Have a Hauntingly Good Time at One of Des Moines’ Biggest Halloween Attractions

DES MOINES, Iowa -- It is the busiest time of year for haunted attractions and one right here in central Iowa is sure to scare you out of your pants.

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park has three haunted houses, two haunted walks and those five are just half of the ten total attractions at the park.

One of the scariest houses at the park is inside the castle, it’s called the Castle of Blood.

Both people and animatronics jump out at visitors as they walk through the dimly lit hallways that feature fog machines, strobe lights, spooky sounds and scary set pieces.

“We pick up props at trade shows every year. A lot of it is even made here in house by our creative designer who hand carves the foam and paints everything,” Sleepy Hollow Sports Park General Manager Nathaniel James said.

James said the team recently put a lot of work into one house in particular, Nightmare Estates.

“This has been the one we have had to shut down because of a few accidents every night. This is the haunted house in general this year that seems to be getting everybody,” James said.

Nightmare Estates features smells you can taste, sounds that will haunt your dreams and even scarier actors that bring the house to life.

“We’ve upgraded a lot of the stuff this year and added a lot of projection effects. It used to be that the big elaborate scenes were good enough, but I think everybody is so jaded by video games and movies now. You need projection effects and special effects so we put in a lot more of that,” James said.

There is one projection effect that even scared James during installation.

“I was installing this projector and it shows all these bugs scurrying around on the floor and as I was getting down from the ladder it totally scared me. That’s what really got me,” James said.

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park gates open at 6:45 and the ticket booth closes at 10:30 on Friday and Saturday and 8:30 on Sunday.

Here are some of the other attractions at the park:

  • Zombie Paintball Hunt
  • Freakshow
  • Chaos
  • Twisted Tales: The Next Chapter

The last day to visit the park is October 31.