Haunts 2017

See also: 2010201120122013201420152016201720182019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Here are all the haunted houses we have heard about, so far. The descriptions initially come from the haunt operators (or their websites), but as we go through the attractions, we will try to revise them to reflect what they actually consist of. “The worst of humanity” doesn’t give much information — chainsaw killers? politicians? We will try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

When visiting these haunts, please tell them you saw their listing on DMHauntedHouses.com. 


Last Updated: 10/27/2017 10:22 AM 

    Location: 97 Indiana Ave, Des Moines IA 50314
    Dates/Times: Oct 6-7, 13-15, 19-22 and 26-29, 2017. Fri/Sat: 7-Midnight. Other nights: 7-11.
    Calendar: Fri-6, Sat-7, Fri-13, Sat-14, Sun-15, Thu-19, Fri-20, Sat-21, Sun-22, Thu-26, Fri-27, Sat-28, Sun-29
    Theme: Pig slaughtering factory.
    Short Desc: A tour through a meat processing plant.
    Long Desc: Slaughterhouse previously operated from 2010-2013 in different temporary locations. It returns in 2017 in a new permanent home where they have constructed movie-style sets, similar to what you might see at Universal Studios. The haunt is themed around a meat processing plant that is letting you take a tour where you discover what is really going on. There are a number of gruesome scenes you pass, dark corridors, and startles along the way. Zombie Burger (downtown restaurant) is a sponsor with a special “The Slaughterhouse” burger, Firetrucker brewery beer called “The Slaughter”, and a $2 off admission if you bring in a receipt. Free shuttle between Zombie Burger and the haunt on Friday and Saturday nights. Check out their website and read the highly detailed backstory of the Biggs clan and the “business” the descendents continue to operate. (They received the 2013 DMHH awards for BEST ACTORS, and BEST THEME.)
    Duration: 24 minutes
    Actors: 24-36
    Admission: $20
    Buy Tickets: www.dmhauntedhouses.com/redirects/slaughterhouse.shtml
    Discounts: $18 using a $2 OFF coupon or coupon on a receipt from Zombie Burger. Coupons have been spotted at Casey’s General Stores.
    Category: Haunted House
    Website: www.dmhauntedhouses.com/redirects/slaughterhouse.shtml
    Facebook: www.dmhauntedhouses.com/redirects/slaughterhouse.shtml
  2. Name: Ames Haunted Forest
    Location: 1470 S 4th St, Ames IA 50010
    Directions: East of University Boulevard near Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium.
    Dates/Times: Oct 13, 20-22 and 27-31, 2017. Opens at 7pm with various closing times.
    Calendar: Fri-13, Fri-20, Sat-21, Sun-22, Fri-27, Sat-28, Sun-29, Mon-30, Tue-31
    Theme: Phantom of the Bijou.
    Short Desc: Various scenes through the forest.
    Long Desc: 19th year! This is a nice, long walk through a haunted forest which goes through a number of enclosed rooms along the way. Several dozen actors will try to scare you are at least creep you out along the way. People drive from hours away to visit the Haunted Forest each year, and lines can exceed THREE HOURS on peak nights. Go early in the season, or show up right at opening to avoid a potentially very long wait. In the past few years, they have had a food truck available. More details about 2017 added when I get to visit with them. (NOTE: Last year they saw some record breaking crowds – over 1200 on opening weekend! On peak weekends, the wait was 2-3 hours to get in. Go early in the season!)
    Duration: 15-30 minutes
    Actors: 25+
    Admission: $15
    Discounts: $14 using a $1 OFF coupon, printed from their website.
    Category: Haunted Walk
    Website: www.ameshauntedforest.com
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Ames-Haunted-Forest/168825177811
    Twitter: Haunted_Forest
  3. Name: Circus of Freaks
    Location: 502 7th St, Bussey IA 50044
    Dates/Times: Oct 7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-29 and 31, 2017. 8pm-11pm (7:30-10 on Sunday, 7-10 on Halloween).
    Calendar: Sat-7, Fri-13, Sat-14, Fri-20, Sat-21, Fri-27, Sat-28, Sun-29, Tue-31
    Theme: Klown Chaos
    Short Desc: Klown Chaos.
    Long Desc: They have access to more space this year, and have added 10 new scenes. It is in a building they have aquired, with temporary rooms made (using black plastic to separate them) like many haunts start out. They have ambitious plans to grow. From a DMHH visitor report, it takes about fiteen minutes to go through.
    Duration: 15 minutes (reported by DMHH visitor).
    Actors: 40-43
    Admission: $5
    Category: Haunted House
    Website: www.circusoffreaks.com
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/BusseyHauntedHouse
  4. Name: Escape Haunted House
    Location: 102 W Main St, Marshalltown IA 50158
    Directions: Downtown Marshalltown. (Across the street from where Purple Cherry used to be.)
    Dates/Times: Oct 12-15, 19-22, and 26-31, 2017. 7pm-10pm.
    Calendar: Thu-12, Fri-13, Sat-14, Sun-15, Thu-19, Fri-20, Sat-21, Sun-22, Thu-26, Fri-27, Sat-28, Sun-29, Mon-30, Tue-31
    Long Desc: Details coming… 10+ to enter.
    Duration: 5-7 minutes (expected).
    Actors: 10
    Admission: $13
    Category: Haunted House
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/Escape-Haunted-House-marshalltown-1233642476751136/
  5. Name: Haunting of Fright Manor (Home Haunt)
    Location: 4102 138th St, Urbandale IA 50323
    Directions: Located on the west side of Caboose Park at First and Willis.
    Dates/Times: Oct 20, 28, 30-31. 6:30pm-9:30pm.
    Calendar: Fri-20, Sat-28, Mon-30, Tue-31
    Short Desc: Cool walkthru scenes in a garage.
    Long Desc: Home haunt packed in a large garage. In 2016, it had a number of rooms with animated props and sounds. It looked very cool with lots of things to look at as you pass through. This one is kid-friendly – they won’t be trying to scare you. (They formerly did a home haunt in Kasnas City, but moved to Des Moines last year and started it up here.) I am hoping to get a preview soon so check back next week for more details.
    Duration: Explore at your own pace.
    Actors: 1 (mostly automated props)
    Admission: Free, Donations accepted for Animal Rescue Leage of Iowa (food, bedding, monetary donations).
    Category: Home Haunt
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/urbandalefrightmanor
  6. Name: Linn’s Haunted House
    Location: 3805 6th Ave, Des Moines IA 50313
    Directions: Located at Linn’s Supermarket.
    Dates/Times: Sep 29-30, Oct 6-7, 13-14, 20-31, 2017. Fri/Sat: 7-Midnight. Other nights: 7-10.
    Calendar: Fri-9/29, Sat-9/30, Fri-6, Sat-7, Fri-13, Sat-14, Fri-20, Sat-21, Sun-22, Mon-23, Tue-24, Wed-25, Thu-26, Fri-27, Sat-28, Sun-29, Mon-30, Tue-31
    Short Desc: Des Moines’ oldest haunt.
    Long Desc: The oldest (and most unique) haunt in town, as well as the longest and lowest priced. This one has been a fun favorite for two generations as kids who grew up going to it now bring their kids. It is a classic haunted house, focusing more on pitch black areas and starrles rather than blood and gore. There are many areas of complete darkness, and several long crawls you must do (which cannot be bypassed). It has been voted the top haunted house in Des Moines by readers of Cityview, and won almost every award voted on by this website. People drive from hours away to go through this each year. It’s kind of a retro haunted house at this point. (Video interview.)
    Duration: 10-20 minutes
    Actors: 25-30.
    Admission: $15
    Discounts: $10 using a $5 OFF coupon for Sep 29-30 and 6-7. Coupons have been spotted at Casey’s General Stores. Every paid admission gets a FREE BOWLING PASS from Plaza Lanes, too!
    Category: Haunted House
    Website: www.linnshauntedhouse.com
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/linnshauntedhouse
    Twitter: HauntedLinns
  7. Name: Panora Haunted Tower of Terror
    Location: 607 E Market St, Panora IA 50216
    Dates/Times: Oct 20-21, 27-28 and 31, 2017. 7pm-11pm
    Calendar: Fri-20, Sat-21, Fri-27, Sat-28, Tue-31
    Short Desc: Three story haunted house.
    Long Desc: A three story haunted house within an hour from Des Moines. It is put on by the Panora Fire Department. There will be areas with stairs and crawling. Children under 13 not allowed without parent.
    Duration: 15-20 minutes
    Actors: 30
    Admission: $10
    Category: Haunted House
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/panorafd
  8. Name: Perry Firefighters Assc. Haunted Barn
    Location: 1st. St. and Willis Ave, Perry IA 50220
    Dates/Times: Oct 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28, 2017. 7pm-11pm.
    Calendar: Fri-13, Sat-14, Fri-20, Sat-21, Fri-27, Sat-28
    Long Desc: “…the Perry Fire Association’s Haunted Barn will be held on October 13th & 14th, October 20th & 21st, and October 27th & 28th from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. each night. The cost is $5 per person. The Haunted Barn is located in the Perry Marketplace at the corner of 1st Street and Willis Avenue.”
    Admission: $5
    Category: Haunted House
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/124169191310088/
  9. Name: Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park
    Location: 4051 Dean Ave, Des Moines IA 50313
    Directions: East of the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
    Dates/Times: Oct 7, 13-14, 19-22, 26-29 and 31st, 2017. Opens at 6:45 and close at 10:30 on Fri/Sat, and 8:30 on other nights.
    Calendar: Fri-6, Sat-7, Fri-13, Sat-14, Thu-19, Fri-20, Sat-21, Sun-22, Thu-26, Fri-27, Sat-28, Sun-29, Tue-31
    Theme: Halloween theme park.
    Short Desc: Multiple haunts for one ticket price.
    Long Desc: Three haunted houses, two haunted walks, zombie paintball shoot bus ride, and more for one ticket price. They originally started with one small haunted house around 1995, and now have grown in to the largest haunted “scream park” around. Though the individual haunts can be very short and may only have a few actors in them, they are enhanced with theatrical sound and lighting (and many high-tech effects, from moving props to videos and projections). It is held in the Old English style village that Sleepy Hollow uses for their new Renaissance Faire (and formerly the Des Moines Renaissance Faire). There are usually food and drink shops open. In the past, there have been huge lines just to buy tickets and get in (even with 4-6 ticket windows open), but in the last two years they have moved more to online ticket sales. This gets you a discount, and lets you skip a one-hour line just to get in. Lines inside the scream park often get very long by the second weekend, but they started doing timed tickets last year (you get a window of time you can show up and go through everything) which cut down on the lines. Be smart and buy in advance online – save money, save time at the front gate, and save time in line. Go early in the season and you can get in and out in an hour or so. Thursdays and Sundays can have almost no waits, but Fridays and Saturdays after the second weekend usually have huge crowds.
    Duration: Some haunts are less than 2 minutes, and some closer to 10. On busy nights, expect to spend all evevning to go through everything.
    Actors: The scream park features a cast of nearly 100 (5+ in haunted houses. 20-26 for Zombie bus ride).
    Admission: $30 Park Pass, $25 Pick Three. Ticket allows access to the scream park ALL EVENING to do the bonus attractions, but will have a 2-hour window for going through the 6 main attractions.
    Buy Tickets: sleepyhollowscreampark.com/tickets/
    Discounts: Buy in advance online for discounted pricing.
    Category: Food, Haunted House, Haunted Walk, Maze, Snacks
    Website: www.sleepyhollowscreampark.com
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/sleepyhollowhauntedscreampark
  10. Name: Trail of Terror
    Location: Ashton-Wildwood County Park, Mingo IA 50168
    Directions: From 330, exit towards Baxter. On F17, turn right on the first road. Go just past the church with the cemetary (really!) and follow the road all the way back…
    Dates/Times: Oct 20 and 27-28, 2017. 7:30-10:30.
    Calendar: Fri-20, Fri-27, Sat-28
    Theme: Haunted trail.
    Short Desc: 3/4 mile haunted trail.
    Long Desc: 2017 will be the third year for this fundraiser for Baxter Fun Days. It is a 3/4 mile trek through a nature trail with many various scenes and around 40 volunteer actors trying to scare you. It is easily the longest haunt in the area, taking almost half an hour to walk through. There are many steps along the way, so be prepared for a real workout. Wear comfortable clothes and good hiking shoes. This one is well worth checking out, but show up early. They have limited hours they can operate, and must be shut down promptly at 10:30pm. (Nearby business Greencastle Tavern is offering a 1/2 price drink if you bring in your Trail of Terror ticket stub, which also registers you for a drawing to win a $200 Busch Light smoker.)
    Duration: 25-30 minutes.
    Actors: 30-40
    Admission: $10
    Category: Haunted Walk
    Website: www.baxterfundays.com/trail-of-terror
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/Trail-of-Terror-308088989656509/
  11. Name: Waukee Haunted House
    Location: Centennial Park, Waukee IA 50263
    Directions: Centennial Park enclosed shelter.
    Dates/Times: Oct 27-28, 2017. 7pm-10pm.
    Calendar: Sat-28, Sun-29
    Short Desc: 4-5 minute guided tour.
    Long Desc: Unlike other haunts, this one is guided. A group of up to 6 will be walked through the haunted house. The tour is expected to take 4-5 minutes. This means the line will move VERY slow, so show up early to avoid an hour+ wait. (If it takes 5 minutes, and every group is 6 people, only 12 groups can go through per hour. If it takes 4 minutes, that’s 15 groups per hour. If some groups are smaller, it will take even longer. You will be able to count the number of people in line ahead of you and estimate how long it will take.)
    Duration: 4-5 minutes.
    Actors: 10-15
    Admission: $5
    Discounts: $4 if you bring three non-perishable donations for the Waukee Area Food Pantry.
    Category: Haunted House
    Website: www.waukee.org/475/Halloween-Haunted-House
  12. Name: Spooktacular Nights Haunted House
    Location: 600 Blk of 5th Ave SE, Clarion IA 50525
    Dates/Times: Oct 20-21, 27-28 and 31, 2017. 7-10:30 (7-9 on Halloween night.)
    Calendar: Fri-20, Sat-21, Fri-27, Sat-28, Tue-31
    Long Desc: Children under 12 not admitted without a guardian.
    Admission: $10
    Discounts: $8 using $2 OFF coupon. (From where?)
    Category: Haunted House
    Website: www.clarioniowa.com/spooktacular-nights
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/hauntedhouseclarioniowa

See also: 2010201120122013201420152016201720182019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

We believe in cross promotion, so here are other family-friendly Halloween indexes we have found. DMHH is not responsible for the accuracy of information on these sites, but we will at least try to point out major omissions if we notice them. (Visitors beware: the national sites often list defunct attractions or have incorrect information. Always verify a haunt actually exists before driving out.)

List updated on 10/12/2015:

Local Sites:

National Sites:

Most of these sites seem to only list haunts that submit their information and/or pay them money, so they are usually very inaccurate or missing tons of information.

  • www.findahaunt.com – probably the best national site (but not updated for Iowa).
  • www.funtober.com – updated for 2016, listing that Haunted Barn as not operating, but I didn’t see any other haunts there.
  • www.hauntworld.com – they do not have a Des Moines category, but they still have a banner for Madrid (Tormented Souls from two years ago).
  • www.iowahauntedhouses.com – they use domain names registered for different states so they look regional. I couldn’t find anything listed for the area.

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