Saturdays and Sundays, plus the entire evening on Fridays.

This policy is subject to change at Adventureland’s discretion.

https://www.adventurelandresort.com/things-to-do/events/phantom-fall-fest/faqs

This is an improvement over their policy from their last Halloween event in 2018 — that one was 21 and older, period.

Share your thoughts in the comments here, or on my Facebook page.

2022 season!

Well, the last two years have been quite … different. Many haunts didn’t operate at all in 2020. But, with less competition, the audience was funneled to the ones that did operate. I have been told that Trail of Terror had it’s best year ever in 2021. (I tend to believe them, since they are a fundraiser and not a for-profit business; seems every year the haunts will say ”this is our best year yet!” 😉

While I did visit Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights (as well as seeing the new Halloween offering at SeaWorld Orlando), the only visits I made to local haunts was for technical support. (I can now say I’ve ”fixed a dragon” at two haunted houses.) I have similar tasks lined up this year to install new effects, and possibly produce a video documentary with a haunt operator near Clear Lake/Mason City area.

As far as this website goes, a few years ago, I invested in software with a yearly license fee of $300/year. It offered automatic features I had been doing manually on this site since 2010, so I really liked it. The downside is the listing went from a simple one-page ”easy to view” listing to dozens of pages, and a cumbersome directory that was hard to view on a phone.

I have currently let that license lapse, so only basic listing information will be available this year, and I’ll go back to manually doing the Map and Calendars. More work for me, but I think it makes this a more useful site.

Look for updates for 2022 to start, soon. And, if any haunts want to sponsor this site, get in touch with me. If I can generate $300 in donations, I’ll re-activate all the fancy features for this season.

COVID-19 Updates

Although COVID-19 is still alive and well, and there are still people very concerned about it around here, the majority of folks seem to be accepting that it is now just something we all have to live with. I have heard from many who will 100% still NOT go to haunted houses, but overall the mood is much more pro-haunt this year than it’s been the past two seasons.

Haunts

After failing to convince the City of Ankeny to grant them a permit last year, Ankeny Haunted Barn is now officially gone (for the second time, so maybe we’ll see it return for a third time some day). Their inventory has been sold, so if they ever re-start, they will be starting from scratch.

The new owners of Adventureland Resort owners (Parques Reunidos out of Madrid, Spain) are starting their multi-haunt Phantom Fall Fest. Admission at the gate will be $69, and there is a $9.99 fee on top of that to enter one haunted house. As always, this site will track any known discounts so you can save some money.

ScareDSM opened during Covid and lumber price increases. News reports last year covered the challenges of not being able to afford lumber. Let’s consider last year a test run, and see what they do for 2022.

Slaughterhouse continues to pull out all the stops, and is also staffing for the Adventureland event. This is a good sign, since many of the 10+ years of this site (including the years before Covid), the haunts I visited all struggled with getting enough reliable workers to fully operate their haunts. (I would count the number of empty rooms as I visited each haunt.)

Sleepy Hollow Sports Park was sold to Polk County, and we are in their final year or two of them operating special events there. While most expect/hope/plan for it to continue, it will be up to the government about what happens in future years. There’s even been talk of others renting the government park out for their own events in October.

Tormented Souls in Madrid is installing some new effects and scares for this year, but I won’t know the details until I visit them (hopefully soon).

Trail of Terror was the second haunt to contact me this season, making sure I know they are back. Their $15 long forest walk is still the best haunt value around. As a fundraiser, they are just stuffed with actors. Don’t go if you can’t keep up – it’s a huge walk.

Ames Haunted Forest hasn’t updated their social media in years, but they have announced dates for 2022.

Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House still has 2021 dates on their website, but I’ll share news when I have it.

…and I am sure there will be many more updates in coming weeks.

While price increases, inflation, gas price and other factors have put stress on many of our budgets, hopefully folks will still have a Halloween entertainment budget to get out and see some haunts this season. If we don’t support them, they will go away.

More to come…