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Plants, Pets, Pandas, Breweries and Boos: Halloween Celebrations for Des Moines Purposes

The stage is set for the comedy band The Punching Pandas to perform at Halloween Zoo Brew at Blank Park Zoo — Courtesy of event organizers

Dating back to the Iron Age, the holiday now celebrated as Halloween was Samhain, a Celtic festival that acknowledged the end of summer and marked the turn of the year. The theme of death and rebirth clings to the concept of our understanding, the thinness between the worlds, mischief, the appearance of the dead and the offering of treats to appease them. The forces merged All Saints’ Day (November 1st) with the practice and gave it a modern name to tie the ties even closer together (All Saints’ Day is also known as All Saints’ Day). All Hallows’ Eve, or the day before Halloween).

More and more often, cultural influences flow in yet another direction. In modern times, New Year celebrations of all kinds are increasingly associated with generosity and giving, from year-end charitable giving to his Facebook donation drive for birthdays. Halloween is no exception. Several events in Central Iowa this year demonstrate this push to mark the turn of the year with a commitment to making next year a better year for others.

The earliest of these is Halloween Zoo Brew at Blank Park Zoo on Friday, October 14th. Adults 21 and older can dress up in their best costumes to support the zoo, which is Iowa’s only accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Blank Park was founded nearly 60 years ago as the Des Moines Children’s Zoo. Philanthropist AH Blank, who moved to Iowa from Romania as a child, donated $150,000 to fund a children’s zoo that opened its gates in 1966. A few years old renovation. Opened in 1986, Blank Park Zoo isn’t just for kids anymore.

The last two weekends in October see the Halloween Zoo Brew, a testament to the idea that the space isn’t just for kids, although decades of “not scary” Night Eyes traditions continue at the zoo. is offered for adults only. Kickoff to the season of terror. From 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., costumed fans can enjoy an energetic cover of the music of his band, Punching Panda. Admission is $10 for members or free, but pre-purchased VIP tickets ($20 for members, $25 for the general public) include drink tickets, haunted train tickets, and an adult pass to enjoy seasonal beer. Includes trick or treat. sample. And of course, a costume contest!

The following afternoon, October 15th, you can join Wag-O-Ween at Big Grove Brewery to celebrate animals in a more homely nature. All proceeds will go to the Animal Rescue League, Iowa’s largest non-profit animal rescue organization. Since its founding in 1926, ARL has served the state with pet adoption services, spay/neuter programs, humane education, and pet behavior training. It is funded by donations from individuals and companies.

Properly leashed and vaccinated dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome at Wag-O-Ween, held from 12pm to 4pm. Of course, there are also pet and human costume contests. Other activities include pumpkin painting (you must bring your own gourd to participate). Bender’s his Stylin Paws, Pampered Pooch and Zoom Room Ankeny. And otaku art face painting.

On Saturday, October 29th, Greater Des Moines’ Botanical Gardens will host Trick or Tree Day. Access to the all-day event is included in admission to the gardens ($10 for adults, $9 for seniors and military personnel over 65, $7 for youth ages 4-17, members and her 3 Children under age are free). The 12-acre Public Garden first opened in 1979 as the Des Moines Botanical Center, and in 2013 he became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It emphasizes local ecosystems and places sustainable horticulture and water management practices at its core.

‘Trick or Tree’ from 10am to 5pm includes interactive bat storytime, costume parade and trick or treat for 5 and under. The garden promises “spooky educational activities about trees and spooky plants,” and Iowa magician Jonathan May will take the stage at 3 p.m. after a demonstration of papermaking and an antique cider press.

Later that night, the Black Sheep DSM hosts a very different charity event. Disc Nixon hosts an all-vinyl Rocky Horror party for Time His Warp, a fundraiser for his school in Iowa. A portion of all sales go to his Iowa Safe Schools, which “provide safe, supportive and nurturing learning environments and communities for LGBTQ and allied youth through education, outreach, advocacy and direct service.” Used to support missions.

Audiences gather for the annual live screening of LGBTQ+ cult classic The Rocky Horror Show at Iowa City’s Englert Theater on October 31, 2021. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022, Iowa Safe Schools works statewide to support LGBTQ and related students. In 2016, they launched her GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) network to connect and grow his GSA organization in schools across Iowa. Iowa Safe Schools is also fighting for legislative support for its goals. Black Sheep DSM, an underground tequila bar in East Her Village, will be doing Time Her Warp again starting at 10pm on October 29 to raise funds for those helping vulnerable children. , invite patrons to the Halloween celebration.

On Halloween night, head to Historic Sherman Hill from 6:30-8:30 PM for Halloween on the Hill. Residents will enjoy your viewing as you decorate your home with spooky delight. Entry to the neighborhood is free, but all visitors are requested to bring non-perishable food or a monetary donation to support the DMARC food pantry. The Des Moines Area Religious Council manages a network of 15 food pantries throughout the region, operates mobile food pantry sites and offers overnight delivery services.

DMARC celebrates its 70th anniversary this year of advocating and serving interfaith communities. Their website,, maintains a list of the most-needed foods to inspire those attending Halloween on the Hill. Start your evening at Hoyt Sherman Place to deliver a donation and pick up a map of the largest display in your neighborhood.

Dedicate this month’s Halloween celebration to making the world around you a better place!

scary charity

halloween zoo brewBlank Park Zoo, Friday, October 14, 5:30-8:30 pm, $0-25

Wag-O-Ween and the Animal Rescue League of IowaBig Grove Brewery, Saturday, October 15, 12pm-4pm

On July 27, 2022, Big Grove’s third store in Des Moines opened to the public. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Trick or TreesDes Moines Botanical Gardens, Saturday, October 29, 10am-5pm, Free – $10

Time Warp + Iowa Safe Schools FundraiserBlack Sheep DSM, Saturday, October 29, 10:00 p.m.

Halloween on the Hill + DMARC Food PantryHistoric Sherman Hill, Monday, October 31, 6:30-8:30 PM

Halloween on the Hill — Courtesy of Sherman Hill Society

Haunted house

Ready to raise your scaremeter a few notches? For Halloween, explore the haunted attractions of central and eastern Iowa.

Central City, Ring of AshFriday, September 30 – Saturday, October 29, $25-$60

Marengo’s Haunted Barn, LadraFriday, September 30 – Saturday, October 29, $12.

Horror Haunted House, Des MoinesFriday, September 30-Sunday, October 30, $25-$45

Slaughterhouse, Des MoinesFriday, September 30 – Monday, October 31, $25-$30

Lynn’s Haunted House, Des MoinesSeptember 30 (Friday) to October 31 (Monday), $20

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park, Des MoinesFriday, September 30-Sunday, October 30, $28-$48

Phantom Fall Fest, AltoonaFriday, September 30 – Sunday, October 30, $34.99 – $49.99

Heart of Darkness WaterlooFriday, September 30 – Monday, October 31, $20-$50

Eclipse Haunt, Iowa CityFriday, September 30 – Monday, October 31, $25-$40

Harris Haven Funeral Home, EvansdaleFriday, September 30 – Monday, October 31, $5

Tormented Souls Haunt and Scream Park, MadridSaturday, October 1 – Saturday, October 29, $22 – $46

Scream Acres Park, AtkinsSaturday, October 1 – Saturday, October 29, $36.95 – $43.95

Thrasher’s House of Terror, Mount PleasantThursday, October 6 – Saturday, October 29, $10-$20

Haunted Forest, AmesFriday, October 7 – Saturday, October 29, $25

Genevieve Trainor hates being scared, but loves being kind. This article originally appeared in her 007 issue of Little Village Central Iowa.