This might be one of the most common questions escape room companies or escape room enthusiasts get from our “newbie” friends.
People have heard that escape rooms are fun, but they’ve usually also heard about the crazy, terrifying versions too. Just hearing the phrases “locked in a room” and “you have to escape” alone are enough to make some hesitant first-timers decide that maybe escape rooms just aren’t for them.
Well, at Getout Games, we’ve responded to these concerns countless times. There are a few common fears or worries that people seem to have before trying their first escape room experience. Here are the main things you should know if you or someone you know ever has the question, “Are escape rooms scary?”
Well, they can be…
Escape rooms are as varied and unique as restaurants, movies, or other entertainment experiences. Yes, some of them are pretty scary on purpose! If you go out looking for the creepy and intense ones with themes like torture, paranormal activity, or life and death scenarios, you can find them, especially around Halloween! For some people, the horror-themed escape rooms are the most fun and there are quite a few of them out there to be enjoyed.
…but there are tons of them that are just fun!
However, there are plenty of people looking for family-friendly entertainment without all the blood and guts, and there are escape rooms for that crowd too. Our escape rooms at Getout Games, for example, are designed to be “intense” by way of the unique missions and the race against the clock, but totally PG-rated and suitable for all ages. We do offer a zombie-themed mission, which is definitely the most intense escape game we offer, but we avoid the gore and horror vibes that some other escape room venues have gone all in on. To each their own!
Common Fear #1: I’ll get stuck in the room
This is probably the most common fear people have about doing an escape room. Whether it’s claustrophobia, social anxiety, or a fear of embarrassment, people just don’t like the idea of being in a room they can’t get out of as soon as they might want to. We get it! But let me put your mind at ease…
Spoiler- The doors aren’t actually locked!
For one thing, actually locking people in a room without providing them an easy way to leave the room would be a violation of fire code. So, there’s that.
We also understand that occasions may arise in which someone needs to exit the room during their game for something like using the restroom, a medical situation, or just to get some air. Although it’s most fun to buy into the storyline and actually solve your way out, anyone can leave the room at any time if they really wanted to.
I can’t speak for every other escape room company in the world, but providing emergency exits should be pretty standard no matter which venue you visit.
Game masters can let you out
In order to ensure that all escapes run smoothly, escape room employees, often referred to as “Game Masters”, must be able to know what is happening in the room while the guests are playing.
If the game master is not already in the room with you, they are most likely listing and/or watching by video camera, radio, or other technology. If a situation arose in which someone needed to exit the room right away and didn’t know how to get out, the game master would be able to see or hear their need and either tell them how to exit or go open the door themselves.
Once again, there is no need to worry about getting “trapped” in the escape room. These are fun entertainment experiences, not torture chambers!
Common Fear #2: People are going to touch me or jump out at me
Often when people ask, “Are escape rooms scary?”, what they are really asking is, “Is this going to be like a haunted house?”
As I said before, some of them might be! But most of them are not.
The teams at Getout Games and other escape room companies know that people are not going to appreciate being tricked into an unpleasant experience for which they didn’t mean to sign up. That’s bad for business! So the more scary escape rooms out there are almost always easy to identify by the name, imagery, and description. If you’re into the scary kind, then you’ll know what you’re getting when you book a room like “Bogeyman” or “Spooky Room 479”.
Jump scares are common in the creepy rooms, so plan on that if you choose to try one! As far as having people touch you, that would be something you would have signed a waiver for in advance.
On the other hand, escape room fans looking for a fun and exciting experience without the spooks can confidently book a room called “Mission to Mars” or “Reactor Meltdown” knowing that they won’t need to worry about covering their eyes or comforting panicked children!
Common Fear #3: I’m going to be stuck in their with weirdos
Well, managing this particular fear is kind of up to you.
There are a set number of spots which can be booked in most escape rooms. Usually, if you and your group only book a few of those spots, the remaining spots will still be available to others until shortly before the escape room begins. Or, if you book out the entire room, it will only be your group inside.
So, it’s up to you how many spots you book and whether or not you join a room that already has some people scheduled. In general, most businesses will turn away any guests they feel are unsafe, inebriated, or will otherwise negatively affect the experience for others. However, we can’t really guarantee you won’t run into a “weirdo” or two. But I mean, c’mon, who’s to say that you aren’t the weirdo yourself? Kidding, kidding…
At Getout Games, we recommend booking your whole group of friends, family, etc. together. That way, nobody else will move in on those spots you were hoping to save for your crew. If they aren’t paid for, they aren’t saved!
If you ever do happen to be uncomfortable with anyone during your escape room experience, let your game master know. And hey, don’t be a weirdo!
Don’t be scared. Be prepared!
So, there you have it. Some escape rooms are scary, and some of them are not. Most of them are really really fun! Just make sure you know what type of experience you are signing up for. Then, the only thing you need to be concerned about is handling all the immersive, fast-paced, mind-bending, exhilarating entertainment that’s in store for you.
– Camden Bernatz