Last week I attended the annual (except for last year, of course) Transworld escape room/ haunted house convention and trade show in St Louis. Yes, escape rooms are now a sizable enough industry to have their own convention and trade show (okay, big enough to share one with haunted houses, at least. . .) I went because I wanted to learn what’s new in escape rooms, and I wasn’t disappointed.
What struck me most is how creative and varied escape rooms are. New escape rooms are opening up all the time, and most new owners have some sort of new idea or twist they are trying to implement. An escape room themed so a group can do it as the villain and then turn around and have another hour to do the same quest as the hero, for example. Or a newly opened escape room in Columbus, Ohio, making use of special effects and animation to create a new form of immersion.
Many escape room designers began with haunted houses, which explains some of the overlap between the two industries. While Save Milwaukee Escape Rooms does not do haunted themes, many others do. The haunted houses took up most of the vast conference center floor. Makeup, lighting, fog machines, costumes, you name it and it was there. What caught my eye most was a haunted bedroom set on sale for just $2500, complete with dresser drawers that slam open and shut automatically and a bed that shakes up and down. That wouldn’t fit at either our Marshall Building or Brady Street location, though, and it’s not something I’d want in my home. So I decided to pass.
The highlight for me was talking with other escape room owners and hearing their passion for designing puzzles and riddles that bring people fun. Everyone seems to have a new idea or project they are working on, and its inspiring to be part of all that energy and creativity. Oh, and yes- I also have something new I’m working on, but it’s not ready to publicize yet. Please stay tuned.
Owner, Save Milwaukee Escape Rooms