Escape rooms have become a popular attraction for those looking for a fun and frightening experience to have with a group of friends. The pandemic has closed down most escape rooms, but the University of Connecticut virtual “Castle of Horror Escape Room” is open from Oct. 29-31 and is here to provide Halloween thrills for students.
Ashaki Reid, programming committee chair at the Undergraduate Student Government at UConn Hartford, played a big part in setting up the virtual room event.
“There are multiple moving parts to planning this virtual event,” Reid said. “Fortunately we, USG Hartford Programming committee, worked with a vendor who had a majority of the software up and running. Our job was to make sure people knew when, where, and how they could have fun.”
The “Castle of Horror Escape Room” is one of the many virtual Halloween events hosted by UConn. After a quick sign up, the website offers a small description of the story before the player enters the room.
“The door slams shut as you wander into the lair of one of the most feared individuals in history,” the escape room said. “Will fear get the best of you or will remain calm and escape the castle of horror?”
The escape room recommends the player use a notepad to decipher some of the puzzles they will have to solve. A short video plays, narrated by Abraham Van Helsing, where he tells the player that they are trapped in a castle of the undead and must escape within 15 minutes.
Upon entering the virtual escape room, players are allowed to walk around and examine the paintings, dismembered body parts and other objects spread out in the room. Scary music plays in the background and the room changes slightly with each puzzle that is solved.
Many of the puzzles consist of unlocking safes by solving riddles and exploring the room to obtain clues. Players are allowed to ask for hints, but getting hints adds time to their overall completion time.
The escape room counts some of the player completion statistics. The completion rate of the “Castle of Horror Escape Room” currently sits at 66%. Statistics about the fastest completion times are also available to view, with Leah Dubas of Monmouth University currently holding the record at six minutes and 29 seconds. The average completion time of the escape room is 25 minutes and two seconds. Reid explained that the room isn’t too hard to complete but should provide a decent challenge for students.
“The escape room is not too difficult but it requires some thinking outside the box,” Reid said. “In the beginning it may take some time but once you’re in the groove of it, there’s no stopping you! Students can go as many times as they want to get better and better.”
The Castle of Horror escape room is available through all of Halloween weekend as one of the many UConn virtual events meant to be safe alternatives to the typical in-person Halloween activities. Those who participate are implored to let other students know about the escape room but not to reveal the answers to the puzzles.
“I want students to take away from this experience that as Huskies, we may be physically distanced but we’re socially connected,” Reid said. “Regardless of any hurdles that may come our way, we’ll make it through and enjoy ourselves.”