Escape Room Birthday Party Part 1: Tips for Planning Your Child’s Party

Can’t face another birthday party at your local trampoline park/ arcade/ laser tag center? Consider an escape room birthday party instead! We have held several of these in recent years at our kids’ requests and they’ve all been hits! Having hosted multiple escape room parties with groups of tweens and teens, we have some tips for how to plan and run a successful escape room party.

Blue & purple box with pink text reads: "Planning An Escape Room Birthday Party" flanked by two birthday cake emoji.

TBH, there are some disadvantages

There are a couple of disadvantages to an escape room party:

  • There’s a guest limit. You’re not going to be able to invite your kid’s entire class + neighborhood + scout troop. Most rooms have a cap of 8-12 people, and some of those people have to be adults. (More on this below)
  • You won’t be able to say, “It’s laser tag. Just show up.” There is a bit more work do before an escape room party.
    • First, before you book the room, consider reaching out to parents to see if their kid has already done the room. And if they have, it makes a difference if the kid did it two years ago and they didn’t finish the room vs. they did it last month at another birthday party.
    • Second, at most escape rooms, everyone’s parents will have to sign a waiver. You’ll need to make sure they all sign it (That guest limit doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?)

As long as these challenges don’t dissuade you, an escape room birthday party can be great. Here’s how to get it booked!

Make sure your child (and their friends) are a good fit

We’ve written before about which children are and aren’t good fits for escape rooms. While you might be comfortable taking your own six-year-old to an escape room, remember that a birthday party involves multiple children running around grabbing things. We generally recommend that you wait until your child is turning at least 10 or 11 before you consider hosting an escape room birthday party, unless the escape room is specifically designed for younger children. When in doubt, we recommend talking to your local escape room owner for guidance. 

Choose a room with wide(r) appeal

Even if your 13 year old can handle a serial killer room, it doesn’t mean their friends can. Look for a room that caters to a wider variety of tastes. If possible, try not to choose the hardest room offered. Also: if your kids has friends who are also escape room enthusiasts, check to see if they’ve done the room already!

Talk to the owner/ manager

It won’t hurt to check in with the owner to make sure they’re cool with a kids’ birthday party. If the owners aren’t comfortable with kids, it’s better to know that before you show up with a bunch of them. We’ve personally never met with any resistance, especially when we mention that two adults who have done lots of rooms will be supervising. I mean, let’s be honest: a group of well-behaved 10-year-olds is likely going to be easier for the staff to deal with than a drunken bachelor party. At the very least, the kids will be 100% less drunk.

Respect the published maximum team size and include at least 2 adults

This party is not the time to invite your child’s entire class. Escape rooms will typically list how many people a room can accommodate. This number should be respected at all times, but especially when there are kids involved. Remember to include the adults in your count!

Should you do the room yourself ahead of time?

Confession time: The first time we hosted an escape room birthday party, we were worried that if we didn’t escape, our kid would think the party was “ruined.” So we secretly did the room ourselves a few days before the party–in other words, we looked at the answers. Cut to: Peter and Emily back in the room, watching a bunch of 4th graders breeze through puzzles that we needed hints on. It was… humbling.

So, while there might be advantages to having some bonus gamemasters in the room, it’s probably not necessary.

What about the cake?

Either your escape room has a party room or it doesn’t. If they do, they can tell you whatever you need to know about setting up for pizza/ cake/ drinks/ carrot sticks. (Because now it’s a healthy party!)

If they don’t have a party room, you’ll need to get creative. Perhaps the escape room’s lobby is big enough to serve cupcakes. (Make sure you get permission AND offer your gamemaster a cupcake!) Perhaps you’ll need to go to a separate location.

If you do need to do food and escape room in two different locations, we strongly suggest doing the escape room first. Escape rooms have much more predictable timing than restaurants. Worst case scenario with food first is: a slow kitchen makes you 20 minutes late for the room. Worst case scenario with the escape room first is: you’re waiting around at the restaurant because you’re 20 minutes early–time you can spend discussing how amazing it is that you finished that room in 40 minutes!

Tune in for Part 2, when we discussing running an escape room birthday!

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