Ames Haunted Forest this weekend

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.

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…

2021 Weekend 1 recap

Last weekend was opening weekend for some of the area haunted houses. These included:

Next weekend, Ames Haunted Forest will join them, then the weekend after that, the Trail of Terror. On the weekend closest to Halloween, the haunted house for your vehicle Tunnel of Terror begins.

Normally I hear all kinds of reports from folks who ventured out, but this year has been mostly silent. After some prompting on the Facebook page, we did get some reports from folks who visited Linn’s (seemed like less actors than normal) and Tormented Souls (no lines). I’d look up some of the other comments, but Facebook is currently offline so I can’t get to that page. Thank goodness websites are still a thing 😉

Haunted Barnless

Haunted Barn’s new expanded outdoor section for 2021.

In the meantime, the Ankeny Haunted Barn continues to be a no-go in spite of a petition (requested by the governor’s office for some reason?) and now a GoFundMe to help raise support for relocating the barn for next year.

Waukeeless

The long-running Waukee Haunted House is also a no go for this season, with the decision to skip this year made back in August.

Covidity

While Covid-19 concerns do seem less this year, it is clear that there is still a significant portion of the population that is being cautious. Some haunts have had struggles finding enough actors, but that should come as no surprise since most places seem to have “Now Hiring” signs on display.

Other forms of entertainment, such as movie theaters, are seeing crowds return, but still not to the level they were before the shutdowns last year. This can no longer be blamed on the lack of content to watch since multiple Marvel movies and other “blockbusters” have come out.

Let’s hope for enough safe support for the haunts this year that we won’t lose any of them.

Your thoughts?

Be sure to leave a review for any haunt you visit this season. This is a new feature of DMHauntedHouses, and one that has only been tried a few times so I’m not 100% it fully works.

Give it a shot.

Then check back for more updates as the season progresses…

2021 Season…

Some quick updates on the 2021 season.

As expected, things are moving very slowly this year due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns. Haunts I have heard from so far include:

  • Ames Haunted Forest – will be operating.
  • Ankeny Haunted Barn – will NOT be operating, as of an announcement they made on 9/28/2021. The City of Ankeny denied their special event permit this year.
  • Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House – will be operating.
  • ScareDSM – a new haunted house, to be added to the site soon.
  • Slaughterhouse – will be operating.
  • Tormented Souls Haunt and Scream Park – will be operating.
  • Trail of Terror – will be operating.

Other haunts are either not operating, or have not contacted DMHH to help sponsor this site and be listed here.

Site updates coming by opening haunt season the first weekend of October…

Ames Tribune article about Ames Haunted Forest

Some official confirmation about the Ames Haunted Forest this year:

https://www.amestrib.com/story/news/2020/10/09/halloween-in-iowa-covid-19-coronavirus-stops-ames-haunted-forest-2020-season/5938312002/

The official website has now been updated to read “2020 Dates & Hours” as TBA. Interesting. Maybe they are still thinking about doing something later this month?

No Ames Haunted Forest this year :(

Last night would have been the normal opening night for the Ames Haunted Forest. With no official announcement or dates posted to their website, we assumed they were not operating this year. This newspaper article finally confirms it:

https://whoradio.iheart.com/content/2020-10-02-haunted-forest-owner-says-city-of-ames-state-say-yes-to-tailgating/

See you in 2021, Ames Haunted Forest!