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Des Moines Halloween Events 2014

There are so many Halloween events that go on this time of year, in the Des Moines area! It’s so hard to pick and choose a few to do and see. We did some more fun activities this past week and none of them disappointed!

The Great Pumpkin Party was a three day event held by Valley Church in West Des Moines. We were not able to make it out until the final night, Thursday. Tuesday night was was specifically for families with special needs, which I thought was awesome! This event was so large, it was held at the Valley Church and the Valley Community Center across the street.

We were there right at 6 pm when the doors opened!

They had pony rides, right outside. Monte was soooo close to ride, but he got very nervous once he sat down on the pony.

The worship area was full of inflatables and right when you walked in,there was a huge Lightning McQueen inflatable slide. You should have seen the look on Monte’s face!

This event also consisted of live music, an illusionist, face painting, photo booth pictures, games, a petting zoo, ice cream, popcorn, lemonade, and MORE! All of this was FREE!

Monte’s favorite part of the evening (besides the large inflatables) was taking his picture with the super heroes!

Saturday evening we made it to the Annual Grimes Halloween Fest at the Grimes Community Center.

The whole building was filled with fun activities. As you walked through the building there were people dressed up, handing out candy. There were two different bake sales going on! Inflatables to play on (one of Monte’s favorite), a haunted house (we did not go in), a soft-play area for the little kids to run and jump, AND free tours of an ambulance and fire truck!

Monte though the fire truck and ambulance were way cool!

Sunday after carving and painting our pumpkins …

We went to the Valley Junction Pumpkin Walk. The event was 2-6 pm and we went a bit late, around 4ish. A lot of the things were just finishing up when we got there, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

The highlight of the event was, of course, getting candy.

A lot of the stores participated and as you walked through the junction you could stop and get candy! One store, gave away fancy, collectible rocks! Monte thought that was pretty neat!

Green Grounds Cafe hosted children’s activities and you could get a balloon animal! Monte got a GIANT sword! There was also a chance to get a FREE pumpkin.

What fun Halloween activities have you been checking out?! 

Susie Switch, Teal Pumpkin Project & Beggars Night

Let’s talk about Beggar’s Night!

Every year thousands of kids trick or treat, door to door and receive TONS of candy. I thought I would share a couple of different trends that are going on this year and you should participate to spread the word!

1. Susie Switch

Susie Switch is a witch that will come to your home on the evening of Beggars Night. Each child should pick out a few pieces of candy, they would like to keep for themselves. They will then set out the rest of the candy for Susie Switch. Susie Switch will come and take it to feed to her bats and leave another small gift for your child.

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, which is where I learned about Susie! I think this an awesome idea. We always get stuck with so much candy and I usually end up throwing away half of it. Also, Monte is at the age where he WANTS candy and he knows what it is. Since we went to Night Eyes the other night, we put his pumpkin bucket on top of the fridge and he asks for it all the time. If you ask me, the candy he received that night, is enough for the rest of the season.

We will be  printing this poem, explaining Susie Switch, framing it, and placing it out every year. It will become a great tradition!

(Image Source)

Susie Switch is a great alternative to get rid of the extra, sugary candy and give your child something else they may enjoy more!

2. The Teal Pumpkin Project

This is a great idea! There are a lot of children who cannot trick or treat or cannot enjoy it very much due to food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project was created by the FARE: Food Allergy Research & Education Blog. If you are a home that will be passing out non-food treats, purchase a pumpkin, paint it teal, and place it on your doorstep. The teal pumpkin will let children and families know that you have something to give them, that is safe for them. Not only is this great for children with food allergies, but this is also another great way to cut back the sugar children receive this year.

You can purchase non-food items from Amazon, Target ($1 bin items), Nobbies, or Oriental Trading Company.

(Image Source)

This is a new concept being introduced. The more people who get involved and participate, the more awareness this brings to food allergies. So get involved!

Adel – Friday, October 31st 6 pm – 8 pm

Altoona – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Ames – Saturday, October 31st 5: 30 pm – 7:30 pm

Ankeny – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Bondurant – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Clive – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Des Moines – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Grimes – Friday, October 31st 6 pm – 8 pm

Indianola – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Johnston – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Norwalk – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Urbandale – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Waukee – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

West Des Moines – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm- 8 pm

Winterset – Thursday, October 30th 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Windsor Heights – Thursday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm


Will you be participating in Susie Switch or the Teal Pumpkin Project this year?


Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes 2014 & Giveaway!

We made it out to the Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes again this year! Monte really enjoyed himself last year, so we made sure to check it out this year.

He went as a minion this year! It was hard to get a picture of him with the entire costume on (classic 2 year old), hopefully, before the end of the season, I will get one. I bought it off Etsy … I seriously have an Etsy addiction. Everything is so unique on that site!

I tried to get some good pictures of the event, but as the night went on, it got darker and darker and my pictures did not turn out the greatest 🙁

There were a lot of the same themes as last year like the Wizard of Oz, Pirates, When I Grow Up; but they did a great job of setting it up differently and adding some new things!

They also had the Fun Zone set up this year, which includes bouncy, inflatable houses, kettle corn, hot dogs, and more. We did not make it to this area in time. The Fun Zone closes at 7:30 pm

Monte enjoyed receiving candy from all of the different characters dressed up such as Woody from Toy Story and a Princess! He was a little shy when he met the princess. He wanted to go over, but never got enough courage to go and take a picture.

Monte also enjoyed riding the train, riding the carousel, and seeing some of the animals. While we were there the lion’s were super active and we saw the male lion get up and run! We also saw the tortisus’s up close.

I would definitely recommend putting Night Eye’s on your list of Halloween things to do! I love how the kids receive more then just candy, such as coupons, and how it can become a learning experience by viewing the animals and seeing some different, kid-friendly characters!

This weekend is the last chance to check it out.

It will be open Thursday – Sunday

Thursday & Friday 5:30pm – 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm

If you go Thursday or Friday I would recommend being there right at 5:30 so you have a chance to check out the Fun Zone!


I am giving away TWO free tickets to Night Eyes. All you have to do is go to my Facebook page and like, share and comment “done” on the pinned post at the top of the page. If the page gets to 120 “likes” by Wednesday, I will randomly announce a winner! Good Luck!

What is your favorite thing at the Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes?

2014 Fall & Halloween Activities

Here are some 2014 Fall & Halloween Activities to mark on the calendar for this year!

1. Deals Orchard Fall Festival

Saturday & Sunday October 11th & 12th

This is one event we are for sure checking out this fall! Located in Jefferson, Iowa this apple orchard will not only have apples to offer! They will have a jumping pillow, horse-drawn hayrides, giant slides, sand art, corn pool, corn maze, petting zoo, yummy goodies and much more! Check out Deals Orchard’s website for more details!

2. Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo

October 16th – 19th & 23rd – 26th

Even though we went to Night Eyes last year, we WILL be attending again! Night Eyes is a wonderful, kid-friendly event where your kiddos dress up in their costumes and trick or treat their way through the zoo. Some of the animals are out, train rides are available, and there are always some kid friendly characters making an appearance.

3. Great Pumpkin Party at Valley Church

October 21st – 23rd

I have always heard great things about this event and I am excited to take Monte this year! There are inflatables, pony rides, petting zoo, carnival games, food, and more! Tuesday, the 21st, is specifically for families with special needs to enjoy. For more information and to keep track of the event, “like” their Facebook page.

4. Spooky Science at the Science Center of Iowa

October 25th

Dress up in your costume and come out to the Science Center! Enjoy spooky flashlight tours of the dinosaur exhibit, participate in the costume contest, meet creepy crawly critters, experience live science experiments such as a pumpkin explosion, and get candy of course! Check out the Science Center of Iowa website for more details!

5. Pumpkin Walk at Valley Junction

October 26th

Trick or treat through Valley Junction in your costumes, enjoy fun children’s activities at Green Grounds Cafe, and get a free pumpkin at the Swander Gazebo. Chillin’ in the Junction will also be going on where you can sample great chili’s and play Bingo! Check out their website for more details and times.

6. Valley West Mall Trick or Treating

October 28th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Who knows how cold it will be the week of beggars night? This is a great opportunity to trick or treat, indoors and get lots of candy! Not only is there candy, but free inflatables to bounce on, crafts, balloon animals, and more! This is the last family fun night of the season, so make sure not to miss it!

7. Living History Farms Family Halloween

October 18th – 19th, 23rd – 26th, & 30th – 31st

We attended this event last year and had so much fun! Trick or treat through the old town, enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, storytellers, pumpkin bowling, roast marshmallows (Monte’s favorite part), and more! Check out the Living History Farms website for more details.

What fun events will you be attending this Halloween?

Trick or Treating

Thursday night was Beggars Night in our area! It was Monte’s first Halloween where he actually participated in trick or treating! I was a bit hesitate, not sure on how well he would do, but he did awesome!

Monte was all ready to go right at 6 pm! He grabbed his bucket and headed for the door!

We made sure to grab the other half of Monte’s costume … Elvis! They went as the Fox and Hound 🙂

The first few houses Monte did not understand the whole concept of walking up to a house, getting candy, then walking away? Finally, after a few houses he got the concept down! He even walked up to a few houses all on his own!

Sorry this picture is blurry! But, Elvis was not far behind making sure Monte was getting every house on street!

We also got playing in the leaves crossed off our 2013 Fall Bucket List along the way 🙂

After each house, when Monte would receive candy, I made sure to say thank you several times so he would catch on. My favorite part of the whole evening was when Monte said “thanks” to one house after he got candy! It made my heart melt 🙂

When we got home, Monte made sure to dump all his goodies out and sort through his haul!

Halloween and Beggars Night 2013 went down in the books as a huge success!

What did you kiddos go as for Halloween?

Beggars Night Dates & Times


It’s that time of year again! The time of year when you get your kiddos all dressed up, so they can walk door to door to get FREE candy!

I remember when I was little, different suburbs would do Beggars Night on different nights, so I would go trick or treating one or two different nights, to get the most out of my costume and of course, MORE candy 🙂

I have created a list, so you know when your neighborhood is doing Beggars Night!

Adel – Thursday, October 31st 6 pm – 8 pm

Altoona – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Ames – Thursday, October 31st 5: 30 pm – 7:30 pm

Ankeny – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Bondurant – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Boone – Thursday, October 31st 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Clive – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Des Moines – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Grimes – Thursday, October 31st 6 pm – 8 pm

Huxley – Thursday, October 31st 6 pm – 8 pm

Indianola – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Johnston – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Norwalk – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Urbandale – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

Waukee – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

West Des Moines – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm- 8 pm

Winterset – Thursday, October 31st 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Windsor Heights – Wednesday, October 30th 6 pm – 8 pm

There are also indoor places offering trick or treating, that offer much more then candy! Some will have bounce houses and other fun activities.

Valley West Mall – Tuesday, October 29th 6 pm – 8 pm

Merle Hay Mall – Wednesday, October 30th 5 pm

Jordan Creek Mall – Thursday, October 31st 6 pm – 8 pm

Also, do not miss out on watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
It will be airing on ABC Thursday, October 31st at 7 pm!


Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo

This is the last weekend to check out Night Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo. We went Thursday night and had a blast! I tried to take pictures, but it was kind of dark, so excuse me for the not so great pictures!

There are a lot of things to see and do at Night Eyes. When you enter the park you are guided through the land of Oz and you walk down the “yellow brick road”. The Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto even made an appearance!

Not many animals were out but quite a few birds and the black swans were out to take a look at.

After the land of Oz you are greeted by pirates! Monte loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so he thought the ship was an awesome thing to see!

They even had light up swords for sale, so the kiddos can be like a pirate also! Of course, Monte’s grandparents bought him a super cool sword to take home 🙂

You can ride the train through the park for $2. It takes you by the lions and tiger and you are able to view some other Halloween decorations.

Afterwards you continue to travel through the park. There are various Des Moines businesses set up handing out candy and/or coupons and everyone is dressed up in costume!

Another fun little stop on the route is the “When I Grow Up”. They have several cut out boards of various professions, that the kiddos can stick their head in and take a picture. It’s a great way to start a discussion with your kiddos about what they possibly want to be when they grow up!

There was also a “Spooky Forest” not too spooky of course! There were also many other displays to see, that I could not get great pictures of.

To end the evening, there were inflatables and bounce houses to jump in. There was also hot dogs, pop, and other various foods & drinks available for purchase.

The Carousel was open for rides and looked very pretty all lit up in the dark!

Overall, I give Night Eyes a BIG thumbs up to take your kiddos to.

It is open today and tomorrow 1 pm – 8 pm

Admission is $5 and children 12 months and under are FREE!

Another great, inexpensive event to get your kiddos all dressed up for.

Have you been to Night Eyes before? What’s your favorite thing to do?