Santa Clarita families stepped into the shoes of the young protagonists of the hit show “Stranger Things” when the Valencia Library turned its meeting room upside down to create a Hawkins Middle School themed escape room.
Four groups were each given 15 minutes to solve clues hidden around the room to try to solve a series of puzzles. The Valencia library held the same “Stranger Things” escape room in July for high school students and decided to hold it again for children and families and expand it to the Canyon County and Newhall branches due to popular demand.
Valencia Library’s adult services librarian Leslie Kravitz said the escape room idea came from a librarian resource group, but the librarians at each location worked to adapt the puzzles to fit their spaces.
“It was exciting getting the props together because we got to raid our attic for ’80s supplies and to think of how to make it look like an ’80s school dance,” Kravitz said. “It was interesting to think about the different skill sets the adults and kids were bringing and how to include things that would interest both adults and kids enough to follow the clues. As you’re creating an escape room you know all the answers so it’s fun to think about how other people are perceiving it.”
Initially, the library planned to have the event available on a drop-in basis but quickly abandoned that idea in favor of advanced signups after they saw how much interest there was on social media. Kravitz said the pre-signup method allowed for much smoother setup and reset periods, especially since some groups took longer than others to complete the puzzles. Since there was such overwhelming interest in the escape room, Kravitz said the library will most likely hold the event again in the future.
Max Loveland, who has done multiple escape rooms before, completed the puzzles in approximately 10 minutes with a group of his friends.
“This was the best escape room that I’ve done because it was ‘Stranger Things’ themed and it’s me and my friends’ favorite show,” Loveland said. “The most crucial part to an escape room is the theme and the story, but I think the best part of the experience is how beneficial it is to your brain.”
His friend Joey Lewis had never done an escape room before and said that while he hoped the experience would be longer, he still enjoyed his first experience.
“I’m really glad that I did it with my friends because it’s a team-building exercise, so it helps build better relationships,” Lewis said.
Another group member, Joshua Kurtz, said that though their time in the room was short and the puzzles were a little easier, he still had a good time.
“The room wasn’t as challenging, but I still really loved it, especially for a free escape room,” Kurtz said. “It’s good that the library offers events like this because it makes people want to come out and get a book, and everyone has a good time.”
The Canyon Country library is scheduled to host its escape room on Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. The Newhall library will is scheduled to host its escape room on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.