HAUNTS – The Scream Zone – CA

THE SCREAM ZONE 2018

The Scream Zone in Del Mar California is a fun fairground haunted attraction with two walk through mazes and a hayride. There are also food trucks, merchandise and a mini escape room. You can purchase each maze individually or as a combo.

My husband & I ended up here after attending two other events in the area on a Saturday night. Unfortunately due to heavy rains the hayride was closed. We had done the hayride here years ago and were looking forward to seeing if it had changed, but safety is always most important.

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House of Horror is the larger of the two walk through mazes. Both are a fun time. There are a few really impressive moments with set decor and ideas, but overall the set, props, costumes and actors are just good. Neither really tell a story, but are rather a bunch of scenes thrown together. At least KarnEvil has strong theming throughout. They do a pretty good job of purging the lines. They put us through in a group of about 10 at a time in House of Horror and a bit smaller group for KarnEvil.

Overall it was fun. It is the perfect type of event for the location and crowds. It’s a professional fairground haunt worth checking out if you’re in the area.

 

HAUNTS – The Haunted Lodge (Scareventures) – CA

HAUNTS – The Haunted Lodge (Scareventures) – CA

The Haunted Lodge (Scareventures) 2018

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We were warned not to go in the woods for fear of a half man half elk creature…but we continued anyway and luckily lived to tell the tale.

My husband and I went to The Haunted Lodge last night while down in the San Diego area attending haunted attractions. This was our second stop of the evening. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it appeared to be a plywood maze built in the front yard of an Elk’s Lodge. However, I was quite impressed with the set design and attention to detail. The actors worked very hard. The costumes and make up looked good. It told a story and even had a couple of moments that were very in line with immersive theatre in the way they have you sit in the scene and become a character in the story. Overall we had a fun time.

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I especially enjoyed the opening two scenes because they set up the story and tone for the adventure to come. Both actors in the beginning did a splendid job of communicating the story in a fun and creepy way. I also enjoyed the photo op (on my own phone) at the beginning because it fit in the scenario well and left us with a memory to post online.

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After sitting around the campfire listening to the tale of the monster to come, we were given a red flashlight and sent on our way into the maze. We encountered many ghouls along our path.

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We caught a scare from the anticipated ElkMan a little early on while in one of my favorite scenes. The set up was great and had us skeptical that we were really entering a safe homey cabin no matter how much the actors tried to convince us we were safe. It was wonderfully done.

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I also really enjoyed the tent area. I’m sorry we couldn’t save you young man, we had to save ourselves!

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However the maze kept going and seemed to go a little off track from the tale at times. It was fun, but lost that beautiful storytelling from the beginning as we progressed through the attraction. I did enjoy that the haunt staple “monster with chainsaw” fit into the scene in this attraction. So many times it’s random, but they made it work well. Great job to all of the designers and actors.

Overall it was a lot of fun and I’m glad we got to experience this attraction. I recommend checking them out if you are in the El Cajon (San Diego) area.

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*More photos from this event on Instagram @TheHauntGirl

2016 EVENTS ATTENDED DURING HAUNT SEASON

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.

SOCAL HAUNTS:

The Tension Experience

Universal Studios HHN

Fright Fest at Magic Mountain

Knott’s Scary Farm (Skeleton Key)

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under

Delusion

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

ROT

Coffin Creek

Scream Kingdom

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Scream Zone

HOME HAUNTS:

Rotten Apple

Backwoods Maze

The Haunt with no name

Boney Island

PENNSYLVANIA HAUNTS:

Terror Behind These Walls

Field of Screams

Shocktoberfest

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

 

MASSACHUSETTS HAUNTS:

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

CLUE AVENUE ESCAPE ROOM – Villain’s Lair


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.

CALIFORNIA ESCAPE ROOM LIST

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

LOS ANGELES AREA ESCAPE ROOMS

Maze Rooms: Magical Kingdom

Maze Rooms: Sky Odyssey

Quest Room: Red Giant

Maze Rooms: The Abyss

Quest Room: Bloody Elbow

60out: The Orphange

Maze Rooms: They’re Coming

60out: Hyde Circus

Quest Room: Perfumer

60out Escape Rooms: Outbreak

Planet Escape Rooms – Wise Guys

60out Escape Rooms: Titanic

Planet Escape Rooms – Game of Swords

60out Escape Rooms: Wizards Workshop

Maze Rooms: World of Illusions

60out: Alice in Wonderland

60out: Time Machine

Quest Room: Cannibals Den

Maze Rooms: One Way Ticket

60out: Houdini

60out: Wizard’s Workshop

Maze Rooms: Lunar Station

Escapedom: The Lair

Exit Game: The School of Sorcery

60out: Amityville

Quest Room: Da Vinci’s Challenge

Maze Rooms: The Dragon’s Lair

60out: Zen Room

Planet Escape Rooms – Cntrl-Alt-Reality

Fox In The Box – Tesla

Exit Game The Ai

Exit Game The Villains Lair

Maze Rooms: Jack the Ripper

60out: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

60out: Grandma’s Masterplan

Roomescape LA The Bank (now Fox in a Box)

60out Escape Rooms: Casino

60out Escape Rooms: Doctor Psycho

Exit Game An Hour To Kill

Escape Hotel: Agent

60out Escape Rooms: Cartel DEA Undercover

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie & Still Hungry

60out Escape Room: P.U.T.I.N. (now Red Alert)

Escape Room LA: The Theatre

Get the F Out: The Virus (we played the old location)

60out Escape Rooms: Ghost Ship

60out Escape Rooms: The Mystery of Senator Payne

Roomescape LA: Prison (now Fox in a Box)

Countdown Live: Tiki Palace (now 60out)

60out: DaVinci’s Secret

Maze Rooms: Castle

Escape Room LA: The Detective

60out: Nautilus

Mobile Escape Room LA: MacGuffins Cocktail Room

Maze Quests: Clinic

Countdown Live: Pandorus (now 60out Galaxy Quest)

Maze Rooms: Secret Mission

Roomescape LA: Bunker (now Fox in a Box)

Exit Game: The Lab

Escapedom: Den of the Occult

The Laboratory Escape Room

60out Escape Rooms: Quest in a Box (temporary popup- availability varies)

Escape Room Long Beach: Bad Blood

Horror Escapes LA: Edmond’s Attic

Horror Escapes LA: Captive Chamber

Horror Escapes LA: Dr. Office

Back in Time – Salem Witch Hunt

Escape Hotel: Day Care

Maze Rooms: Motel

Roomescape LA: Zombie Lab (now Fox in a Box)

MagIQ Room: Secrets of Wizardry

Escape Room LA: The Alchemist

Maze Rooms: FBI

MagIQ Room: Pirate’s Den

60Out Escape Rooms: Hangover Game(now Mafia)

Escape Hotel: Witchcraft

Hatch Escapes – Lab Rat

Escape Room LA: The Pyramid

Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher (renamed Espionage)

Escape Haus LA: Masquerade Ball Room

EscapeIQ: Alcatraz

“THE VALLEY” LOS ANGELES ESCAPE ROOMS:

The Basement (Basement, The Elevator Shaft & Study) *NEW GAME* The Courtyard

Level Games: Fortune Teller

Level Games: The Menagerie

Maze Rooms: Wizard’s Tower

Maze Rooms: Lord of the Swords

Escape the Room: South Park

Escape the Room: Jurassic Escape

Exit Artists

Theme Quest Escape Room: Houdini (now Architect)

Maze Rooms Pirate Bay

Theme Quest Escape Room: Bonnie and Clyde (now Architect)

Haunted Recording Studio

Escape Chronicles

Nodus 805 Escape Room

Paniq Room: Bunker

Amazing Escape Room: Mystery of the Red Dragon

Arcane Escape Rooms: The Hideout

Amazing Escape Room: The Starlight Lounge

Amazing Escape Room: Escape the X Corporation

Unlocked Escape Room: The Professor’s Basement

The Bunker Experience (the original version)

Arcane Escape Rooms: The Agency

The Room Live Escape Room: The Cabin

Paniq Room Insane Asylum

Hidden Passage: Pharoah’s Curse

Escape the Room: Clock Tower

Enchanted Escape Room

ORANGE COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

CrossRoads Escape Game: Hex

Quest Room: Amnesia

Quest Room: Resurrection 

CrossRoads Escape Game: The Psych Ward

Scenario Escape Rooms: Mad Rapper

Mission Escape Games: Escape the Hydeout

Unlocked Escape Room

Hidden Donkey – Irvine School of Wizardry

Cinema Escape Room – The Strange Thing

Puzzle Workshop: CSI Hollywood

Puzzle Workshop: Secrets of the Illuminati

Crossroads Escape Game: Funhouse

Escapade Games: Zoe

Escapade Games – The Last Experiment

The Escape Bus

TrapZone Escape Rooms: The Asylum

Detectives Society Escape Rooms: Da Vinci’s Lost Workshop

EscapeX Rooms: Mafia Heist

Escape ERA – Ben Franklin

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Paranormal

Immersion: The Cursed

PuzzleMazement: The Dollhouse(original version)

Legend X Iteration(original version)

Square Room: Harry Potter (now Sorcerer’s Study)

Brainy Actz

*DeadRingers by Escape Bus (seasonal 15 minute Escape game)

*Crossroads: The Asylum (ScareLA mini-game availability varies)

INLAND EMPIRE ESCAPE ROOMS:

Wizards & Wires: The Ghost Chamber

Breaking Point – Whitmore Estate

Wizards & Wires: The Curiosity Shop

Containment: Carnival

Gaslamp: The Sword in the Study

MindTrap – Wizard of OZ

Mind Trap Escape Room: Gold Rush

The 13th Room: Chapter 2 The Silence

Xscape Pods: Galaxy Adventure

Quest Tavern: Last Supper

Breaking Point: Patient 17

Hall of Shadows: Shadow Menagerie

Clever Fox – Book of the Dragons

Mind Trap Escape Room: Conspiracy

Trapped! Escape Room: Sector 13

Hall of Shadows: The Signal

Xscape Pods – Pharaoh

Clever Fox: Forbidden Temple

Quest Tavern – Witches Cauldron

Trapped! Escape Room: Puzzlemaster (original version)

The 13th Room

Xscape Pods – Government Secrets

Containment – Cabin

Open Door Escape Games: The Study

Chronos – ChronosTopia

Get a Clue Room Escape: The Toy Shop

Chronos – Jurassic Island

One Way Out: Bank Heist (now Exodus)

Unity Escape Rooms: The Cabin

Unity Escape Rooms: The Temple

HIGH DESERT ESCAPE ROOMS:

Escape the Asylum

CENTRAL VALLEY ESCAPE ROOMS:

Xcape Room Fresno: Murder Scene (original version)

Breakout Fresno: Sabotage – Code Red (now Method of Escape)

Bakersfield Escape Room: RESCUE (now Puzzle Effect Bakersfield)

VENTURA COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

House of Clues: Pirate Ghost Ship (original location)

The Ultimate Escape Rooms: We Are All Mad Here

PALM SPRINGS ESCAPE ROOMS:

Escape Room Palm Springs: Dark Shadows Room

Escape Room Palm Springs: Saw Room

Escape Room Palm Springs: Titanic

Escape Games at the River: Secret of the Dragon’s Spire

Escape Games at the River: Baker Street Mystery

BIG BEAR ESCAPE ROOMS:

Mountain Room Escapes Big Bear: Alpine Ski Lodge

SAN DIEGO ESCAPE ROOMS:

Quicksand Escape Games: China Town

Steal and Escape

Quicksand Escape Games: The Diner

The Unlockables

Escape Game SD: Japanese Thriller Room

Quicksand Escape Games: The Speakeasy

Boss Play – Chocolate Factory

The Entrapment: The Disappearance at Fogmore Manor

3rd Day Escape: Harvest Motel

Escapology San Diego: TH3 C0D3

Top Tier – Atlantis Dive to the Forgotten City

Enigma HQ

Clue Avenue: Villain’s Lair

Mighty Awesome: The Office of Professor R.K. Alogee

Nightwalker Caverns Escape Room: Clownotorium

Escapism: Art Gallery

3rd Day Escape: Hourglass (original version)

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA ESCAPE ROOMS:

Enchambered – Whispering Halls

Enchambered – Containment Breach

Palace Games: Houdini

Omescape: Kingdom of Cats

Omescape: Omega

 

R.I.P.

These are rooms that I have played in California but are not currently available:

The Purge Truck

Enigma: The Will

Enigma Escape Rooms: The Seance

Enigma: Apartment 205

Countdown Live: PsychoCountdown Live: Spaceship

Countdown: Mrs. Jezebel’s Tea Party (original version)

School of Hard Locks: Halloween Room

CatCon Animal Planet Escape Box

Exodus: Quake Escape

Exit Game: The Chamber

Captured LA (old location)

Paniq Room: Creepy Cemetery

X Room Victorian Mansion

X Room Court in Session

X Room Escape the Wonderland

X Room Curse of the Mummy

Trapped! The ChamberTrap House (Think Tank)

Square Room: Mario Brothers

Real Escape Room: Treasure Island

Countdown: Special Event Beta Test

Kaien (the game we beta tested, but isn’t open yet)

School of Hard Locks: Principal’s Office

SCRAP Real Escape Game Escape from the Cursed Forest Event

SCRAP Real Escape Game Escape the Magic Show

Salvation Room: The Inferno

Amazing Escape Room: Black & White

Ace Escape Game The Pharaoh’s Treasure

SCRAP Real Escape Game: Escape from the Time Travel Lab

The 13th Room (ScareLA mini-game)

Trapped! Escape Room: Jailbreak 

Room of no return: Jail

Mysterium Escape Room

Escape the Night (VidCon)

The Cromwell Estate (Midsummer Scream mini-game)

Maze Quests: Queen Anne’s Revenge

Countdown Live Escape: Krampus

Evil Genius Escape Rooms

Enigma: Crime Scene

Enigma: Secret Temple

Mobile Escape Room LA: Sleep Study

Captured LA: The Starlet Killer

Logiquit: Warehouse of Jack Travis

Logiquit The Laboratory of Dr. Lev Pasted

Logiquit Secret Agent Room

Logiquit: CSI Room

Escape Room Treasure Hunt: The Alchemist’s Lab

The Basement: Boiler Room

Amazing Escape Room: Operation Desert Storm

Famous Escape Rooms:  The Great Redemption

Maze Rooms: Demon Hunter

S.H.A.D.I.E. Grove Escape Room

Hollywood Escape House: The Royal Indian Dungeon

Eskape Rooms: Operation Dream State

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Professor S!

Escape the Place: The Chamber

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Saving Christmas!

The Cromwell Estate

The 13th Room: Alchemy & Wizardry

The 13th Room: Jack the Ripper

The Game Maker Escape Room (temporary room at Coffin Creek)

Funhouse Escape 60 Minutes to Curtain & Another 60 Minutes to Curtain

Real Escape Room: Bomb

Broken Chains Escape Games: Caught In A Rumple

Real Escape Room: Crazy Secret Laboratory

One Way Out: Apocalypse (now Exodus)

Escape This! Mosi’s Curse

Rooms of No Return: The Classroom

Rooms of No Return: Dead Silence

The Great Escape: Mafia Bomb Squad

Bakersfield Escape Room: Winter Fall

Real Escape: Bootlegger Warehouse

Real Escape: Wizards Lair

Excido: Studio

Excido: Casino

Escape Room Palm Springs: Mystery Room

Divergent Realities: The Informant

Great Room Escape San Diego: Houdini’s Hidden Workshop

Great Room Escape San Diego: The Lab

School of Hard Locks: Art Class

Maze Rooms: VR Cosmos Game

Escape Room Police

Omescape: Forgotten Treasure

Spookador

Escape SF: Escape from Antique Room

Escape Room LA: The Cavern

Kaein LLC: The Alien

Kaien: Time Machine

Suite 201

Escape the Night – PopUp at UTA

LA Dragons – Knights of the Round Table

Escape From Godot

ESCAPE ROOMS – Enigma HQ – California

ENIGMA HQ ESCAPE ROOM

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

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.