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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all.
We did a puzzle/escape room for our last two halloween parties. The first one was a Lovecraft/horror theme and went quite nicely. The second was a scifi/mad science theme, and while the puzzles worked well, I felt like it was missing the Halloween element.
If I do one again this year, I'd be happy to have it be nightmare inducing. Perhaps something that even though people can escape the room, there is something unfinished and maybe they've got a spirit following them home. And hopefully have some good jump scares built into the puzzle solving.

It's been nice having a short story or such to serve as a loose scenario for puzzle room. Anyone have suggestions of something that might work?
 

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I might be wrong, but I forsee the whole Escape Room thing as attracting more people who like to use their minds, versus a Haunt where screamers and goons take charge, nothing wrong with either scenario, but which one would YOU like?
Any kind of "Game" in a haunt will result in some not being very "Happy" because it becomes competition with losers and a winner or a winning team and a losing Team, and some are very poor losers.
Henry Ford (number ONE) was quoted :"Thinking must be the hardest "Job" there is, because So Few Wish to do it!"
When I hosted Murder Mysteries here I saw a lot of adults "drug" in here, who really did not want to be here or partaking of such a thing at all, probably because they were "Adults" and this type of person is supposed to calling the shots for themselves, in almost all decisions they have to make everyday, every week.
My Adult Son, John has participated in a few "Escape Rooms". He has always been a "Gamer", he likes to figure things out, use his mind. The Escapes had small, hidden switches to activate things and quite a few Very tricky small constructions that to figure them out you would almost have to be Psychic with a direct mental ESP link to the person who designed or built the equipment.
Many people though do not handle frustration very well, and I see such frustration leading to wholesale rejection of such challenges from a large number of adults.
Good Luck one and all in whatever such pursuits that one may try.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Our attendees tend not to be horror fans, and would probably have fun with the puzzle room regardless of theme. Having it include scares is what I would like.
We also try to not make it too hard, and give hints when needed.. and we've tried to design it so that it's possible to make a guess at the final solution without having completed every single piece. So we don't really have losers. We also don't force anyone into if they aren't into it.

We based our first one on the Dunnwich Horror, which was a great fit for puzzles and had an appropriate aesthetic.
http://www.halloweenforum.com/party-ideas-experiences-and-recipes/140276-lovecraft-puzzle-room.html
We had a few little things that moved unexpectedly, and they got some good reactions. So I'm hoping to find a story that can fit that, but also would like to have it include a larger aspect that may stick with people beyond the conclusion. I'm aiming more for psychological horror than gore.
 

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While I don't have anything to offer spur of the moment, it sounds fascinating, and I'm anxious to follow the thread.
 

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I've never done a locked puzzle room, but I have done quite a few parties with hidden scavenger hunt/clue jumping. The reason it's successful for me is that, it's an extra. Everyone doesn't need to play so the guests that are not interested in chasing clues, solving puzzles, finding treasure can socialize, eat and relax. But for the chosen few, with the pre-disposition, I offer a world of intrigue and a distraction from the norm.
Based on what your saying, I would think a mirror with a spirit "say my name" would be nightmare Inducing (Bloody Mary take) - how to incorporate that theme is up to you. Another story many find unsettling is La Llorna - the woman who's spirit cries from drowning her children. If you have a few seasoned people and need to up the anti to rattle their cage, many do not like ouija and voodoo, (think the skeleton key movie )The swapping of the spirits or spirits latching onto you.

Great idea- very different. Good luck with it, I'll be following this thread.
 

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Another unwanted piece of advice: We have Hide & Seek parties here which sometimes means that every door, or anything they think Might be a door gets yanked or kicked very forcefully, often requiring repairs when they are done here. I don't like that.
My Son told me that the Escape Room (s) he participated in had some very small, tiny switches hidden behind or inside of other objects. One required finding a tiny pin, finding the tiny hole to push it into, hitting the micro switch hidden inside of or behind something.
I can't see 99% of the people ever being able to figure out such things and make them happen in-time to accomplish their mission. The clock is ticking....Done!
Escape Rooms would have much appeal with the type of person who can sit down and put together a 5,000 piece puzzle, in one "sitting"........
 

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Hmm, I like where you're going with this. If you have Xfinity/Comcast On Demand, check out Syfy's Season 2 Paranormal Witness episode, The Dybbuk Box. This evil, cursed wine box has passed several hands, everyone has been affected by it. You can look up other links about it on Google. http://www.syfy.com/paranormalwitness/episodes/season/2/episode/4/the-dybbuk-box

That could be a good story to work into your escape room scenario. You might have a character prop sitting in the chair, dead, with the Dybbuk box open before him. You could have puzzle items in your wine box, clue objects, etc. As part of the real story, a college student bought it on Ebay (knowing it was cursed) and everyone living in his apartment was affected. A historian later bought it and his fellow researchers made him take it home because of all the strange things happening. For the purpose of your game, everyone would be affected by it, just by being in the room. Make someone take it home with them. Tell them you DON'T want it. If the person leaves it by your door after the party, you know you got to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
celipops, yep, a magic mirror has been on my list for a while. It took me a while to find a good idea for how to get people to look into the mirror unsuspectingly, but I think I've got one now that fits nicely in a puzzle room. I also like the idea of drawing on traditional folklore, but I'd need to come up with some reason for why it's suddenly happening in my house.

Gym, I've done a couple escape rooms and a large amount of it is about teamwork and coordination, though familiarity with common puzzle schemes also is a big help. But some places publishes the success rates of their rooms, and some of them are very low. That doesn't seem like as much fun to me.

dawnski, cursed object is a good start, but there needs to be a bunch of items. I try to come up with a plausible reason why all this stuff is in the room and why I know very little about it (otherwise I wouldn't need people to help me figure out the puzzle). Best I've been able to come up with for where a whole bunch of stuff came from is inheritance from an unknown relative, but that doesn't feel very satisfying. I do like the idea of telling someone to take something home with them. I also wouldn't be above slipping things into the pockets of peoples' coats so they don't know they're taking something home with them. Maybe I can find something that'll start making wailing noises at midnight.
 

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I recently did a Real Escape room. THe theme was Mavis house and let me tell you it was super creepy. They kept scratching on the walls and popping upi here and there. Opening and closing doors. Low, flickering lights and at times no lights really had us all creeped out. Great time.
 

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Well here are a few more ideas that maybe you can tweak. If you did a hotel themed party, you might be interested in Disney Tokyo's Tower of Terror which is different from the stateside TOT. In this story, hotel owner and collector Harrison Hightower III, fills his hotel with all sorts of antiquities. He is a shady fellow so many of these have been pilfered. At one point, he steals some kind of Tiki God which makes him disappear when he is in the elevator. After his disappearance the hotel remained closed for many years until a preservation society began to offer tours there, using the money to fix up the place. The basement looked like the warehouse in Indiana Jones. Here's an info link on that. http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Tower_of_Terror_(Tokyo_DisneySea)
4013363842_3257a9a7a6_b.jpg ACF221.jpg

If you did a more paranormal style party, you could turn your home into an occult museum. That way you could have a ton of cursed objects as part of your escape room. Here's a video walk thru of Lorraine and Ed Warren's occult museum. If you mail out invitations, it might be fun to include some weird token object with some paranormal history to it (Now it's in their house all month with them thinking about it). Tell them to become familiar with the history of their object and bring it with them to the party. It will become part of answering the puzzles in your escape room. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UbO9KukxR4
warren-occult-museum-5251e2e14203c3e5d70000b1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the suggestions, that is kind of the look I'm going for.
But I'm also trying to find a plausible story for why this is all in my house and why I can't take care of it myself. Maybe I should give up on that part, and assume suspension of disbelief will apply.
 

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Absolutely, your friends will buy into your theme. Set up the story of what they're entering (Hightower Hotel, Society of Paranormal Research) in your initial invite. Then set up your front entrance with some signage reflecting that. When we did our hotel party, we wrote our invites as managers of the hotel welcoming our guests to our amenities (as if they already booked with us). And we had a large hotel sign made from the headboard of a twin bed. Our guests really got into the theme that year.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just to follow up on this... We ended up going with a theme based on "The Horla" by Guy de Maupassant. A lot of stuff in the story we were able to bring in as puzzle ideas, and we used a bunch of the text in clues. It worked out pretty well.

Here are some of the artifacts we had.
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this one is a monster-in-a-box that rattles after you unlock it.
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and this one is a magic mirror. you had to fog it up to see the clue, at which point we lit it up
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(looks the site doesn't like me uploading the animated gif)

and the final goal was to unlock the journal, which was the full text of the story, and had the key to the door hidden inside. and a note saying that by unlocking the trunk, the Horla had been released.
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Hey all.
We did a puzzle/escape room for our last two halloween parties. The first one was a Lovecraft/horror theme and went quite nicely. The second was a scifi/mad science theme, and while the puzzles worked well, I felt like it was missing the Halloween element.
If I do one again this year, I'd be happy to have it be nightmare inducing. Perhaps something that even though people can escape the room, there is something unfinished and maybe they've got a spirit following them home. And hopefully have some good jump scares built into the puzzle solving.

It's been nice having a short story or such to serve as a loose scenario for puzzle room. Anyone have suggestions of something that might work?
The way how escape rooms presented the story line is what makes them worth. I played Dream Weaver in Tampa and it was such a great experience. The environment, scenery, locations everything was epic. What I like the best about escape room is that it is a great team building activity if you do it with your colleagues.

imagineescape.com/dreamweaver
 
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