Families can enjoy Halloween fun for free the next two nights at a metro church. Valley Church started The Great Pumpkin Party thirteen years ago. It's grown over the years to include a kick off night for a special group of kids.
Walk in and you’ll see Halloween fun at its finest. Dad Jason Parker says, “He loves it and his brother and sister love it."
Director of Children’s Ministries Josh Denhart says, "It's a party thrown by Valley Church for our community."
The West Des Moines church opens its doors for three nights every fall for free fun. Denhart says, “Over the last 3 years we've had an average of about 5,500 to 6,000 people come through our church for The Great Pumpkin Party."
This party features more than just pumpkins and candy. The celebration includes science experiments, clowns, balloons, inflatables, face painting and more. Denhart says, "Every year we have something different, something new to offer, and so this year the petting zoo is a brand new offering."
It takes about 200 volunteers to put on the party. And, the first night has been dedicated to a special group of kids the past few years. It’s designated for families of kids with special needs. Dad Jason Parker says, “Great opportunity for kids with special needs to have a way to celebrate Halloween that would be in a good, safe environment.”
Valley church started offering the special night several years ago. Denhart says, "We saw there was a need within our church that families needed extra support. And, as an outgrowth of that we just felt it would be a blessing to our community to provide a night exclusively for children and families with special needs."
The Great Pumpkin Party is open to everyone in the community Wednesday and Thursday nights. It’s free. The fun is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Valley Church at 4343 Fuller Road in West Des Moines.