Spring may be in the air, but it's Halloween in Littleton, where Lights Out Escape Rooms and Social Lounge is hosting its grand opening today, May 11.
Escape rooms are increasingly popular as night-out diversions, but owner Justin Goodchild thought that most of them didn't offer enough of an escape from the ordinary. “I’m one of those people," he explains. "Our house is the one in the neighborhood on Halloween that does the big setup, and that’s how this place came together.”
It shows: In the Sanctuary, the social lounge where people can wait their turn for one of the three escape rooms or simply hang out with a glass of wine or beer, realistic severed heads hangs from the ceiling, cutouts of B-movie slashers stand around, and horror trailers play on a projector. On Wednesdays, Lights Out will offer free screenings of some of the classics: Poltergeist, Get Out, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Nightmare on Elm Street series are already on tap for June. There are also of plenty spooky-themed board games to play.
But the main attraction at Lights Out are the escape rooms themselves: Zombie Nursery, Big Top Horror and Survivor’s Challenge.
Zombie Nursery is the most linear, with undead babies, bloodthirsty toddlers and more in a creepy daycare setting. “It’s task-driven, point A to point B [and so on],” says Goodchild, who adds that this is the easiest puzzle to crack, with a 40 percent success rate.
In Big Top Horror, you’re trying to escape from a killer clown by solving the games and puzzles that he’s left for you. “There are a lot of throwbacks to the circus — a tarot card reader, a popcorn machine,” notes Goodchild, pointing to other midway attractions. Unlike Zombie Nursery, this game has no solid sense of direction; the success rate is about 20 percent.
Survivor’s Challenge, loosely based on The Walking Dead, is the most difficult. This game is task-based, and teams score points for scavenging items. This is also the puzzle best suited for big teams, with two suites that can each take up to six players. With the game occurring simultaneously for each team, there can be some serious competition. Who will escape first? Will anyone escape? Goodchild pegs the success rate at 5 percent.
Another room is on the way: Asylum, a padded-room challenge, involves restraints and will be ideal for introverts who want to give escape rooms a shot, he says, or perhaps couples on a night out.
“It’s a great date night,” says Goodchild. And the games won't put a damper on romance. “One big thing we try to emphasize: Yeah, we’re horror-themed, but we’re not into jump scares. This isn’t a haunted house. There are no actors; no one is going to jump out at you,” explains Goodchild. The rooms are also monitored so that you can tap out at any time, and if you need a little help or a clue, Goodchild or his wife, Pam, can offer it over the intercom.
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Fun extras include artwork by Jim Ferguson, which is available for purchase; personalized write-ups to accompany photos for each team, win or lose (“Team Outlaws might be able to outrun the cops, but they couldn't escape our zombie horde!”), that go up on Lights Out’s Facebook page; special deals, such as a Mother’s Day deal offering 35 percent off your escape-room experience.
Lights Out is also offering catered events — it's partnered with Harley’s Hotdogs and Dickey’s BBQ — as well as exclusive escape scenarios for business team-building exercises.
Lights Out Escape Rooms opens at noon today at 1500 West Littleton Boulevard, Unit 110 C/D, in Littleton. The "Grand-er Opening: Great Beer Escape" starts at 5 p.m., when Resolute Brewing Company will be on hand with local brews; Alamo Drafthouse will give free movie passes to successful escapees with fast times, and nearby Harley's Hotdogs is offering discounts to survivors. For more information, call 720-484-4616 or visit lightsoutescapes.co.