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LIST: Halloween, Beggars' Night events in the Des Moines metro for 2021

Health officials discouraged going all-in for spooky season last year, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said trick-or-treating outside is safe for kids this year.

DES MOINES, Iowa — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from Oct. 1, 2021. 

It's the second fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's not stopping the fun and spooky festivities for Halloween and Beggars' Night this year. 

While health officials discouraged going all-in for spooky season last year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said trick-or-treating outside is safe for kids this year

People should still avoid large gatherings and stay in smaller groups while out and about, she added.

Walensky's remarks came shortly before Pfizer submitted initial data to the Food and Drug Administration to support its COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

According to the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Des Moines metro tradition of Beggars' Night dates back to 1938. During the 1930s, there was a high volume of mischief and vandalism reported each year, especially on Halloween night.

Some people became concerned for the safety and well-being of their children who would typically go trick-or-treating on that same night. To help reduce this fear, the City of Des Moines created Beggars’ Night.

By having the favorite Halloween fun just one night earlier, police were able to focus more readily on stopping petty crime and reducing the high amount of vandalism.

Within just a few years, the rate of criminal mischief or vandalism on Halloween night dropped substantially, but Beggars’ Night lived on.

Now, over 80 years later, the City of Des Moines and the surrounding communities still recognize Beggars’ Night as October 30.

Here's what central Iowa cities have scheduled for trick-or-treating this year:


Altoona residents have two opportunities to fill their goody bags this year.

The first will be Altoona's Business Trick or Treat event on Thursday, Oct. 21 from 5-7 p.m. at the Civic Plaza. 

The other chance will be at the Outlets of Des Moines on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 5-7 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Families with kids under 12 are encouraged to come in costume to collect goodies throughout the mall. 

All kids must be accompanied by an adult. Each participating child is asked to bring personal hygiene items and/or canned foods to donate to the Caring Hands Outreach Center

Come Trick or Treating on Thursday, October 28, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Outlets of Des Moines. The...

Posted by Outlets of Des Moines on Wednesday, October 6, 2021


The official night for trick-or-treating in Ames will be on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. 

Those wanting to trick-or-treat in downtown Ames can do so on Friday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. 

Boo! Downtown Trick or Treat is coming up, we can’t wait to see all your costumes! 👻🎃 #CommunityHappensHere

Posted by Downtown Ames on Monday, September 27, 2021


Beggars' Night in Ankeny is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. 


Beggars' Night in Bondurant is scheduled for Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.


Beggars' Night in Clive is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

The Clive Public Library is hosting a Halloween Hop costume and dance party on Oct. 28 from 6:15-7 p.m. The event is free but registration is required.

Des Moines

Beggars' Night in Des Moines is scheduled for Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. 


Beggars' Night in Indianola is scheduled for Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. There are also other spooky events scheduled for the entire month.

On Thursday, Oct. 21, kids in grades 6-12 can attend a murder mystery party from 6-8 p.m. at the Indianola Public Library. 

Don't worry, adults will be able to have their own party as well! The 18+ murder mystery party will be on Oct. 22 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. That will also be at the public library. 

More Halloween events and parties can be found on the City of Indianola's calendar by clicking/tapping here


Johnston will host Beggars' Night on Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. 

The city asks residents to make sure their paths to their doors are clear of debris or plants that could impair walking. It also asks for folks to keep pets inside and to not give any homemade or unwrapped treats out. 

Today marks the first day of fall. That is a good reminder that Beggars' Night will soon be here. It will take place in Johnston on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

Posted by City of Johnston Government on Wednesday, September 22, 2021


Newton's Beggars' Night is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

This year Beggars' Night falls on Saturday, October 30. Be safe and have fun as you trick-or-treat through Newton's neighborhoods from 6 - 8 p.m.!

Posted by City of Newton, Iowa - Government on Tuesday, October 5, 2021


Norwalk's Beggars' Night is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

Families with kids in preschool to 5th grade can pick up trick-or-treat bags, glow sticks, on Oct. 30 from 5-6 p.m. at the fire station. Drive through the south side of bay one and two to grab your goodies.


The annual Halloween dance at Ottumwa Community Children's Playhouse is Oct. 29 from 6-8 p.m. 

The cost is $5 per kid and parents get in for free.

Pleasant Hill

The city is hosting its annual Trick or Treat Around the Lake on Oct. 26 from 5-7 p.m. at Copper Creek Lake Park.


Beggars' Night in Urbandale is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

The Urbandale Police Department's Trunk or Treat is Oct. 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Attendees should park at Walker Johnston Park and follow the Urbandale bike trail to the southwest side of the police station. The trail will be lined with officers—and candy. The public is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for a food drive. 


Beggars' Night in Waukee is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. 

West Des Moines

Beggars' Night in West Des Moines is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. 

The West Des Moines RecPlex will have family-friendly games and crafts at Halloween Hullabaloo from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 31. Tickets are $8 for kids ages 2-11 and $10 for ages 12 and up. Register in advance here.

Windsor Heights

Beggars' Night in Windsor Heights is Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

The city is also showing Hocus Pocus in Colby Park at 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 29. There will be free pizza, popcorn, drinks and cookies. In case of bad weather, the movie will be indoors at the Windsor Heights Community Center.

Windsor Heights Lutheran Church is hosting its second Trunk or Treat on Oct. 24 from 3:30-5 p.m.


Beggars' Night in Winterset is Oct. 30 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The Winterset Public Library is hosting a pumpkin carving bash on Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. The event is for adults but kids are also welcome.

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