EXPLORE: Happy holiday fun!

Haunted houses, apple orchards, pumpkin patches and holiday-shopping hotspots.

Haunted houses:

500 Locust St., Des Moines
Now showing in a huge underground lair west of Cowles Commons in downtown, Slaughterhouse is a gruesome fright show that leaves onlookers scared out of their wits. This season, all tickets are timed, which should lead to short wait times.

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Scream Park
4051 Dean Ave., Des Moines
Billed as “the largest and most elaborate Halloween theme park in Iowa,” Sleepy Hollow will “scare the YELL out of you!” Have fun.

Haunted Barn
3215 S.E. Corporate Woods Drive, Ankeny
Blood, guts and good old-fashioned ghostly fun.

Theatrical Shop
145 Fifth St., West Des Moines
Find the perfect costume at Valley Junction’s Theatrical Shop, which offers the opportunity to become an evil witch or to disguise yourself as a monster, villain or maybe even a superhero.

Pumpkin patches:

Iowa Orchard
9875 Meredith Drive, Urbandale

Center Grove Orchard
32835 610th Ave., Cambridge

Geisler Farms
5251 N.E. 94th Ave., Bondurant

Harvest Barn
2721 U.S. Hwy 34, Osceola

Pumpkinville & Cornmaze
618 Center Ave. S., Mitchellville

Uncle Bill’s Farm
244 400th Ave., Grinnell

Howell’s Pumpkin Patch
3145 Howell Court, Cumming

The Pumpkin Ranch
2425 Hiatt Apple Trail, Winterset

Wills Family Orchard & Pumpkin Farm
33130 Panther Creek Road, Adel

Gift-finding hotspots during the holiday season:

Jordan Creek Town Center
101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines
The biggest indoor shopping center in central Iowa, Jordan Creek is loaded with upscale eats, fun events, live music and a full buffet of shopping options, including American Eagle, Apple, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Banana Republic, Gap, Dillard’s, Buckle and a 20-screen movie theater.

The Shops of Valley Junction
Along Fifth Street in West Des Moines
www.bingsdsm.com; www.memlaneantiques.com; www.heartofiowamarketplace.com
Games, socks, art poles, gifts for kids and much more, when you need something that says, “I appreciate you,” you can find it at Bing’s. Looking for a Hitchcock Two-Drawer Nightstand? How about a Red Wing butter churn with the original wooden pole? Maybe a quarter-sawn oak Horner China cabinet? Take a trip to Memory Lane, where antiques are ample, and treasures abound. And, if locally sourced Iowa-themed gifts is on your agenda, Heart of Iowa Market Place is known as “the Iowa store and so much more.”

Unkl Ruckus
5725 Urbandale Ave., Des Moines
Artistry and craftsmanship poured into the best glass the industry has to offer. Stop in and see the new arrivals that hit the shelves weekly.