I love going to haunts and Halloween themed events all year, but I go a little crazy during haunt season (late September through early November). Here is a list of the events and haunts I attended in 2016 in no particular order.


The Tension Experience

Universal Studios HHN

Fright Fest at Magic Mountain

Knott’s Scary Farm (Skeleton Key)

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under


Los Angeles Haunted Hayride


Coffin Creek

Scream Kingdom

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Scream Zone


Rotten Apple

Backwoods Maze

The Haunt with no name

Boney Island


Terror Behind These Walls

Field of Screams


Pennhurst Haunted Asylum



Barrett’s Haunted Mansion

Spooky World

Haunted Overload

Chambers of Terror

Hysteria Conner’s Farm

Gallows Hill Theatre (performance)



HAUNT – Scream Zone – California 

Scream Zone 

3 Stars (of 5)

Walking through this Halloween carnival made me feel a teenager in a 1980’s slasher film. Scream Zone doesn’t appear to have updated their carnival style in the past few decades.

The haunted hayride was a bit sad, lacking strong sets or theming and most notibly actors. There were about three actors per scene that worked their tails off running from the front to the back to the front of the wagon repeatedly screaming, grunting, banging the sides with props such as hockey sticks. There were two attempts  at a large effects during the ride, but both fell flat mostly due to timing. The disappointment of this attraction was compounded by the long hour plus wait times to ride.

KarnEvil was much better than the hayride. It’s a walk through carnival themed haunted house. Clowns laughed and scared as our group wandered through a maze within the haunt for several minutes lost and ending up back where we started repeatedly. After getting through that section of the haunt it was quick and the “final scare” was nonexistent. My husband and I actually walked back in the maze because we thought we’d accidentally exited through an emergency exit. Overall though the attraction was fun and one large clown made it very memorable.

House of Horror was brilliant. We had a blast. I loved the maze within the walkthrough and the effective use of darkness at times. The decor was a strong attempt, certainly no Universal Studios, but it got the job done. It had a rather cliche ending, but it was so much fun and the actors were so dedicated that we didn’t mind.

Zombie Bootcamp sounded like a lot of fun if I was wearing tennis shoes and 10 years younger. I didn’t feel like running from zombies after a long day, so we didn’t do Zombie Bootcamp.

Escape the Monkey cage was a fun experience we came across on our way out of Sceam Zone. It was a 6 minute live mini escape room for a $3 up charge. My husband and I waited about 30 minutes in line to play. The first three groups didn’t escape. The couple in front of us escaped just in the nick of time. We blew through in 2 minutes, but we really enjoyed it! We’d already played three full length escape rooms earlier in the day before the haunt so it was a fun way to end the night.

There is free parking and you can walk around the grounds at no cost. Each attraction has its own ticket or you can do a combo. There were a couple of food trucks and drinks available. It did get a bit chilly, so I recommend bringing a sweatshirt or you can buy one there.

ESCAPE ROOM- Clue Avenue Escape Room -California


Who doesn’t want to stop an evil super villain from poisoning all of San Diego County and save the day? Obviously this is a great way for all of you San Diego cos playing superheros to keep your hero skills sharp away from Comic-Con, but it’s also a unique experience for those of us without bright spandex  attire.

Clue Avenue Escape Room is an imaginative escape game with a fun story. I really enjoyed how they found ways to build the story throughout the game. All of the puzzles were in some way connected to it. They also had some really creative thinking in their puzzle design. The room was designed and run by a group of friends and I could tell the room had many minds behind it, as opposed to one way of thinking. I found the flow of the room to be a little clunky. However, I played soon after they had opened and as with most new rooms I’m sure they will make adjustments and changes as more people come through and they see what tweaks they can make. They seem eager to make Clue Avenue the best possible experience for their customers.



INTERVIEW – Jason Richard of Steal and Escape – ESCAPE ROOM

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Jason Richard and own Steal and Escape with my wife Marketa in San Diego, California. We have been open for about four months and current have one room “Mysterious Stranger” with a second room on the way.

Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry?

Marketa and I were in Budapest on vacation and saw a small flyer that described an escape game and as we toured the city we found rooms everywhere. We decided to give one a try and 20 minutes into our first game I knew I was going to open one (The first room we did is still the best game we played, unfortunately we can’t remember its name).

What makes Steal and Escape different from other escape games?

We have two areas that make us different from other rooms. To start, I grew up opening anything I could get my hands on, from old stereos to locks to vehicles. I needed to understand the mechanics and electronics of everything, our games are designed with this mindset. Our puzzles are less about math and riddles and more about using objects and tools to find answers. Second, while most rooms ask the players to escape, our players start by figuring out how to get into the room and then escaping after the objective is met.

What’s it like for you watching players play your game?

Having taught teamwork, leadership and communication for three years, I appreciate a group that works together. When a person finds a clue or solves a puzzle and tells everyone what they accomplished, I get excited. I also love ingenuity. I rarely stop a group from solving a puzzle in a way that was not intended. Although there should only be one way to solve it, it’s awesome to see people think in a way that is so much different than my own thought process.

What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design?

Puzzles that are designed for different mindsets. When I do a room, I bring a crew that thinks different from one another. I like puzzles that make me ask another person to “take a look” because I have no idea where to begin. It gives everyone a chance to shine and shows that everyone playing has helped in completing the objective.

What advice do you have for players?

Listen to the ideas from all members of your team. We frequently see someone with the solution ignored because their idea seems far-fetched. Your group has 60 minutes to solve the puzzle, it doesn’t hurt try everyone’s ideas.


Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played roughly in order of MY favorite to least favorite. Note: I prefer strong storytelling and immersion, especially in horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours. Feel free to write to me Twitter @christinebarger or Instagram @TheHauntGirl  GROUPED BY REGIONS:  LOS ANGELES AREA, “THE VALLEY”, ORANGE COUNTY, INLAND EMPIRE, HIGH DESERT, VENTURA COUNTY, PALM SPRINGS, BIG BEAR, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO


Maze Rooms: Magical Kingdom

60out Escape Rooms: Outbreak

Quest Room: Bloody Elbow

60out Escape Rooms: Titanic

Enigma: The Will

60out Escape Rooms: Wizards Workshop

Maze Rooms: One Way Ticket

Maze Rooms: Lunar Station

Enigma: Apartment 205

Escapedom: The Lair

Enigma Escape Rooms: The Seance

Exit Game: The School of Sorcery

Quest Room: Da Vinci’s Challenge

60out: Zen Room

Maze Quests: Queen Anne’s Revenge

Exit Game The Ai

Exit Game The Villains Lair

60out: Grandma’s Masterplan

Roomescape LA The Bank

60out Escape Rooms: Casino

Countdown Live Escape: Krampus

60out Escape Rooms: Doctor Psycho

Evil Genius Escape Rooms

Exit Game An Hour To Kill

The Mummy Escape Game (created by SCRAP)

Escape Hotel: Agent

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie & Still Hungry

60out Escape Room: P.U.T.I.N.

Escape Room LA: The Theatre

Enigma: Crime Scene

Enigma: Secret Temple

60out Escape Rooms: Ghost Ship

60out Escape Rooms: The Mystery of Senator Payne

Roomescape LA: Prison

Countdown Live: Tiki Palace

Maze Rooms: Castle

Escape Room LA: The Detective

Mobile Escape Room LA: MacGuffins Cocktail Room

Maze Quests: Clinic

Countdown Live: Pandorus

Maze Rooms: Secret Mission

Roomescape LA: Bunker

Exit Game: The Lab

Escapedom: Den of the Occult

The Laboratory Escape Room

60out Escape Rooms: Quest in a Box

Escape Room Long Beach: Bad Blood

Horror Escapes L.A. Captive Chamber

Escape Hotel: Day Care

Maze Rooms: Motel

Mobile Escape Room LA: Sleep Study

Roomescape LA: Zombie

MagIQ Room: Secrets of Wizardry

Escape Room LA: The Alchemist

Maze Rooms: FBI

Captured LA: The Starlet Killer

Logiquit Secret Agent Room

MagIQ Room: Pirate’s Den

60Out Escape Rooms: Hangover Game

Escape Hotel: Witchcraft

Hatch Escapes

Logiquit: Warehouse of Jack Travis

Logiquit The Laboratory of Dr. Lev Pasted

Escape Room LA: The Cavern

Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher

Escape Haus LA: Masquerade Ball Room

Logiquit: CSI Room

Escape Room Treasure Hunt: The Alchemist’s Lab

EscapeIQ: Alcatraz

*Maze Rooms: VR Cosmos Game*Is not last on the list, it is just so unique I don’t know how to compare it to a standard escape room. 


The Basement (Basement, Boiler Room & Study) *NEW GAME* The Elevator ShaftMaze Rooms Pirate BayGet the F Out: The VirusHaunted Recording StudioEscape ChroniclesNodus 805 Escape RoomPaniq Room: BunkerAmazing Escape Room: Mystery of the Red DragonArcane Escape Rooms: The HideoutAmazing Escape Room: The Starlight LoungeAmazing Escape Room: Escape the X CorporationUnlocked Escape Room: The Professor’s BasementAmazing Escape Room: Operation Desert StormGreat RedemptionThe Bunker ExperienceArcane Escape Rooms: The AgencyThe Room Live Escape RoomMaze Rooms: Demon HunterPaniq Room Insane AsylumHollywood Escape House: The Royal Indian DungeonS.H.A.D.I.E. Grove Escape RoomEnchanted Escape Room


CrossRoads Escape Game: HexMission Escape GamesUnlocked Escape RoomPuzzle Workshop: CSI HollywoodPuzzle Workshop: Secrets of the IlluminatiCrossroads Escape Game: FunhouseEskape Rooms: Operation Dream StateEscapade Games: ZoeThe Escape BusDead Ringers (by The Escape Bus) *This is a 2 person game, where the partners compete against each other.TrapZone Escape RoomsDetectives Society Escape Rooms: Da Vinci’s Lost WorkshopEscapeX Rooms: CasinoPuzzleMazement Escape Room: Professor S!PuzzleMazement Escape Room: ParanormalKaein LLC: The AlienPuzzlemazement: The DollhouseSquare Room: Harry PotterKaien: Time MachineEscape the Place: The ChamberPuzzleMazement Escape Room: Saving Christmas!Legend X IterationThe Cromwell EstateBrainy ActzDeadRingers by Escape Bus (seasonal 15 minute Escape game)


Mind Trap Escape Room: Gold RushWizards & Wires: The Curiosity ShopMind Trap Escape Room: ConspiracyTrapped! Escape Room: Sector 13Trapped! Escape Room: PuzzlemasterThe 13th RoomOpen Door Escape Games: The StudyThe 13th Room: Alchemy & WizardryThe 13th Room: Jack the RipperThe Game Maker Escape Room (temporary room at Coffin Creek)Funhouse Escape 60 Minutes to Curtain & Another 60 Minutes to CurtainGet a Clue Room Escape: The Toy ShopBroken Chains Escape Games: Caught In A RumpleOne Way Out: Bank Heist (now Exodus)Unity Escape Rooms: The CabinUnity Escape Rooms: The TempleReal Escape Room: BombOne Way Out: Apocalypse (now Exodus)Real Escape Room: Crazy Secret Laboratory


Escape the AsylumEscape This! Mosi’s Curse


Xcape Room Fresno: Murder SceneRooms of No Return: The ClassroomBreakout Fresno: Sabotage – Code RedThe Great Escape: Mafia Bomb SquadBakersfield Escape Room: RESCUEBakersfield Escape Room: Winter FallRooms of No Return: Dead SilenceReal Escape: Bootlegger WarehouseReal Escape: Wizards Lair


Excido: StudioExcido: CasinoHouse of Clues: Pirate Ghost ShipThe Ultimate Escape Rooms: We Are All Mad Here


Escape Room Palm Springs: Dark Shadows RoomEscape Room Palm Springs: Saw RoomEscape Room Palm Springs: TitanicEscape Room Palm Springs: Mystery RoomEscape Games at the River: Baker Street Mystery


Mountain Room Escapes Big Bear


Great Room Escape San Diego: Houdini’s Hidden Workshop
Quicksand Escape Games: China TownSteal and EscapeQuicksand Escape Games: The DinerThe UnlockablesDivergent Realities The InformantEscape Game SD: Japanese Thriller RoomQuicksand Escape Games: The SpeakeasyThe Entrapment3rd Day Escape: Harvest MotelEscapology San Diego: TH3 C0D3Enigma HQClue Avenue: Villain’s LairMighty AwesomeGreat Room Escape San Diego: The LabNightwalker Caverns Escape RoomEscapism: Art Gallery3rd Day Escape: HourglassEscape Room PoliceSchool of Hard Locks: Art Class


Omescape: Forgotten TreasurePalace Games: HoudiniOmescape: Kingdom of CatsEscape SF: Escape from Antique RoomOmescape: Omega




These are rooms that I have played in California but are not currently available:The Purge TruckCountdown Live: PsychoCountdown Live: SpaceshipCountdown: Mrs. Jezebel’s Tea PartySchool of Hard Locks: Halloween RoomCatCon Animal Planet Escape BoxExodus: Quake EscapeExit Game: The ChamberCaptured LA (old location)Paniq Room: Creepy CemeteryX Room Victorian MansionX Room Court in SessionX Room Escape the WonderlandX Room Curse of the MummyTrapped! The ChamberTrap House (Think Tank)Square Room: Mario BrothersReal Escape Room: Treasure IslandCountdown: Special Event Beta TestKaien (the game we beta tested, but isn’t open yet)School of Hard Locks: Principal’s OfficeSCRAP Real Escape Game Escape from the Cursed Forest EventSCRAP Real Escape Game Escape the Magic ShowSalvation Room: The InfernoAmazing Escape Room: Black & WhiteAce Escape Game The Pharaoh’s TreasureSCRAP Real Escape Game: Escape from the Time Travel LabThe 13th Room (ScareLA mini-game)Trapped! Escape Room: Jailbreak Room of no return: JailMysterium Escape RoomEscape the Night (VidCon)The Cromwell Estate (Midsummer Scream mini-game)Crossroads: The Asylum (ScareLA mini-game) *This game will be available in Oct 2017 at Crossroads

ESCAPE ROOMS – Enigma HQ – California


Enigma HQ is a creative escape room company in San Diego California. The staff is very professional and interested in the guest experience. The room we played had a very elaborate backstory which is told through video before entering the room to begin game play. The company makes use of technology throughout the game. It is a clever supernatural theme that is right up my alley. I enjoyed the creativity used in the puzzles as well as how they tied to the story. I felt the puzzles were a little repetitive due to the way they structured them to enhance the story elements, but still very different than what I’ve seen in other escape games. I imagine that for new players this room is mind blowing. However as an enthusiast, I can be very nit picky and I would say that one of the important puzzles could have multiple interpretations so I felt like I was guessing rather than solving and we wasted a lot of time on that puzzle…guessing. The game master explained that one to me at the end and although I could see her point, I still thought my interpretation made more sense than the actual answer. Even with getting stuck for a while, my husband and I got out with a little help from the game master. They have a really cool green screen photo op after the game that even ties into the story. It’s always fun to walk away carrying another fun photo for the scrapbook.

ESCAPE ROOMS – Quicksand Escape Games – California


Quicksand Escape Games is an escape room company in San Diego California. The owners are quite passionate escape room enthusiasts that have created a unique and clever game. It’s set in a 1920’s Speakeasy. The very first puzzle is one of the most unique and clever puzzles I’ve seen in a while. It was incredibly well woven into the story, as well. I can’t really say much else about the puzzles that surprised me and so forth without getting into spoiler territory. I will say that the visual of the final puzzle is really wonderful. Overall the story, puzzles and decor are very well done. The theme doesn’t lend itself to high tech gadgets, but they do incorporate a little technology that fits the 1920’s era. Speaking of themes…I will say this was fun even though it wasn’t a theme that I personally connected with. However, my husband prefers historical themes though and he flipped for this room.