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Spooktacular Halloween Escape Room Ideas

As we enter the breezy Autumn season, a universally exciting celebration is just around the corner. Whether it is the elaborate and imaginative costumes you enjoy creating/sourcing every year, the over-the-top Halloween-themed parties that take days to recover from that you love attending, or whether you just like to spot the spooky decorations that people put up outside and around their homes, there is no getting around the fact that Halloween is one of the most universally celebrated occasions in the UK and around the world. At Enigma Quests we build fantastic escape rooms, offering three thrilling rooms in East London. In this guide, we’ll look at how you can create your own brilliant Halloween escape room at home.

Why Do We Love Halloween So Much?

Halloween is widely believed to have originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which would see people lighting bonfires and warding off ghosts during “All Hallows Eve” taking place every 31st of October. The celebration has since evolved into events filled with people dressing up in costumes and going house to house asking for food or money, a practice that is known as the “trick or treat” tradition today. 

Altar of forest witch, Samhain pagan ritual. Birds skull, ashberry, acorns, dry herbs, pine bark among burning candles in the dark

In recent years, it has become an excellent outlet for creativity and self-expression for people looking to escape their routines. Dressing up in spooky costumes, often inspired by fictional (or even grossly exaggerated real-life) characters, gives us a getaway into the fantasy worlds, bringing out the inner child in all of us. “Trick or treating” brings the communities closer together, inviting all to share the fun and enjoy the silliness and creativity of costumes or to be amazed by the effort one’s neighbour put into their decorations. 

How Does This All Relate to Escape Rooms?

Escape rooms have started out relatively recently (well, compared to Halloween itself, at least!) and originally revolved around groups of players being locked in a room, solving their way out by finding clue after clue, and finally breaking out of the door. The concept has since evolved, with many escape rooms, including ourselves here at Enigma Quests, pushing the boundaries and creating story-driven immersive experiences, where teams are tasked with bigger missions than just escaping from the room. 

open door in a dark room with bright light behind it

Escape rooms today have become synonymous with a fun activity to do with friends and loved ones, an excellent tool for team building and a way to escape from modern reality into a carefully crafted world, where players get to act out fantasies of saving the world from fictional evils and solving impossible mysteries. 

Now, if you, like us, believe that putting these two together would make the most perfect sense – you’ve come to the right place! If you have ever thought about creating your own escape room at home, why not make it Halloween themed? Combining the spooky decor with brain-teasing puzzles of your own creation would be the perfect way to throw a party that your guests would remember for years to come! 

Halloween Escape Room Ideas at Home

If you are not a big DIYer, don’t worry! You can still throw a party to remember by inviting your friends to attend one of our escape rooms. Why not combine a visit to our very own School of Witchcraft and Wizardry escape room with a visit to the Cauldron, a magical bar where you can brew your own drinkable elixirs, only 15 minutes away from our location?

bartender adding powdered sugar to a flaming cocktail in the blue light

However, if you are itching to shine your creativity and impress your invitees, read on for some of our tips and tricks to throw the best Halloween-themed escape room party!

What you will need to ensure that your party is the talk of the season:

  • The overarching theme 
  • Carefully orchestrated puzzle flow 
  • Simple yet effective decor 
  • Fitting food and drink options

Before you begin thinking about decorations, puzzles, food and drinks, however, the first thing to do is consider who your audience is going to be. Is it someone who is your peer – close friends, flatmates, game buddies? Is the party going to be multi-generational – do you have kids of different ages coming? Is it going to be mostly family with some more senior members joining in the fun? The key to an engaging party is to consider all guests and to ensure there is something to interest everyone who is invited. 

One of the best parts of creating your own escape room at home is not only putting your close ones to the test, but also challenging yourself to create those same devious puzzles.

Another great benefit of a DIY escape room is, no doubt, the cost-saving aspect – you can get creative using anything you find around your home to be used as a prop, puzzle, decor and more. One of the ways to involve your invitees is to get them to bring appropriately themed snacks and drinks to your party, sharing the creativity and taking some weight off of your shoulders. 

Choosing The Perfect Escape Room Theme

Halloween Costume Party: Gorgeous Seductive Witch Wearing Dress Holds Burning Pumpkin. Background: Beautiful Devil, Scary Death, Count Dracula, Zombie Dancing in the Decorated Room

One way to accommodate everyone and to still have a fun night would be to have a generic “Halloween look”. Benefits include an incredibly long list of ideas for DIY Halloween decorations you can source over the internet, as well as absolute freedom for your guests to appear in any costume they select. Be prepared for some unexpected surprises! 

However, to create a truly unforgettable night, you can select an overarching theme that would set the tone of your Halloween escape room party. Make sure you select a theme that engages and resonates with your guests – something that you all share in common would work best. Some of the great examples include:

  • Incorporating a show you are all watching at the same time currently, such as the prequel to the Game of Thrones, the House of Dragon. This world is big enough to allow everyone to select various characters to dress up in and spooky enough to match well with the Halloween mood. Bloody Mary, only make it extra bloody, please!
  • Some of the timeless classics that you all love, such as the Harry Potter witchcraft and wizardry world. Witches, wizards, potions, broomsticks, cauldrons, this theme is just made for Halloween celebrations, and can easily be kid-friendly too!
  • Go completely unhinged! Are you all members of the same rugby team? Put that into action, but make it zombie themed! Do you all go to the same university? Mix that up with a haunted ghost theme. Get creative with mixing and matching the themes to make it unexpectedly fun for everyone. 

Choosing an overarching theme would also help with the direction of the puzzles and creating the flow of your DIY escape room.

Creating Engaging and Challenging Escape Room Puzzles

Here are some of our best tips for creating brilliant head-scratchers:

Start At the End

When designing an escape room at home, the most effective way to create the flow is to start from the finish. Sounds paradoxical, but stay with us on this one. Think of the finale first – what would you like your guests to achieve at the end? Do you want them to solve the mystery by pinpointing the killer? Do you want them to locate the poison that the witch has hidden (nicely-packaged port wine)? Do you want them to steal a bag of gold (chocolate coins)? 

Once you know the end goal, work your way backwards, carefully crafting each step. Depending on your budget, you can source materials and improvise using anything you find in your home, or, if your budget allows, you can splash out on some fancy but inexpensive combination locks. 

Escape room concept. Web banner of a vintage golden key and unlocked padlock on a rusty metal background.

Use Locks to Gate Progress

Full disclosure: we do not use any combination locks in our escape rooms, and instead, prefer the real magic – electronically and mechanically operated doors and pulleys and hatches that bring our games to life and elevate the experience further. However, we would still argue that combination locks can be very useful when designing an escape room at home. 

You can go for classic number combination locks that most households have at least one or two of, or you can mix it up with more creative options by sourcing letter combination locks, directional padlocks, vintage padlocks with skeleton keys, a combination lock for a wine bottle, and many others. 

Mix it Up

Types of puzzles can vary widely as well. You can use the whole house or one room to be used for hiding the clues and get the guests searching. The puzzles will need to be aligned with whichever theme you choose in order to have a natural flow from one step to the next. See some of the classic and simple puzzle ideas that would be free or cheap to make at home, as well as easily adapt to any theme chosen. 

Make sure to adjust the difficulty accordingly if you’ll have children participating, too! You can have the players working on multiple puzzles simultaneously with clues from each puzzle forming the next step and every element being necessary. While some adults are puzzling away on a fiendishly tricky conundrum, you could also include some easier puzzles suitable for kids – this way even the smallest adventurers can feel like they are on a mission!

kids in Halloween costumes are reading a book while in a room decorated pumpkins and candles

Another way to involve the wider community and share the fun is to get some of the seeming strangers to give out clues in exchange for an unlocked password from the players. Get your neighbour to share the clue in exchange for the right keyword said, or let your buddy at the food market stall across the road give them the clue they need next in exchange for a “bribe” or a “sacrifice”. It may sound weird asking for their help at first, but you never know what glorious exchanges may come out of it and how much fun everyone can have if you don’t reach out!

DIY Decor Ideas for Your Halloween Escape Room

When it comes to decorating your house for the Halloween escape room party, it’s best to go with something that would be quick and simple to make, but that also achieves an effective look when put together. Some ideas for the impressive looking decorations that would not take too much time or effort to put together are giant spiderwebs from yarns, an easy to make witches broomstick, adorable spooky ghosts, and this eye-catching candle centrepiece using bottles destined for recycling! 

Source your inspiration from what a haunted house would look like with cobwebs, spiders, and other creepy crawlies around, or go wild by “batifying” your house. Alternatively, if you happen to have some time and a little bit of craftiness in you, why not attempt DIYing some of your own props, such as this elaborate cardboard cryptex, or formidable decorations like this giant spider (bonus if you use it to hide a clue underneath)?

The final touch would be, of course, the food and drinks. You can create some delicious-looking Halloween-themed snacks, or even get your invitees involved by tasking each person to bring a snack within the theme to the party and make a contest out of it! 

spooky halloween themed snacks and food

A summary of our tips to create a memorable and fun Halloween-themed escape room at home would be:

  • Do not fuss or panic over the decor. Choosing the simple decor idea will save you time and money, and avoid unnecessary stress (unless, of course, you find a creative outlet such as this satisfying and would love a chance to show off your skills!)
  • Personalise the puzzles to the theme and the attendees. Any inside jokes, common interests, and shared activities are sure to bring people together even more while also creating some amusing moments that will be remembered for a while.
  • Themed food and drink elevates the party, and having something grand to unlock as part of the final puzzle that people can then share! Imagine opening the last box to uncover a chocolate cake covered in blood (berry syrup), or a bottle of port wine decorated as a potion!
  • Don’t forget to have fun while organising this sure-to-be challenging, but unforgettable, party!
halloween decorations on a wooden darkened background surrounded by branches, bats and candles

Want to Experience Our Best Escape Room Experiences?

If creating your own Halloween escape room has given you a taste for puzzling, why not try one of our 3 brilliant rooms in Shoreditch? Ace your magical exams, rob a secretive vault, or stop disaster aboard a submarine on the ocean floor with up to four friends. We offer slots seven days a week, with evening times available.

Use the code SPOOKY15 on any of our games, any available time up until the 13th of November to get 15% off any booking price on our website! 

Please note that the voucher code cannot be used retrospectively, or in conjunction with any other codes. If you are having issues or have any questions – please do get in touch with us at bookings@enigmaquests.london or via our Contact Enquiry form.