Ultimate House Party: Escape Room
Ever been to that house party where everyone spent more time on Facebook than having fun?
Sure. We all have.
Boring people might shrug their shoulders and cite this lack of engagement as a natural side effect of living in a modern age.
But not you...
Instead, your inner Gatsby's hustled hard to uncover the ultimate soiree your friends will never forget.
What is it?
You're about to throw an Escape Room party.
Escape Room Party? Whaatt?
You'll be transforming a room in your house into a live game experience. It'll require fun puzzles, party games, mini challenges, and a swag of creative thinking.
Like any other house party, you can do them anywhere. If your living room doesn't work, try your yard, deck, workplace, basement, or dungeon.
Best of all they're ideal for most occasions – birthday or anniversary, baby or bridal shower, an informal gathering, a soirée, a shindig, or something in between. Just don't do it for a funeral; people won't like that.
Locking friends in my house?
Don’t worry, it's only slightly creepy. You’re not going to get charged with kidnapping here.
This is a just a game. Imagination plays a huge part in it.
If you’ve ever played role-playing games (no, not that kind of role playing), you can think of escape parties as a sort of offshoot of that. But guests don’t have to create characters or roll dice or know the difference between an elf and a brownie. And the game doesn’t last nearly as long (phew).
If you’ve ever been to a murder mystery party or dinner theater production, it’s also kind of like that. Except guests aren’t required to pretend to be anyone but themselves, and nobody has to jump up and yell anything embarrassing every time a specific cue is given.
They can have touches of Raiders of the Lost Ark, any James Bond film, a Stephen King novel, the latest movie about mummies, or your favorite television show about zombies ... you get the picture. It's a bit of all the awesome stuff in the world.
Blog reader, Nick Houghton, threw this epic escape party.
It's fun to design and plan
If you’ve ever played an escape room, you might be imagining trying to retrofit your garage or sun porch into an elaborate stage set with realistic props and high-tech triggers that open secret doors or activate laser mazes.
While nobody can deny that having a secret room hidden behind a bookcase in your house would be wicked cool, it’s not necessary to spend that kind of money and time to entertain your friends on a Saturday night.
The primary appeal of an escape room is solving puzzles and overcoming challenges – not special effects.
As a host, you’re really designing a fun party game. Your guests aren’t paying to play; they’re coming over to hang out, enjoy some snacks, and have a good time.
With that in mind, let's start planning your Ultimate Escape Party!
Short on time?
If you just want to 'get it done,' grab one of these ready-to-play escape room party kits. Just print the pack and add any props you like.
Choose a wacky theme
First, you introduce a simple narrative: Zombies are coming. Or, a murder has been committed . . . possibly by zombies.
You can use anything for inspiration. Maybe you hang around the water cooler every week recapping the most recent Game of Thrones episode. Or, your friends can't stop talking about Stranger Things. Or, perhaps your group just about had a coronary from excitement when FOX announced they were bringing Prison Break back.
You get the idea. Just find something your crew loves.
Whatever it is, this theme will help you establish the ultimate goal your players must work towards, whether that involves escaping or just finding the answer to a big question.
Once you’ve decided on a theme and a storyline, it's time to set up a series of challenges that move your party guests toward the big objective, give them a time limit, and let the fun begin!
Craft Fun puzzles & challenges
Developing a series of puzzles to challenge your house party guests is probably the most time-consuming – but also the most enjoyable – part of the process.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, just choose your favorite challenges from this list: 32 Escape Room Puzzles You Can Create At Home For $10.
Additionally, if you've ever played Uncharted or other puzzle games, flog a few ideas from your favorite levels.
Alternatively, if you're stuck for ideas, download any of these escape room kits. They're a complete game, full of puzzles and challenges, and come with a template so you can customize anything you like.
This is starting to sound complicated
It might sound that way, but actually staging your own escape game can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be.
Even when hosting a regular get-together, you know how much time and effort you want to put into party planning. This is no different.
Some people like to go all out and spend hours (sometimes even days) designing a scenario and putting together the materials to create an escape room. They visit thrift stores for props and costume pieces and create a truly immersive experience for their guests. This can be incredibly rewarding for both the host and the players who get to enjoy the final outcome.
But sometimes you want to do something fun and special, but you also have your day-to-day life to contend with, and you just don’t know if you can commit that kind of time. In that case, you can put together a pretty simple escape party in an afternoon, or you might want to check out Heist Escape Party’s ready-to-play escape party kits.
Who do I invite to my escape party?
This one is easy. Invite your friends! Or your coworkers. Or the people in your book club. Or those neighbors you know have been secretly wondering if your house has the same layout as theirs.
Obviously, there’s an ideal target audience for escape rooms. People who enjoy other types of games, particularly puzzles or logic games, tend to flock to room escape businesses to test their cognitive acuity against professional puzzle designers.
But really, just about everyone enjoys a group activity that involves a little storytelling, a little challenge, and some exciting “ah-ha” moments.
So invite your best mates or your favorite acquaintances. By the end of the game, everyone will be friends, and you’ll all have the perfect conversation starter as you sit down to enjoy wine and cheese, beer and pretzels, or cake and ice cream.
Get ready for your Ultimate House Party... Escape Style.
No matter what you do, or how you do it, you should be prepared for a ton of “Likes.” 😉
Unlike board games (and don’t get me wrong – I love board games), escape rooms get everyone up and moving around. People put down their phones and engage in real-life activities (well, as real as imagination-based game tasks can be). There’s curiosity and imagination and teamwork involved.
And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
And there are infinite ways to stage an escape party, all of which will be equally satisfying and enjoyable for everyone involved.
You could go all out with an escape room dinner party, complete with costumes, sound effects, and themed culinary dishes.
You could plan an escape birthday party for your kids.
You could design an escape adventure based on the novel your book club is currently discussing.
You could design a raucous escape scenario for your best mate’s bachelor party.
Or you could just integrate your creative escape scenario into your regular Friday game night.
Once you plan and implement an escape party, you may find you want to do it again and again. And your friends will likely want to try their hands at being game masters, as well.
And because there are so many possibilities, between themes and puzzles and objectives, there’s no reason they can’t!
Congratulations! You just became the best party host in your social circle.
Feels pretty great, doesn’t it?