Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Stranger Things themed Escape Room
Today we are debuting a new regular column that focuses on teen programming with a new TLT contributor: Cindy Shutts. She’ll be joining us on the first and third Wednesday of each month to talk teen programming. Today Cindy is sharing the basic framework for hosting a Stranger Things themed Escape Room. We’re going to assume you are familiar with the basics of Stranger Things to host this Escape Room, if not you can check it out on Netflix. Please note, there are some Stranger Things based novels coming out soon.
To learn more about the basics of hosting an Escape Room, please check out Breakout Edu as they have basic kits that you can use as a foundation. You can also read a couple of previous posts on Escape Rooms here at TLT:
Basic program premise . . .
Your teens will be “locked” in the library and in order to escape, they must unravel a mystery, find the secret codes, and “unlock” the boxes to survive or meet your end goal. Most escape rooms give participants an hour to escape.
Plot: Tonight is the Hawkins Middle School Halloween Dance. The gang must save Dart’s Son and return him to the upside-down before anything bad happens in Hawkins.
You could use the Breakout Edu kit
4 number lock
3 number lock
Two lock boxes
Stuffed Demi Gordon or printed picture
Stranger thing Christmas light blanket or picture
Box of 80’s toys
Dungeons and Dragon character sheets and D and D dice
President Reagan picture
Old Halloween records
For any documents I used the courier font since it is similar to a typewriter font.
Instructions: I made sure I read the prompt so everyone knew what was going on. I also let them know they had two hints. I am prepared to always add one more hint later on if they need it.
Red Herrings: I hung a picture of President Ronald Reagan like many schools would have had hanging up in classrooms in the 1980’s. I had the Dungeons and Dragons items that mean nothing.
Word Lock: I used the word “Spell” because it is one of the easy words you can use for the lock. I used the color code that went along with the stranger thing Christmas light blanket. Colored pieces of paper will be hidden in the room. This lock was placed on the large box.
4 Number Lock: I put some old records together and made a playlist and the order of the songs are on the records is the lock code. I ripped the printed copy so it looks like there might be more songs, but I only used these four. This list was in the small box. The lock was placed on the large box.
Hawkins Middle School Dance Music List
- Witches’ Brew
- Monster’s Three Wishes
- Counting Is Wonderful
- The Count’s Weather Report
3 Number Lock: I made secret memo from the US Department of Energy in Hawkins. I put the memo in the toys box. This lock was placed on the small box.
US Department of Energy: Hawkins Laboratory Memo
October 15, 1985
Subject three is missing. We do not know where it is. It must be eliminated before it can cause damage in the town. We cannot risk any more mistakes. Nine soldiers are hunting it down. We need zero mistakes on this mission.
Key Lock: The key lock was placed on the larger box. The key was placed in the small box.
Results: This was one of my most successful escape rooms. The program completely filled up and I had great feedback from the teens. I ran two sessions of it.
For Stranger Things read-alikes, check out these lists:
Cindy Shutts, MLIS
Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.
Filed under: Teen Programming
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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