Clue Carre – The Fright Before Christmas [Review]

Tomb many secrets

Location: Metairie, Louisiana

Date Played: March 8, 2023

Team Size: up to 8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: None

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Fright Before Christmas was an understated yet enjoyably puzzle-forward experience that would make a smooth and accessible introduction to escape rooms for families.

Whereas Clue Carré’s other most recent offerings, like The Voodoo Cemetery, have upped the immersion, set design, and tech, The Fright Before Christmas pulled back on those bells and whistles, opting instead for a more compact and streamlined experience. There was very little set exploration, lots of old-school locks, and lots of puzzles.

Within this classic format, Clue Carré accomplished a lot with a little. The puzzles were tactile and thematic, fitting the space even when there was no real story. The lock mapping was consistently clear, with small labels next to each lock hinting at the corresponding puzzle. The game flowed well, with a few puzzles available in parallel at a time, gated by intermediate meta sequences.

A cemetery and mausoleum with large rod iron gates.

If you are new to escape rooms or have kids, The Fright Before Christmas is a great starter option, and The Game Museum is also worth a play while you’re at Clue Carré’s Metairie location. For escape room enthusiasts, you may want to pass on this one — the gameplay felt light for a 60-minute room, and the cemetery setting paled in comparison to that in The Voodoo Cemetery.

Who is this for?

  • Newbies
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Halloween fans

Why play?

  • You’re a family looking for a smooth entry-level escape room
  • You love all things Halloween


Santa had lost his magical hat, and we had to make our way through a graveyard in Halloween City to find it.

A large, strange sculpture with compartments beside a series of locked cabinets and drawers.


The Fright Before Christmas took us to a lightly spooky (but not scary) graveyard. Cryptic tombstones and other stone-looking surfaces lined the walls, and a metal gate blocked off the entrance to an inner crypt.


Clue Carré’s The Fright Before Christmas was a standard escape room with a low-to-moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around making connections and solving puzzles.


➕ The gameplay flowed well, providing an accessible introduction to escape room puzzles for beginners while still including plenty of enjoyable process for more experienced players.

➖/➕ There were so many locks. Each new stage of the game took the form of a cabinet with 3-5 new combination locks, a repeated structure which quickly became quite predictable. If you’re looking for a more tech-driven adventure, this might not be the game for you. Yet, it was consistently clear which puzzle associated with which lock, making this a thoughtful take on a classic escape room format.

The Fright Before Christmas was all about the puzzles. There was relatively little set exploration or discovery compared to Clue Carré’s other experiences, but the puzzles were consistently tactile and thematic, making for smaller moments of puzzle discovery.

➖ Though it was transparent how to approach one puzzle, the visual implementation was perhaps too transparent.

🍬 A trick-or-treating themed puzzle brought back sweet memories of crouching on a random stoop on Halloween night, trading candy with my friends.

➖ The last puzzle felt small and anticlimactic in the space. There was a missed opportunity to integrate cluing into the set and make a moment out of the final reveal.

❓ There was a nice density of puzzles, but they verged on being too overtly signposted, and many chunks of content were available in parallel. For escape room enthusiasts, I’d recommend sticking together throughout the game, unless you’re in a rush or trying to set a record. (As a benchmark, my 2-player team took our time, didn’t split up, and still finished in around 30 minutes.)

🎅 The game’s title felt potentially misleading. This was a fully Halloween game with a Santa hat at the end. If you are looking for a Christmas game, look elsewhere. (But if, like me, Halloween is your favorite holiday, then yay!)

Tips For Visiting

  • This game is located at Clue Carré’s Metairie location.
  • There is a small parking lot.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Fright Before Christmas, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

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