This site began listing haunted houses in 2010. Before the site redo in 2010, I kept every previous year available to we could look back on what operated in previous years. I spent several hours tonight trying to get all of this data posted to this new site. Most of it I had, but I had to get one of the years from the Internet Wayback Machine 😉 (My old system I created was far better for archiving data than the modern and expensive one I use these days).
There is still a lot of cleanup to do, but I wanted to make this data available before Halloween. You can start with Year 2010 and take a look.
The awards were listed on the old site, but never got added to this new version. Until tonight. You can look back on the winners of various awards over the years by going here. (Linn’s Haunted House even still displays their’s inside their entrance, along with their Cityview award.)
If you think you are done visiting haunted houses for the season, please vote for your favorites now. (If you are not sure you are done, you can’t still vote, and if you go to any more haunts later, you can re-vote using the same e-mail address and I will discard your earlier entry.)
I previously hosted the website for Circus of Freaks in Bussey, Iowa. The last time I posted about them was in 2020 when they announced they would not operate that year but stated “huge things are coming for the circus. (Ah, Covid, we lost so many things to you that year).
At the time, I had a site category of “Circus of Freaks” for them. With the new-for-2023 Barnum Circus of Freaks, I kept accidentally using the old “Circus of Freaks” category in posts about them. I have now renamed both categories so we will have:
- Bussey Circus of Freaks
- Barnum Circus of Freaks
And they both start with ‘B’ so I’ll try hard to select the correct one. For now, I think I have the Barnum posts updated to use their new category.
I also added a new tag in the Directory for “Women Owned“, assigning it to Barnum. I may need to add “Women Managed” as well since in her recent video interview she mentioned this.
I need to see if there are more. Tormented Souls Haunt is led by Kumari Henry (she’s the Walt Disney of that operation), and Haunted Woods is led by Marilyn Harris. They might need one or both of these tags added. I am not sure how many women-owned haunts we have had in this area, but Ankeny Haunted Barn was ran by Mindy Bales after her husband passed, then later ran by her daughter and sons. Going back twenty years, several of the haunted houses at Sleepy Hollow were designed and managed by women. Have there been many/any others?
More to come…
The Videos page now has several new interview videos from 2017 (Zombie Hollow, Haunted Woods and Trail of Terror). I will be working on interviews from Barnum Circus of Freaks and Linn’s Haunted House next. I have many more I want to get to and get interviews with, but we have some family obligations (Living History Farms and Night Eyes) that limit my haunt time.
In addition to these new videos, I have posted some pre-DMHH videos, which were the predecessors to Des Moines Haunted Houses:
- You can see a 2007 interview with Nathaniel James about his HauntedFX Urbandale home haunt. Nathaniel later went on to be general manager at Sleepy Hollow and helped transform that scream park in to what we know it as today. It appears I may have done a second one in 2008, but I haven’t found it yet.
- I have also posted my 2009 interview with Scary Acres in Omaha. That haunt dwarfed anything we have around here, operating 35 nights each season.
- I am also searching for my 2006-2008 “Screamcast” video series (31 episodes) that covered the Sleepy Hollow Sports Park event as it was moving from up front, to the brand new Renaissance festival park that opened in 2006 (useless trivia: I did the initial layout and design of that park, then those got handed off to architects). Some of these videos have only been seen by folks who subscribed to the early iPod video podcast (in glorious 320×240 resolution, if I recall). I *think* I have found the original full-sized exports of them.
…and if I can find time, I’d like to organize all the various haunted house TV commercials I did over the years and get them uploaded to the new DMHH channel.
I am very happy with how many haunts (and related activities) I have found so far this season. If you know of any I have missed, please let me know.
HAUNTS: I try to do a daily post on Facebook with which haunts are open that day. I get this information from my Calendar page. When I was going through it today, I noticed several mistakes I made. I have corrected those, but I expect I may still have some missing dates or wrong hours. Take a moment to check the calendar, and your listing in the index. I appreciate your help in getting your information updated on this site. Thanks!
After the big Covid drop in 2020, things have slowly been picking up for this site. As of October 18th, this site has already had 13.29% more visitors than all of October 2022. Last year, the site saw a 40% increase in visitors from the previous year. I am curious to see where things end up after October 31 this year.
Something I just added last week is a “Visitors” count on every page. I used to have one on my old site, but that was a script I wrote myself and had full control over. This one is more questionable, since it tries to define who is a ‘bot, and it doesn’t seem to like folks using privacy software (such as Apple’s anti-tracking features). At least I can see numbers that are larger or smaller from hour to hour and get an idea of how many folks are visiting throughout the day.
The interview video page has been updated with information about all the videos I shared from 2011 to 2017. The videos themselves will eventually be uploaded to the dedicated Des Moines Haunted House YouTube channel (when I get time).
Is there any interest in new videos like this? Leave a comment and let me know.
I have finally gotten time to start updating the haunted house list for 2023. Only a few of the local haunts are in there now, and there may still be some items yet to be updated for this year so be sure to check with the official website.
More to come… Hopefully I will have all the local haunts updated accurately this week.
HAUNTS: If there is an error, please let me know.
Find it here (updates in progress; not everything listed yet):
Or here is a direct link:
You should be able to “subscribe” to this calendar on Android or iPhone, and have it available in your Calendar app.