Haunted house season returns to Des Moines

By Buddy Jackson


A makeup artist dumps “blood” over the head of the head of the Butcher’s Wife. She said there is never enough blood.

It is that time of year for all things that go bump in the night to reveal their hideous evil throughout Des Moines and Ankeny. The places to be are The Ankeny Haunted Barn and Sleepy Hollow’s Haunted Scream Park in Des Moines.

The Ankeny Haunted Barn is located at 3215 SE 72 Street. Lexie Thompson, a 16-year-old Urbandale junior who is organizing the themed rooms inside and outside of the barn, said “This is your typical Haunted House but not cliché, incorporating ideas from hit movies such as Insidious.”

There are five of these themed rooms including some outdoor scenes to enjoy. Twenty other people have helped her with all the preparations for this October’s run for the Haunted House. These dedicated scare specialists have been working for two months and putting in four-hour days on top of going to school, work and home life.

It will be a great event to go and visit. The event began last weekend and will continue through November 1-2. They are running this event all weekends in October and even November 1-2 going from 8 p.m.- midnight. Admission is $15. More information can be found on their website, www.ankenyhauntedbarn.com or you can find them at hauntworld.com which represents many other haunted events across Iowa and beyond.

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park is located at 4051 Dean Ave, Des Moines. The event coordinator Nathaniel James has recently taken over, and has been working on the newly upgraded attractions since the middle of September using some pretty impressive technology like animatronics and laser light shows programmed into a computer.

Three weeks ago it was the Des Moines Renaissance Fair full of fun, mirth, and entertainment. Now, however, it has been transformed into something out of a nightmare. There are still the same scenes that have been seen in years past including Nightmare Estates, Castle Blood, Twisted Tales and a Zombie shootout.

The makeup artist said “I try to keep all the actors in the chair for at least fifteen minutes for hair and makeup.” They go through a simple but complex regiment when getting ready for this event. Watching the transformation from a regular person to a creature of the night is a sight to behold.

There is a fresh new look to the already massive grounds of Sleepy Hollow. James says they plan on adding something new every year to make things bigger and better than the year before.  One of the newest additions to the park is the “Adult only” section of the park, which has live adult entertainment and beverages.

In order to coordinate and run this type of event, there are generally 8-10 man crews ranging from electricians to set builders. These guys are dedicated to their craft. They start at around 7 a.m. and do not stop till around 2 a.m. the next morning only to return and start the process all over again.

This event has everything from walking through haunted houses, throwing knives, and listening to different genres of music. One thing that stands out from the pack, is that Sleepy Hollow Scream Park has tickets for sale online and that you can actually get what James calls a “Fast Pass,” Which is really convenient. Once the tickets have been purchased online, all the customer has to do is print them off to be scanned by the front gate staff and in they go for a frightening good time.

Admission prices range from do-it-all pass which is $25.50, Pick three $17.50, and even a Hayrack ride add on for $0.79. Go online, purchase your tickets and get fast tracked to scareville! sleepyhollowscreampark.com


List of Local Haunted Houses:

1.)   Ames Haunted Forest 1513 S 4Street

2.)   Ankeny Haunted Barn 3215 SE 72 Street

3.)   Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House 3805 6 Ave, Des Moines

4.)   The Slaughterhouse 1300 Metro E. Dr., suite 126 Pleasant Hill

5.)   Sleepy Hollow Scream Park 4051 Dean Ave, Des Moines

6.)   Ultimate Haunted House 5401 E University Ave. Pleasant Hill

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