Escape rooms are bursting onto the scene, and for a good reason: They are fun! Many are now creating escape rooms in their very own homes as an addition to a Halloween, birthday or novelty/geek party. Though the initial idea of creating an escape room might be daunting at first, the truth of the matter is that they are very simple and inexpensive to create. To help give you a running start, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions to inspire you. You’ll find that for the most part, creating a home-based escape room game can be fun for everyone involved, and surprisingly inexpensive.
Think of a Plot or Theme
For a great escape room adventure, you need to tell a good, simple story. A good story creates a purpose for the escape room. All of the clues, cues, and objects will be centered around finding a resolution to the plot, which is also your way out of the room. If you feel you aren’t that creative with plots, simply visit one of the many online sites that list plot lines some writers use for ideas.
Many people simply create an escape room game based on a favorite film, television series, book or video game. Another great place to look for ideas is conspiracy websites. Yes, that’s right, conspiracy websites. These sites often contain strange and odd ‘prophesies,’ that run the full gamut from silly to odd yet intriguing. The perfect place to create an escape room revolving around a mad scientist or escaping a cult. As long as you have a solid plot and the props to back it up, you and yours are in for a very entertaining experience.
Consider the Ages of Participants
It’s a good idea to map out a basic plan, and part of that is considering how old the participants will be. If it’s for kids, then you need to make certain that the escape room won’t be very dark or scary. It also needs to have puzzles which are easy enough so that they offer fun, not a frustration for the little ones to solve. If this is for adults, then feel free to go all out with your theme. If it is a mix of adults and kids, then include puzzles which are challenging for the adults to solve and easier ones for the kids.
Select the Room and Supplies
This depends on the layout of your home, but for the most part, the basement or garage is perfect. Make sure to remove any hazardous items and supplies such as paints and tools.Shopping for supplies is the fun part. No need to go for anything expensive simply hit up the closest thrift store, and look for some interesting pieces which may fit in the scenario. Since thrift store items are so cheap, you won’t be too concerned if you have to rig up puzzles which include drilling holes, attaching locks or even repainting items to camouflage them, making them harder to locate in the dark.
As for locks, you can keep costs down by heading to your local dollar store to pick up some simple bike locks. Dollar stores may also have lock and key style diaries where you can store important notes leading to clues, or inexpensive jewelry boxes which come with a lock and key. If you are a computer geek, consider setting up a terminal and have people figure out a puzzle or riddle, which unlocks a few clues here and there. You may also consider using high tech locking mechanisms, especially if your theme is futuristic. If you visit thrift stores and have a ‘make do and mend’ philosophy, your costs for creating your escape room will be minimal.
The Importance of ‘Purpose’
For your escape room to be immersive and provide the best experience possible, a good sense of purpose is very important. This means that your theme or plot initiates the purpose of the room, and the objects you choose to fuel it. Every object that you use should have a purpose to it, from the pictures on the wall to the patterns in the rugging. Each object leads the players to the next, and the next until they can escape the room. Avoid digressing at all costs. If you create some pieces, clues, or hints, that stray from the theme of the game, you have lost purpose and risk people either not caring or hurrying up just to get out of the room.
Quality of the Puzzles
If you come home from the Dollar store with a bag full of locks, thinking that the act of unlocking boxes will be a fun escape room experience, think again. People enjoy figuring things out, so include clues and puzzles which make them think. For instance, say you have an abstract wall painting that has three triangles in it. Make the players figure out what those triangles mean, and how they’ll guide them to the next object. If you want, you may include timers with each puzzle. Countdown timers enhance the tension and anticipation of the puzzle. Remember you’re going for a cognitive/sensory experience, so emotions like ‘tense’ and ‘anticipation’ work in your favor. Finally, don’t make every puzzle hard or easy. Instead, have a good mix of varying levels of difficulty and intensity.
We’re about to present a few puzzle ideas found in many escape rooms. But remember, you are in no way limited to these suggestions. Instead, allow them to get your creative juices flowing, let them inspire you to create even better puzzles. Don’t forget, if you are a master of high tech, please feel free to incorporate your ingenuity in the escape room game.
One form of puzzle is the hidden object. What’s fun about this is that you can make it as creative as you want. Place a cassette with instructions in a hollowed out book, or use a black light to reveal clues on an object. Speaking of light, light is an inexpensive way to add mystery to a game as well as for clues, such as writing out hints which glow in the dark. Other puzzle ideas include riddles, sound, mirrors, paintings, rugs, mazes and much, much more.
As you can see, creating your own escape room game can be a satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Once you find the perfect theme, simply visit local thrift shops to find interesting objects to turn into clues, hints, cues, and puzzles. Remember your friendly, neighborhood dollar store when it comes to purchasing additional props, or simply re-purpose a few old, Halloween decorations. As long as you have a theme with a purpose, and the props, clues, and puzzles to back up that purpose you should be well on your way to creating the perfect, home-based escape room game.
Number One Escape Room has provided these tips of creating your own homemade escape room from their own experience in making them. Check out their website and location here for some inspiration:
Number One Escape Room Las Vegas
1775 E Tropicana Ave Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA