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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

My husband and I went to our first escape room last weekend - we had a great time! Now we are thinking of ideas to add one inside our garage for our halloween party.

Typically they are a 60 minute thing - we won't have enough time to run hour long rooms. We were thinking of something around 30 minutes long.

Has anyone done anything like this? Have any advice or ideas?

Thanks in Advance!
 

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My Son (An Adult) went to several escape rooms. They were VERY TRICKY! Micro-switches hidden in odd locations had to be found and activated via clues that sounded to me to also , usually be very tricky!
The talent required to build the special devices and the time required to create such items doesn't seem minimal to me at all.
The Escape room was in Des Moines, Iowa, area.
Of course several huge variations on theme and effort might all go under the same title of Escape Room. just like "Haunted House"!
 

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I turned my haunted house into one last years on November 1st and gave people 8 minutes to find the key to the door to get out... It was a lot of fun...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My Son (An Adult) went to several escape rooms. They were VERY TRICKY! Micro-switches hidden in odd locations had to be found and activated via clues that sounded to me to also , usually be very tricky!
The talent required to build the special devices and the time required to create such items doesn't seem minimal to me at all.
The Escape room was in Des Moines, Iowa, area.
Of course several huge variations on theme and effort might all go under the same title of Escape Room. just like "Haunted House"!
My husband and I went to an Escape Room and they had a lot of locks - treasure chests and things to open in order to find the key to get out. We were thinking of doing something similar to what we saw there.

I turned my haunted house into one last years on November 1st and gave people 8 minutes to find the key to the door to get out... It was a lot of fun...
That does sound like a lot of fun! Our only fear is that someone would tell the secret and spoil it for everyone else.
 

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Some people will not be able to Not tell everything they know.
On the flip-side of this it will be free advertising making more people aware of what you have to offer.
When it comes to Haunted Entertainment people's minds can become very distracted from the actual experience, maybe they romanitcize it somewhat, which can also be a good thing unless the "Fantastic" un-doable fills their anticipations and then... we can only.. fail them.
I discovered that 25 years of working on my Haunt trying to create a totally engrossing experience here was still Not enough for a certain few critics, although I did manage to convince them eventually that the house was worth the admission price.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Some people will not be able to Not tell everything they know.
On the flip-side of this it will be free advertising making more people aware of what you have to offer.
When it comes to Haunted Entertainment people's minds can become very distracted from the actual experience, maybe they romanitcize it somewhat, which can also be a good thing unless the "Fantastic" un-doable fills their anticipations and then... we can only.. fail them.
I discovered that 25 years of working on my Haunt trying to create a totally engrossing experience here was still Not enough for a certain few critics, although I did manage to convince them eventually that the house was worth the admission price.
Yeah. I understand. I am still new to this whole experience - my husband has a couple years under his belt that he did his thing growing up for his friends, so we just want to have fun with our friends who will be attending. Hopefully one day we can charge a price and turn this little party into a real big ordeal and make it into our own business. That is our long term goal. For now, its trial and error and just having fun with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay.. My husband and I have decided to do an Escape Room in the Garage. This is the opening background information.

Please leave any ideas, edits or comments. We encourage all feedback. We haven't decided completely on the time allowed. We are still in the process of coming up with decor ideas and lock/treasure codes/clues. We dressed up as pirates last year so this is what made the decision to go with a pirate theme in the Escape Room. We will have two skeletons dressed up in the costumes - We are running into a creative block - they took refuge in a hotel but what is keeping them in there? .. How did they get locked in there.. This is where I am questioning the authenticity of the story. It doesn't make complete sense to me.


"You and your friends were lost at sea when suddenly a battle started between your ship (The Bloody Shame) and Blackbeard and his pirates - The Bloody Shame was sunk - luckily your ship had a get-a-way boat. You and your friends escape to a near by port called Clew Bay in Ireland. You seek shelter in a nearby hotel called Pirates Cove the goal is to get out before Blackbeard finds you and makes you and your friends walk the plank - the X marks the spot (the x will be on the last treasure - key/passcode to get out. You have 30 - 45 minutes - time starts now."
 

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Your run away" fugitive Pirates in-hiding" could work this way: Every few minutes of the "Escape" one of you could knock on the locked door and give them a reading on how close their former Captain is NOW to arriving upon their door,to then be shooting it apart with a small-portable cannon.
False alarms could be given when the Capt. is close but can't decipher the address on the house, in the dark, buying them more time within the panic.
Then just as he is finally at the door, the Police patrol comes along and he has to step into the shadows as they make their appointed rounds...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmm.. Gives me a couple ideas. Not sure about the whole cannon part.. But its got my creative mind flowing. Thank you!
 

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we've done a couple halloween escape rooms now, here's one
http://www.halloweenforum.com/party-ideas-experiences-and-recipes/140276-lovecraft-puzzle-room.html

they're fun. You can't fit a lot in a half hour though. Once you have some puzzles arranged, get some people do a trial run and see how long it takes, and what works and what doesn't work. Decor adds to the experience, but stuff that isn't involved in the puzzle can be distracting. If you want to keep things moving, plan for a way to give hints.

Also, our participants seemed like they had the same sense of accomplishment whether they solved and easy puzzle or a hard one. The stuff that had the most impact was the results that were unexpected. We had great reactions when they connected the wire between the last pin on the map and the secret panel popped open. Or when they found the right potion bottle and the candles started blinking out codes. And when found the right recipe and a glowing liquid got dispensed into their sprayer, and then when they sprayed that the lights flickered out and a monster showed up a the window.
 

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From the things i have heard about Escape Rooms, I bet a more "intellectual" crowd will usually be partaking, which might be advantageous in some respects, not so good in another.
If you create all of your own Escape you might be ready for some criticism whether it is warranted or not. almost everybody needs to be seen as a smart, intellectual person. If and when you "stump" some people they will not be happy and may become hyper-critical now saying how stupid the whole thing was (because they couldn't figure it out, of course.)
How to create a mind game in which someone can win but not make too easy to win, is always a real trick.Some egos are very fragile.
I used to have Murder Mysteries here. Creating a game in which the mind is always so involved (and wants to play) will always be fairly tricky.
My Murder Mystery had to be easy enough to solve, but not too easy and the level of applied "Smarts" brought to the night's playing field may vary incredibly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, its been a couple weeks -- We have had a lot going on here at home but now that the 4th is over, we are back in full swing of getting things ready for our Escape Room. Today my husband got this done.. We are going to get some black insulation boards to enclose it in.. but this was a big start in getting bolts and screws in place, and figuring out exactly where in our garage we were placing the walls. So, I am feeling a bit better about getting this whole thing done. :)

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13646939_10153800000606243_566449476_o.jpg
 

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Yes!!

Ready for this post? haha.. my husband and kid are sleeping and I have nothing but time now ;) (That being said, it’s 1:30am… so who knows how much sense this will all make!)

First off, I absolutely love that you guys are doing this!! I think because this is just going to be for your friends attending your party (at least for this year!) it’s going to be amazing no matter what and if anybody complains you should just kick them in the pants. :D

I’m pretty sure I’m in the double digits for the amount of escape rooms i’ve done and I can’t see this new addiction slowing down anytime soon… :) (I’ve also made a couple really low key mini versions for some day camps with just using what available space/supplies we had - nothing fancy like you guys are building!)

Out of all the professional rooms we’ve done there are definitely some that are cooler than others (like the other members were saying, certain things you touch/do trigger secret doors etc…) and some tend to be more fun depending on theme & props… but the thing my “team” of friends agree on most is that they’re always pretty satisfying (even if you don’t escape) if you were at least on the right track and things were mostly making sense. (For example, don’t have 5 randomly placed red dots on the wall and expect somebody to know that they’re supposed to clap their hands 5 times without any indication.) I know that everyone is different, but our team loves it when you get to find stuff… like a random key hiding somewhere, or pieces of paper in a trash can that you have to put together to figure out a particular code or the next step… or a box with a lock on it so you KNOW you have to find a key/combo but you just don’t have it yet.

When I think "Halloween, Pirates & Hotels" I sort of get an Antique type of vibe in my mind, so I guess that’s what my ideas will be based on. If you’re able to build micro-switches then I say go for it!! But if you’re anything like me…. you know nothing about that stuff… so i’ll put some ideas that I think might be do-able but still create some “wow” factor. I have no idea what type of budget/crafting ability you guys are working with or what sort of puzzles you’d like to have, but here are a few ideas:

- Make sure you have some rules! Tell them what things they shouldn’t do “kicking down walls, prying open things that don’t open easily on their own, don’t touch the skeletons etc…) Even though most “friends” should know this… it’s probably good to remind them. :)

- Have some sort of background music playing ~ I find it really helps set the scene/mood! (Even if it’s as simple as ocean waves crashing or something like that) - with a quick google search I found this website i’ve never heard of with random sound clips! https://www.pond5.com/music/1/pirate.html Unfortunately it looks like you have to pay (and they’re not cheap) but at least it gives a few ideas for what you might be able to find somewhere else! :) If you can find something that’s able to just loop over and over so you don’t have to worry about restarting it every time new people try the room that would make like easier on you!)

- Have a variety of different types of locks: I just went to the Dollarama (Canada) i’m not exactly sure who you guys have in the USA) but having key locks, combination locks, word locks etc... makes it seem like you’re accomplishing lots of tasks. (And it’s fun to build clues around the different types of locks.) I was looking on Amazon the other day and they have some super cool looking ones!

https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Cabinet-Suitcase-Password-Combination/dp/B013U6JMMM/ref=sr_1_132?s=hardware&ie=UTF8&qid=1468306848&sr=1-132&keywords=locks

https://www.amazon.com/Jewelry-Drawer-Vintage-Carved-Padlock/dp/B01114Y2P2/ref=pd_sim_60_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51a3KE9X-jL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=BD8JW9WNB1P2ZCT50KGT

- Maybe because you’re building walls you could have a little cut out (like a quarter sized peep hole - big enough to see into, but not be able to get into/mess up) and then on the wall on the side they’re locked in - put a framed piece of art over top of it (or something of that sort). At some point your groups will figure out they have to take off the frame and look into the hole to find their next clue/code. But maybe to make it even a little more exciting you could have a small flashlight hidden in the room somewhere and they’ll only be able to see the clue in the hole if they figure out that they need to use the flashlight and shine it in there! (This would be sort of cool because even if they pulled off the frame from “snooping around” trying to find things, they wouldn’t necessarily know that there’s anything in the small hole until they get a clue to says otherwise) I also think if you do this… you should totally decorate whatever they’re looking into… Maybe when they look in there’s a big pile of these http://www.orientaltrading.com/pirate-coins-a2-42_4011.fltr?prodCatId=90000+1305 and then a word that corresponds to a word lock that’s somewhere in the room (or something like that… i’m sure you get the point ;)

- Use a dim light (maybe in a lamp or something) to light the room with. Or……… have a lamp…..that you’re able to turn off from the outside…and maybe one of the first puzzles they solve opens a box/cupboard that has one or two of these in it: http://www.spirithalloween.com/product/props/bronze-lantern-decorations/pc/0/c/0/sc/1034/972.uts?currentIndex=288&thumbnailIndex=295 and once you know they found them you can turn off the lamp and then they’re stuck using only the lanterns to light their way

- Use one of those fake books that are actually a storage box to hide things in. This is super fun if they’re on a bookshelf of sorts or a small stack with other real books to make it look more real and they’ll have to snoop in it to find something.

- If it’s a drinking party… and your "hotel room" has a desk or table of some sort in it, you could line up some jello shots (so they won’t spill) in those little paper cups, and then on top of the table but under the shot cup have a letter/number/clue that will point them in the right direction.. so….lets say you have a 4 digit pad lock… if you have 4 jello shots lined up - under each cup have a different number - hopefully they notice once they each pick up a shot that there’s numbers under there and will find the first lock to open. (Really, they wouldn't _have_ to do the shot, but they would still have to pick up the cup.) You could even say “bottoms up” when you’re locking them in haha… (If you write the numbers directly on the table then you don’t have to write numbers on the bottom of a million shot cups and make sure to put them in the right order every time)

- You could get some little bags like this http://www.orientaltrading.com/pirate-drawstring-bags-with-jewels-a2-20_283.fltr?prodCatId=90000+1305 and then put different coloured gems in each one to correspond with a lock combination: ex. if the code is 4526 have one bag that has 4 yellow gems, one bag with 5 red gems etc...

- Seems how it’s a pirates cove hotel…. maybe there could be a "message in a bottle” clue? (as in… there’s literally a piece of paper in a bottle that they have to open up and read) Or it could be a piece of a map or note.. and they’ll eventually find the other pieces so that they can put them together to solve another puzzle

- Think of some sort of puzzle that can be solved using a compass… (make sure you have a compass to use.. haha)

- Tattoo Parlour: Make something fun like this but make sure that you have 26 different “tattoos”. Your tattoos now represent the alphabet…… you could even be nice and below a couple of the tattoos you could write the corresponding letter of the alphabet. Then, somewhere else (on a paper, on a wall) have a secret message that they have to decode by matching the proper tattoos to the proper letter of the alphabet (Skull = A, Snake = B, Pumpkin = C)
Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.35.40 am.jpg

- Treasure Chest Sand Box! Have clues or a key of some sort hidden in a treasure chest full of sand! Make sure to fill it with fake bugs for extra fun. :) You could make up some riddle to do with a key so they know it’s in there somewhere

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.15 am.jpg



- These invisible ink pens are pretty awesome! https://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Ink-Pen-Black-Light/dp/B00408DT5Q When you press the button on the side they shine black light like a flash light. You could have a hotel menu or something in the room but there’s a secret message or code written with the invisible ink on it! The groups could eventually find the flashlight/pen and have to figure out what in the room will glow when they use it to find the next clue.

- I found it really helped to write down almost every step they’ll be doing.
“1. Take shot - get code for lock on box1
2. Box1 (word combo lock box -CANDY is password) has mini black light to find clue on the white calendar”
3. Clue on calendar has blahblalblahbalh….”

Trust me… you’ll think you remember everything but you won’t… haha I also found different colored key chains at the dollar store so that I could write down exactly what color keychain went with which lock. (this makes re-setting the room way easier)

- Hint chips? Some of the escape rooms i’ve been to allow you to have two hints. You have to ring a doorbell (or sometimes they’re high tech enough you can just ask out loud because they’re watching/listening to everything you do on cameras) I’ve also been to a place that hides specific “hint” tokens and you have to find them to be able to use them.

- Like hhh said, do a trial run! Make sure everything works, everything makes sense, that you have the right keys for everything.

-remember the re-set up time! I’m not sure how many people you plan on inviting, but I guess keep that in mind and the group size that you’ll let them go in with. You’ll have to re-lock everything, move things back to their places (potentially replace jello shots ;) ) It probably won’t take _that_ much time, but you’ll want to make sure everything goes right back where it needs to be.

- If you’re into giving prizes away at your parties you could always have prizes for the teams with the best time, worst time, no hints used..

- I guess for way in the future if you do plan on charging for it you’ll want to make sure you have doubles of all the things that could possibly get wrecked and all the locks and stuff… if one thing happens to break and it’s very specific to the hint or lock then it could potentially wreck the whole room if you don’t have an exact back up ready.

I think that’s all I have energy for right now, but i’m sure i’ll be back with more ideas if you want them. :) It's pretty hard to NOT talk about the room you just did right after trying it so i'm not sure if you can somehow separate the guests who have and haven't done it yet so that there aren't any spoilers..but hopefully after if you just remind them to try not to talk about it that will help. (You could always give them a few mins to talk about it right in the room before you let the next group in.)

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. I hope you keep posting pictures. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Kerimonster - Thanks for the long response! It is definitely welcomed any other information you would like to provide from your experience in all your escape rooms!

My husband and I have only done 4. We didn't escape in two but they were REALLY hard.

We are going the route of more simple style props key/combo locks. Im not into all the technical stuff so making things that would trigger something to fall or move or light up isn't my forte. My husband could, but he is consumed making some other big things for the rest of our yard and such. So - maybe next year we could consider doing something like that for the escape room.

We are definitely getting a list of rules! Just to remind them of not to break things, and how to operate some of the locks.

I was definitely thinking of background music - I was thinking of playing Pirates of the Caribbean in the back ground - but I think I will find something different.. Maybe the sound of waves or even the sounds from boat ports .. Not sure.. Still deciding.

Those locks on amazon are so cool!! Thanks for the link!

We do have plans on cutting a hole in the wall but for the operator to bang on the inside of the cabinet door - kind of a little stressor..

I also have plans of using lanterns but not sure in what way.. I know one that we have is broken and is merely for decoration.. but my mom has some she said we could use - so I might consider that idea of putting them in a chest and using only that light.. Im not sure I can deactivate the light in the garage though.. :eek:

We are working on making our own book with the storage area in the inside of it.. I am going to craft the outside of it to make it more "pirate-y" looking.

I do love the idea of the gems in the little bags. I didn't even think of anything like that!

I did think of the message in a bottle idea - but still working on that one.. Im kind of torn on what to put in it or whatnot.. Still figuring it out..

We are absolutely doing the sand box! This is the most exciting part for me. Lol. I just can't wait for this!

We do have the invisible ink pen and black light flash light.. So, we have plans on using it - this too is still a part we are figuring out.

We do have plans to watch the whole thing via camera in which you can hear and speak through and setting up a legend for what goes in which box and so forth. We plan on having a maximum of 5 people per iteration and giving time after for them to talk about it before going back around others. I have also considered doing it during the day before the night party because I don't want to miss out on it and that way they can come back at night and talk about it and not ruin it for anyone because there won't be any more going on.. Its something I will have to see about - and I also plan on having a sign up roster for those who want to do it - that way it will be a little easier to manage.

I definitely look forward to hearing from you again - with any info or ideas.. they are all welcomed!
 

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For background audio, try http://tabletopaudio.com/ A couple look appropriate to your theme, Docks District, Down by the Sea, Age of Sail.
It's a very low effort way to make the thing feel more immersive. With a bit more effort you could switch audio at different points in the game too.

We've spread our escape room out over multiple nights in order to fit more people through, but we do a second session after the party because we're working up till the last minute to get it ready for party day. We haven't really had an issue with people giving away solutions to people that haven't done it yet. If you budget time for after the game to walk people through all the puzzles (while you're doing the reset) you can also get most of their questions out of the way so they don't need to immediately discuss it.

Also, it can be fun to provide some space for the team that just completed the puzzle to be able to watch the next team do it. It'll give them time to chat and see what other people, and also give you time with your guests (depending on how much supervision of the room you were planning to do).

If you're trying to stick to a schedule and do signups, time your trial runs and reset procedure first. It will probably take longer than you think. And have a plan in mind to give timely hints if you want people to finish, or have a fun way to tell them that they've failed if they run out of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
hhh - Thank you for that link! Wonderful audio!! I was thinking about doing multiple nights for the escape room.. but, hadn't set my mind to doing anything like that. Maybe its something my husband and I could consider when it comes closer to time for the party.

I do plan on having someone watching and giving hints through out the hour.

Thank you for other advice! I really do appreciate it!
 

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Sooooo..... this has nothing to do with your room..... but I feel like you guys might appreciate it! :)

We went out of town this past weekend and decided to try an escape room in a difference city and am I ever glad we did!! We all started in 3 separate cages and had to figure out the key codes to press in order to get out and even though it was cool, that wasn't even the most fun part! In the 2nd of three rooms there was a science lab type of feel and a big huge coffin on a track that we could tell at some point would go into room #3. Well..... it turns out somebody had to get INTO the coffin, have the lid closed and then be pushed into room #3 in order to hop out and unlock the door for everyone else! HAhahhaha I went for a coffin ride. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow. I couldn't imagine having to do that.

We have gotten quite a bit further in our room - I will have to get some updated photos soon and tell you a little more of what we have been doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Holy Cow.. Its has been a while.. I have been so busy lately.. Unfortunately its not been with a whole lot of Halloween stuff.. But I will post an update soon!
 
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