Des Moines Moms Guide to October Events 2019

This post is sponsored by Burger Shed.

October 2019We are thrilled to partner with the new Burger Shed restaurant in Altoona to bring you this monthly family events guide. 

Heart of America’s newest concept —the Burger Shed—is a nod to the roots of the company’s first restaurant, The Machine Shed. The Burger Shed’s menu consists of Shed favorites, handcrafted burgers, and real ice cream shakes. With plenty of big-screen TVs, shuffleboards, two bars, and two outdoor patios – not to mention 16 beers on draft – Burger Shed is the perfect place for game day – and every day! Come during happy hour every weekday from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. for half off taps and wells, as well as a variety of signature sliders at a great price!

When we were kids, trick-or-treating was a once annual event. Today, families can take advantage of many free and safe community events where kids can dress up during the day, play games, and collect treats. And you get more adorable shots of the little ones in their costumes! Don’t miss our guide to Halloween Events in Des Moines

There’s more than just Halloween parties happening this month in Des Moines. Check out free events such as storytime at local libraries, a day at Reiman Gardens, or Urbandale’s fall festival.

We also found a few sensory-friendly activities designed for families with special needs to enjoy without as many distractions. We hope everyone enjoys a fun-filled October!

For more fall activities, check out our Pumpkin Patch Guide, Apple Orchard Guide, and Des Moines Fall Bucket List.

Des Moines Family Activities October 2019

October 1 | Pete The Cat Visits the Library, Des Moines Public Library
4 p.m. at Franklin Avenue Library 
6:30 p.m. at Central Library 
Meet Pete the Cat at a special storytime with songs, rhymes, and some groovy stories! Be sure to snap a pic of your kids meeting Pete the Cat.

October 5 | Sensory-Friendly Hours at Science Center of Iowa
8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Families with children on the autism spectrum or children with sensory processing disorders can enjoy exploring the Science Center of Iowa in a quieter less-crowded environment on the first Saturday of the month. Admission is free, and no advance tickets are required!
TIP: Check out a sensory backpack filled with tools to help you tailor your experience, including noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses, weighted stuffed animals and fidget materials.

October 5 | Bump Day Pregnancy Expo, Iowa Family Chiropractic
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Connect with local resources on conception, pregnancy, motherhood, babies, and postpartum. You can meet and learn about local midwives, doulas, photographers, Physical Therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and much more. Admission is free.

October 5 | Wicked Wine Run, Water Works Park
4 p.m.
Run a 5k (or walk a 1K) through the trails of the beautiful Des Moines Water Works Park and celebrate at the finish line with a glass of wine. After the race, there will be live music, food trucks, and of course, more wine!

October 5 | OktoberfestAdventureland Park, Altoona
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ready for a kid-free night out? Adventureland’s Annual Oktoberfest post-season special event is a 21-years-of-age and older event. Enjoy live music and enjoy some adult beverages. Cost is $45 per person.

October 6 | Nature of the Game, Reiman Gardens in Ames
Score free admission to Reiman Gardens all day. This is the last day of their Nature of the Game exhibit, which celebrates ecology through play with a new collection of larger-than-life outdoor games. From oversized tile puzzles to gorgeous hidden picture sculptures to giant food web chess and more, have fun playing games that demonstrate the balance, beauty, and connectedness of nature.

October 7 | Family Story Time, West Des Moines Library
6:45 p.m.
Bond over books with family storytime in the evening. Babies and preschoolers will love the stories, songs, and interactive rhymes.

October 8-12 | Take2 Children’s Consignment Sale Event, Iowa State Fairgrounds
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 10 am to 5 p.m.
Hunt for bargains at this huge children’s consignment sale. You’ll find clothing, toys, and baby equipment at deep discounts.
TIP: October 11-12 are half-price days!

October 12 | Party in the Park, Free Fall Festival at Walker-Johnston Park
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Celebrate the season with inflatables and food trucks at this free festival in Urbandale. Bring the big kids to the laser tag and virtual reality gaming area.

October 15-20 | Mean Girls, Des Moines Civic Center
Grab your gal pals for a night out watching the Broadway hit, Mean Girls. And remember if you get tickets for Wednesday’s show, be sure to wear pink!

October 17| Pumpkin CarvingIowa Arboretum, 1875 Peach Ave, Madrid
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Take a little trip outside Des Moines to test your carving skills and enjoy a hot bowl of chili, a warm piece of cornbread, and a cool dessert. The pumpkins will be displayed during the Arboretum’s Halloween events. This event is free.

October 18 | Extreme Hide-and-Seek, Johnston Library
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Send your middle schoolers to an EPIC after-hours game of hide-and-seek at the library. There will also be snacks and video games on the big screen in the meeting room. Costumes welcome. The event is free for students in 6th grade and up, but registration is required.

October 19 | Sensory Saturday, East Side Library
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Families and children with special needs can explore the library in a calm environment. There will also be a special visitor from the ARL’s Therapets program.

October 22 | Waukee Fall Festival, Timberline Campground
4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Bring the family out to a fall festival at the Timberline Campground. Enjoy roasting marshmallows by the campfire, face painting, cookie frosting, and more!

October 22 | Teen TableTop Gaming Club, Johnston Library
5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Kids in 6th-12th grade can play a selection of classic games and popular new releases. Pizza will be served. This month they can try playing set collection and tile-laying games! No experience needed. RSVPs appreciated. 

October 26 | The Great Inflatable Race, Iowa State Fairgrounds
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Run the wiggles out of your little ones as they make their way through a bouncy obstacle course. Giant inflatable obstacles are spread throughout the area, and they will bounce, bump and slide all over the place!

October 26 | Pumpkinfest, Carlisle
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy a costume parade, trunk or treating, food and more in downtown Carlisle.

October 26 | Break Time, Valley Community Center
5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Need a night off? Through Break Time, single parents can bring their kids to a safe, fun, and developmentally-appropriate program led by caring adults. This free service allows single parents to have several hours of uninterrupted time for running errands, studying, or simply having some alone time. Registration is required.

October 29 | Baby Shark Live!, Des Moines Civic Center
6 p.m.
You do-do do-do-do-do-do want to take the kids to see this one! This concert experience will get young fans dancing in the aisles as Baby Shark goes on fun adventures to learn and meet new friends!


Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add your event to the list.

We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.

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Content Coordinator Megan doesn’t really fall into any one mom category. With three kids from ages 5 to 12, she’s been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. She’s breastfed and bottle-fed. She’s kept kids on strict sleeping schedules in their own beds and also embraced the benefits of co-sleeping. She’s a big believer in finding what works for you and your kiddo (and it’s often different for each kid). Megan is an Iowa native and lives in Ankeny with her husband Darren. They love to travel and are often planning their next road trip (even it’s a year away). They also enjoy entertaining and are famous among their friends for throwing big bashes to celebrate the Olympic Games. But her everyday life is mostly comprised of playdates, trips to the park, and trying to stay ahead of the never-ending laundry pile.    


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