Your Cart
Item added Item updated Item removed No more products on stock You entered wrong value.

No products in the cart.

Find a kit

5 DIY Escape Room Riddle Ideas that Intrigue and Delight

Behold, the Codex of Mystery! These long-lost secrets will help you craft enchanting riddles for your escape room game, the easy way.
Show me the riddles
Or, grab a template pack
Shirley jones scarab beetle
Just follow this simple spellbook to maximize your creative powers, and craft clever riddles you can be proud of!

You've Finally Found the Secret Sauce!

Good news adventurer, your search ends here.

A fun riddle is the perfect way to add that little something extra that your diy escape room game is missing.

You see, riddles for escape rooms are a super rare combination of theatricality and outside-of-the-box thinking. They work to immerse your players in the theme of your game (cool themes are important!), while generating even more "aha moments" that are uniquely satisfying.

In short, riddles add a layer of pure, simple fun to your escape room.

Doesn't that sound like the secret sauce you've been looking for?
Winning at Escape Room Z

Get started with these handy quick-start templates:

Just enter your email below , and we'll send you a FREE escape room builder's kit, complete with templates to make your own escape room riddles and puzzles.

But First! Some Best Practice Tips & Tricks.
How to Use Riddles for Escape Rooms:

Working together to solve the Lost Mummy
The very first thing you need to know is, use riddles sparingly! Your escape room shouldn't have more than two or three well-crafted riddles. Any more, and you risk leaving your players bored and burnt out... and that's no fun! One of the keys to good escape room design is including a variety of puzzles, tasks, and challenges (that's Key #9, to be specific). This means that riddles should only be a small part of your game.

According to the High Wizards, there are generally two ways that riddles are used in escape rooms:

1. Use riddles as clues. For particularly challenging puzzles, you can leave a riddle or two in your room to help point players in the right direction. For example, you could write a riddle on the wall to help players connect a coded message with the key. Or, bring the missing piece needed for a cipher puzzle, like one of these. In this case, solving the riddle isn't necessary to complete your escape room, but it will help!

2. Transform your riddle into a puzzle. The easiest way to do this is to simply use the answer to your riddle as a passphrase for a door, or alphabetic lock.  But of course, there are sooo many different escape room puzzles out there (just check out this list for a start!), so the options are limited only by your creativity!

Whichever way you decide to polymorph your riddle into a puzzle, just make sure that you clearly link the riddle with the 'problem' using proximity and/or visual clues. 

(For example, the answer to your riddle could provide the password for a computer lock screen. You could write your riddle on a post-it and tack it to the screen. Or maybe print your riddle as a memo, with the heading "Daily Password Reset".)

The Best DIY Escape Room Riddle Ideas:


The Enigma - What am I? A classic!

Three eyes have I, all in a row. When my red one opens, no one can go. What am I?
[A traffic light]
It's an age-old classic, beloved by trickster fairies and bridge trolls alike!

An enigma is a riddle that makes heavy use of metaphors and similies to paint a picture.
They describe specific attributes of an object in surprising, contrasting, and unusual ways in an attempt to trick the reader. In addition, this kind of riddle is often told from the object's point of view, and will often end with the question, 'what am I?'.

But no matter how cryptically the riddle is described, it will always 'make sense'. To solve an enigma, you need to make logical connections between the clues in the riddle, and the solution. 

For your escape room, make sure that the solution to your enigma is a real object. It's much harder to solve a riddle for 'existentialism' than 'a clock'. You can also use props and images in your room to hint at the solution (or throw your players off-track, if you're really that cruel).
Dressing up to play the Envy murder mystery escape room kit

The Conundrum - a pundamental riddle

All trees are useful. But what type of tree is the most handy?
[A palm tree]
Great for fans of groan-worthy puns... but not always perfect for escape rooms. Proceed with caution.

Conundrums rely on puns, double-meanings, and tricky wordplay to deliver an unexpected answer to a silly or mundane question. Some are well-crafted word puzzles that make sense... but most feel more like a joke than a riddle!

This emphasis on wordplay means that often, there isn't a logical connection between the clues in the riddle and the solution. As a result, solving a conundrum can feel hollow, unsatisfying, and frustrating!

If you must use this kind of riddle in your escape room, make sure that you lean into the wordplay aspect, and treat it more like a word puzzle. Make it clear that the focus of this riddle is on the words themselves, and not on any logical answer to the question.

To help poke your players in the right direction, you can use props and images in your room to hint at the solution. In this case, coconuts, hammocks, beach scenes, or even a palm frond would work well.
[SOLUTION: Jane is the killer. The house is circular, so she couldn't have been sweeping the corners!]

Observational Riddle. The game is afoot!

<< Check out this image for a fun example <<
This riddle makes you feel like Sherlock himself. How? It's elementary...

Observational riddles present you with a scenario (usually a murder, but not always). They include a list of details designed to distract you from the one, important detail that will solve the riddle. Usually, this detail will be an inconsistency, a lie, or a direct consequence of the solution.

To solve this riddle, you need to notice that small detail, and make a logical connection between that detail and the solution... basically, you need to play detective!

In order to work in an escape room, the answer to an observational riddle has to be a very specific word or phrase (this way, it can easily be used as a passcode). The details must also be crystal clear. If your players need to ask clarifying questions, then the riddle is too vague.

For the creative game master, observational riddles can be a fantastic tool to 'show, not tell'. Instead of writing the riddle, you can recreate the scenario with props and posters. This way, players can become detectives, and pick out the details themselves!
[Looks like words can sound like numbers... if you want a crack at this puzzle, you'll need to download Escape Room Z.]

Leave Something Out of Place

<< Check out this image for a fun example from Escape Room Z <<
One of these things is not like the others...

This kind of riddle uses inconsistencies and 'supposed' errors to convey information. Players are intended to spot the inconsistency, and then be directed to a specific train of thought that helps them to solve another puzzle. 

For example, a 'spelling error' can point out the multiple ways to look at words, or differences between photos can draw attention to certain objects.

Of course, this doesn't work as a standalone riddle. However, it's a great way to sneak extra clues into your diy escape room in a way that adds to the immersiveness of your theme.
[SOLUTION: Did you get it? They're ordered from least syllables to most - 12, 7, 34, 27.]

The Ol' Switcheroo

<< Can you wrap your head around this example? <<
A favorite amongst devious puzzle masters!

'The switcheroo' is a riddle that intentionally misleads players (more than usual, anyway). Usually presented as a brainteaser, it plays on the player's assumptions to trick them into mistaking the very nature of the riddle.

For example, the riddle might make extensive use of numbers, leading players to try and solve it with math, when in reality, the key to the riddle relies on how those numbers sound.

It's all a mind-bending play on your perception, so solving this kind of riddle requires you to step back, and use outside-of-the-box thinking. Just make sure you have a hint or two handy in case your players have a hard time jumping their mental tracks!

What's next? Time to craft your riddle!
This FREE download makes it easy.

Bring your riddle idea to life with this step-by-step guide and template pack.
Just drop your email in below, and we'll send it to you for free.

How to Make Your Own Riddle:
Step 1 - Research

Creativity is the hardest magic you'll ever master. So give yourself a hand by getting into the right headspace.

Filling your head with well-written riddles, puzzles, and rhymes will make it easier to be hit by sudden flashes of creative inspiration.

So dive deep into the internet archives, read up on riddles to familiarise yourself with their general sound, structure, and 'feel'. And make sure to note down any fun rhymes/examples you could steal for your own riddles!

Of course... you need an escape room to put your riddle in! So if you haven't started making one yet, this guide will help you out.

Step 2 - Start With the Answer

The quality of your escape room riddle will depend on its logical connection to the answer, not how well it rhymes.

So, start from the end and work backward.

Choose an object, phrase or keyword that will matter to the game world that you've created. Then, we'll work on crafting a riddle around that word. 

Picking a fun-sounding word, or one with multiple meanings will make it a little easier to be creative down the road. But don't worry, you can pick anything. What's important is that it makes sense inside your escape room. 

At this stage, it might also help to know the kind of escape room puzzle you're going to use with your riddle. Here's a handy list to reference. This will make it easier to pin down exactly the kind of answer you'll need to create.

There's more detail in this quickstart guide.

Starting to feel lost? No worries, we've got you covered. Just download this FREE builder's kit for a detailed, step-by-step walkthrough. Plus, you get a bunch of handy templates that make crafting your first escape room riddle a breeze!

Step 3 - Brainstorm Up a... Storm!


Make a looong list of related words

This list will help inspire your creativity, as well as give you something to draw on when you inevitably bump into writer's block.

Use questions like these to come up with your starting list of words:

What words can you use to describe your answer? What are it's characteristics?

If it's an object, what does your answer look like? (e.g, 'broccoli' looks like little trees... but why are you making a riddle about broccoli?!). What does it do, what is it used for?

Spend 30-seconds listing out all the words that immediately come to mind when you think of your answer. Don't overthink it, just freely associate, and see where it takes you!

Branch out with synonyms

Synonyms are words that mean the same thing. E.g, 'shut' and 'close'.

Take a look at your list, and try to think of similar words that can convey the same meaning. A thesaurus might help here. 

However, don't feel confined to strictly 'correct' synonyms. Try to come up with some 'slang synonyms'. For example, you can use 'magical' or 'enchanting' to mean 'fun'.

Add all of these synonyms to your word list.

Think like your answer

Try and describe the world from your answer's point of view.

How does it see its environment? How does it interact with the things around it? What sort of personality could you see your answer taking on?

This will help personify your answer, and can dig up even more words you can add to your handy list. It will also help you pin down what sort of puzzle to attach to your riddle, so you'll want to keep this list handy.

Step 4 - Write Your Riddle *gulp*

Yes, this part is hard... but I believe in you!

Grab your handy word list, a few examples of fun riddles to reference, and a whole cauldron of coffee. It's go-time!

Unfortunately, there's no shortcut here. You'll probably write a few bad riddles before you stumble across something that you like. But that's ok. Feel free to experiment and make mistakes. You can take the lessons you learn, and refine them into a riddle you can be proud of.

To make your riddle sound extra cryptic, you can use poetic tools like:

   • Metaphors and similes. This means using imagery (e.g, still as water) and direct comparison (e.g, like a brick wall) to paint a picture. 

   • Onomatopoeia. These are 'sound' words (e.g, 'buzz').

   • Rhyme or alliteration. These are classic riddle tools but don't feel forced into rhyming. Lots of great riddles don't rhyme at all!

Step 5 - Share. Revise. Repeat.

Laughing while playing Lost Mummy
Chances are, your first riddle won't be very good. And that's ok... unless you don't know how bad it truly is!

This is why it's important to test your riddle before adding it to your escape room game. So, gather up your most brutally honest friends (or a horde of escape goblins), and let them have a crack at it.

Look for how long it takes people to solve your riddle. If it takes much more than 10 minutes, it might be too difficult for an escape room.

Also, watch their reactions. Does the answer make them smile because it's a satisfying logical connection? Or does it frustrate them because it comes out of nowhere?

You might have to go back to the drawing board multiple times but trust me, it's worth it. Nothing spoils a great escape game like a bad riddle... except maybe an escape goblin with a magic wand!

Need a hand? Grab this free template pack.

You don't need to do this alone. The builder's kit makes it easy to craft your first riddle, with all the detailed guides and handy templates you'll ever need! 
Just pop in your email below, and I'll send it to you for free.

Now Savor the Win, Clever Riddle Master!

Boom! Crushed it!

Riddles are seriously hard work, but you put in the effort and mastered the cryptic arts. Well done!

Now's the time to incorporate your riddles into a one-of-a-kind escape room experience. Riddles for escape rooms add a whole lot of intrigue to your game, and a spicy variety that keeps it feeling fresh.

If you're a new escape room craftsman, the best way to get started is to pick up the Escape Room Masterclass. It's got all the tips, tricks, and handy templates you'll need for making your very first game.

Or... you can skip all the hard work by grabbing a printable escape room kit. They're all 100% customizable, so you get total freedom and super sweet artwork to play with!
Laughing playing a printable escape room game

Skip the Work and Play Right Now With a Printable Escape Room Kit:

Graffiti arrow down decal
Rebel revolt spy kit half
Rebel Revolt (Spy Mission)
Teen parties (14+)
Treasonous spy mission to take down a government facility.
4+ Players
Show me
Envy escape room box half logo
Envy (Murder Mystery)
Adult Parties 
1920's Gatsby-style murder mystery of debaucherous luxury.
4+ Players
Show me
Escape room z half
Escape Room Z (Zombies!)
Adult Parties
Comical zombie thriller with a deadly splash of infectious z-virus.
4+ Players
Show me
Frost escape box half
Frost (Magical Quest)
Kids parties
Can your kids help the magical forest Wisp in time?
Ages 8-12
Show me
Lost mummy kit half
Lost Mummy (Adventure!)
Kids School Parties
Unearth Egypt's ancient secrets in the Lost Mummy.
Ages 10+
Show me
Escape Quest half
Escape Quest (Time Travel)
Younger kids parties
Fix the time machine using relics from across the ages.
Ages 6-9
Show me


Save massive $$ by grabbing a whole box of escape kits:
  • Kids escape room box
    KIDS BOX $49
    4x Escape Room Kits
    Lost Mummy
    Rebel Revolt
    Escape Quest
    Bonus: Treasure Map Pack
    Show Me


  • spooktacular-halloween-box-600x300
    4x Escape Room Kits
    Escape Room Z
    Lost Mummy
    Rebel Revolt
    Bonus: Halloween posters
    Bonus: Xtra Games + Puzzles
    Bonus: Treasure Map pack
    Show Me


  • VIP escape kits tmb
    VIP BOX $99
    All our Escape Room Kits (6x)
    5x kids edu-venture games
    VIP early access to games
    Envy, Lost Mummy,
    Escape Room Z, Rebel Revolt, Escape Quest,  & Frost
    Treasure Map pack
    Skulls Card Game
    Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas packs
    Lifetime FREE copies of all future games. Boom!
    Show Me


Kids escape room box
4x Escape Room Kits for
Lost Mummy
Rebel Revolt
Escape Quest
Bonus: Treasure Map Pack
Show Me


4x Escape Room Kits
Escape Room Z
Lost Mummy
Rebel Revolt
Bonus: Skulls Card Game
Show Me


Our Biggest Box
All our escape kits (6x)
Envy, Lost Mummy,
Escape Room Z, Rebel Revolt, Escape Quest & Frost
VIP early access to games
5x kids edu-venture games
Valentine's, Halloween, Thanksgiving, & Christmas packs
Bonus: Treasure Map pack
Bonus: Skulls Card Game
Lifetime FREE copies of all future games. Boom!
Show Me


Copyright © 2023 Lock Paper Scissors Publishing.
Claim your free escape room kit
This DIY blueprint has the building blocks you'll need to get started, find puzzles, and CRUSH IT:
Post your party on our Facebook
If you enjoyed your escape room kit we'd love you to share a photo of your night as a Facebook review: