Published on October 14th, 2013 | by Joe Stych
Seven Des Moines haunted houses to visit this month
The countdown to the scariest night of the year has begun. These sites mysteriously appear each fall in warehouses, at local theme parks and along forest trails. With displays ranging from bloody gore to grin-inducing goosebumps, they’re sure to offer something for all the ghouls and goblins in your group.
Tormented Souls Haunt
As a newcomer to Iowa’s horror scene this year, the Tormented Souls Haunt aims to scare Halloween scream-seekers witless. Combining a 6,500-square-foot space with the lore of a real-life Iowa ghost town, Zook Spur might do the trick.
“It’s an old mining town that’s been abandoned for years,” said Kumari Henry, owner and operator of the haunt. “There are paranormal spirits in the area of all the people who have gone before.”
The haunt starts on a shuttle dubbed “the terror bus.” Other creepy attractions include two labyrinths, a haunted graveyard with animatronic elements and a reality-bending vortex.
She didn’t want to give too much away, but Henry left this teaser: “We have some very interesting optical illusions and a 12-foot surprise.”
Details: 7:15-11:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 25-26; also 7:15-10 p.m. Oct. 28-31. Shuttle pick-up at Edgewood Park, near Rice Avenue and 340th Street, Madrid. $15. 515-321-8356, tormentedsoulshaunt.com.
Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park
This scary staple sets the standard for Halloween haunts in Iowa. Events coordinator Mary Flatt says to expect some surprises this year. “People are definitely going to notice new things about the attractions,” she said.
This year’s haunt features a reworked version of their “Duty Calls: Zombie Apocalypse” laser tag, plus new scares in old favorites like Nightmare Estates, the Castle of Blood and Chaos.
Also back by popular demand is the Blazing Jack-O-Lanterns Hayrack Ride, a less-scary option for younger haunt-goers. “We try to be a well-rounded production,” Flatt said. “I think people enjoy going to one location and getting all this variety.”
Details: 7 p.m.-midnight Thursday through Sunday plus Oct. 24-27 and 31. 4051 Dean Ave. $19.75 for three main attractions of your choice, $25.50 for an all-inclusive pass. 262-4100, sleepyhollowscreampark.com.
With the additions of The Cellar, Chop Shop and Bone Hall, the Slaughterhouse is more terrifying than ever. Those chainsaws are just for pigs, right?
Details: 8 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, plus Oct. 25-27 and 31 and Nov. 1-2. 1300 Metro East Drive, Suite 126, Pleasant Hill. $12; get $2 off using the coupon on their website, theslaughterhousedm.com.
Ultimate Haunted House
The old White Water University grounds house this haunt, so it has the abandoned water park vibe. They claim to be Des Moines’ scariest haunted house — we’ll let you be the judge.
Details: 7 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, plus Oct. 25-26; 7-10 p.m. Sunday and 27-31, 5401 E. University Ave., Pleasant Hill. $13; get a $2 off coupon on their website. 299-3049, whitewateruniversityiowa.com.
Linn’s Haunted House
Housed in Linn’s Supermarket, this spine-chilling trip takes the classic approach of dark rooms and suspense rather than over-the-top gore. The trip should last about 20 minutes.
Details: 7 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26 and Nov. 1-2; 7-10 p.m. Sunday and 27-31, 3805 Sixth Ave.; use alley entrance. $12. 515-282-6318, facebook.com/linnshauntedhouse.
This year’s iteration of Ankeny’s favorite haunt has been updated with completely new mazes and some scary surprises that are under wraps. Fair warning: there may or may not be live snakes.
Details: 8 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26, and Nov. 1-2; 8-10 p.m. Sunday and 27-31, 3215 S.E. 72nd St., Ankeny. $15; $3 off coupon on their website, ankenyhauntedbarn.com.
Trail of Terror
Take a trip through this haunted forest if you dare. Families with younger kids will want to arrive early for the kids trail.
Details: 6:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26; the kids trail runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Scotch Ridge Center, Carlisle; on Iowa Highway 5 east of the U.S. Highway 65/69 bypass. $8; children ages 12 and under in costume get a $2 discount. 515-418-6069