Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Chillier over the weekend

A personal note: It's my baby brother's birthday today, and as the only boy growing up in a house with four sisters, he's the most patient person I know. Love ya, Ryan! Happy birthday!

This weekend, you'll get smart about haunted houses with some of the folks behind Jaycee's Feargrounds. I've also got a look at how a partnership is giving middle school kids a unique opportunity to make music together. Plus, find a roundup of trick-or-treating spots, our weekly event guide and some Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


Get smart about haunted houses with Jaycee's Feargrounds

Edith and Travis Arneson are longtime Jaycees, and along with their daughter, Grace Arneson, they're helping run this year's 50th anniversary of the Feargrounds. They sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about what goes into making a haunted house and how they pull it off with only volunteers.

Answers are edited for length and clarity.

Let’s start by learning a little bit about you–how did you “get smart” about haunted houses? What did you do to prepare for your work with Jaycees haunted house? 

Edith: The haunted house has been going on for 50 years, and just being part of the Jaycees ... it's passed down.

  • Nationwide, they have a training where they have new props, different effects that you can use. We've had a couple of our members go down to that and learn different things.

We’re all about simplicity here. Can you describe in 10 words or fewer what this year’s Feargrounds is like? 

50 years of fear: Circus of Horrors. It says it in the name.

What goes into pulling this off every year?

Edith: Typically it's like February or March when we first start talking about it. Sometimes we're even talking about what's going on next year already (during the current year's haunted house).

As far as preparation and getting it up and running, we have five semi trailers, plus we have storage in our Jaycee office.

  • We have our building project manager, he helps design what the haunt looks like, where the halls are going, things like that.

Grace: It takes hundreds of hours of building. I'm in charge of volunteer coordinating this year, and we have a Facebook group. I've been constantly on there saying, hey, we're building, come on out.

See the full interview here


Super Simplified Stories

  • Trunk or Treatin'? Here's where. This instagram highlight from @siouxfallsmom has a roundup of a ton of local Trunk or Treat events happening in the area. Great resource for parents.
  • Prescribed burn happening today. There's a prescribed burn at the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum and Arrowhead Park today. So if you see smoke/fire in that area, the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue has it under control.
  • Chat with a councilor. Councilor Greg Neitzert will be available for the public to chat from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the WP in the Washington Pavilion as part of a monthly council outreach effort.
  • Share your thoughts on pools. The city has some ideas about the future of Sioux Falls' pools – including adding at least one indoor recreation center. You can give feedback on these plans from 5:307 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Prairie West Branch Library for the Kuehn Park pool, and two dates to give feedback on Frank Olson: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8 and 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9 at The Social at 301 S. Thompson Ave.


How a unique partnership is putting middle schoolers on the main stage

Simplified: A partnership between Augustana University and the Promising Futures Fund is giving dozens of Sioux Falls middle schoolers a chance to perform at the Washington Pavilion. Here's what you need to know.

Tell me more

Promising Futures Fund and Augustana University's School of Music are partnering to host the Middle School Choral Festival at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23, in the Mary W. Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion.

  • The Ben Reifel, George McGovern and Whittier Middle Schools choirs will join Augustana choirs for a free, public performance.

The university also hosted a similar program this spring, but Monday will be the first time hosting the festival at the Pavilion.

"Participation in the arts, specifically choral music, allows students a low-cost solution to express themselves, build their community and make Sioux Falls more beautiful through music,” said Steve Hildebrand, founder and chair of the Promising Futures Fund.

Why it matters

And what happens next?


Stuff to do: Oct. 20-26

  • Get spooked (science version). It's Spooky Science day at the Washington Pavilion on Saturday. Dissect gummy worms, experiment with oozing pumpkins and take home a bag of Halloween candy. Details here.
  • Get spooked (aquarium version). It's Spooky Seas at the Butterfly House and Aquarium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Find crafts, sweets and a special appearance by The Little Mermaid. Details here.
  • Snag your ski pass. Great Bear Ski Valley is hosting its annual preseason sale this weekend at OctoBEARfest. Get discounted season passes, and you can ride the chairlift to the top of the hill to see the fall colors. Details here.
  • Get your marketing frustrations heard. Are you a marketer with some big frustrations? Or a business owner who struggles to market yourself? This conference is for you. The I Hate Marketing Conference takes place Thursday, Oct. 26 at the El Riad Shrine. Details and tickets here.
  • Support startups. Business owners will present their business ideas during Startup Pitch Night from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the Startup Sioux Falls building downtown, and you get to help choose who wins $1,000. Details and tickets here.
  • Paint the plow. The city is hosting its 14th annual Paint the Plow event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Levitt at the Falls. Details here.


What I'm falling for this weekend:


More simplified stories

Why more animals are getting adopted
The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society has seen a nearly 23% increase in animal adoptions this year over last. Leadership credits community partnerships, open doors and Tik Tok.
Councilors want to see childcare on Pierre’s priority list
The Sioux Falls City Council had its first discussion on legislative priorities for 2024 this week.
Feel stronger, move intentionally with these new fitness classes
Two new class offerings at Barre3 Sioux Falls aim to help you feel stronger and more balanced with workouts focused specifically on strength and cardio.


How to support Sioux Falls Simplified

Has Sioux Falls Simplified made you feel smarter about where you live?

Here are a few ways to ensure this smarter, easier local news outlet is here to stay:

  • Become a member. Consider buying into a smarter Sioux Falls by becoming a member and offering financial support to the no B.S. journalism you've been reading here.
  • Give a one-time gift. Not ready to commit to a membership? That's OK! If you want to help in a smaller way, you can give a one-time gift via buy me a coffee. :)
  • Advertise with us. Tell the "simplified" story of your business to your target audience. Want more info? Reach out to Sales & Socials Director Olivia Bertino at olivia@sfsimplified.com or check out our media kit.
Want the process to be even simpler? You can schedule a newsletter or event sponsorship right here with just a few clicks and a few questions.

Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or mild spooks to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Sioux Empire United Way, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance and Voyage Federal Credit Union. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.