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.

 

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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

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 VALLEY” LOS ANGELES ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

ORANGE COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

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)

INLAND EMPIRE ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

HIGH DESERT ESCAPE ROOMS:

Escape the AsylumEscape This! Mosi’s Curse

CENTRAL VALLEY ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

VENTURA COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

PALM SPRINGS ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

BIG BEAR ESCAPE ROOMS:

Mountain Room Escapes Big Bear

SAN DIEGO ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

SAN FRANCISCO AREA ESCAPE ROOMS:

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

MODESTO ESCAPE ROOMS:

Spookador

R.I.P.

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