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Escape room at Woodlawn in Littleton offers fun and frights

'Lights Out' features horror-themed challenges

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Forget bowling. Want a real team-building exercise? Try working together to escape a murderous clown.

Lights Out Escape Rooms, tucked away in the southwest corner of the Woodlawn Shopping Center at Windermere Street and Littleton Boulevard, features three “scenarios” — rooms where teams work together to solve puzzles, games and riddles to “escape” before the time limit.

Lights Out's scenarios are Zombie Nursery, where participants seek to placate a horde of pint-size zombie babies; Survivor Vs. Survivor, which pits teams against each other to survive a zombie apocalypse, and Big Top Horror, where teams work to flee wicked clowns in a dark carnival.

Lights Out is the brainchild of Justin Goodchild, who said the idea was the outgrowth of his increasingly elaborate home Halloween displays.

“I was going to do an escape room in my garage this year, but it just kept growing in my mind until I realized I wanted to go all-out,” Goodchild said.

Lights Out opened on March 30, and Goodchild is hosting a grand opening event on May 11, featuring barbecue, beer and chances to outwit Goodchild's tricky puzzles.

Escape rooms have grown in popularity in recent years, with numerous such businesses opening around the metro area, catering to birthday parties, corporate team-building, and other groups with a penchant for untangling enigmas.

Goodchild's designs focus on light and darkness — hence the name Lights Out. In the Survivor Vs. Survivor room, teams start out in total darkness except for a single hand-crank flashlight. Goodchild's puzzles are a mix of electronic and analog riddles.

For the claustrophobic types: No, you're not actually locked in the rooms, but your team does get disqualified for opening the door.

Lights Out also features a sizable social lounge, called “The Sanctuary,” which is free and open to the public. The lounge — featuring delightful décor like a row of impaled zombie heads — is stocked with board games and puzzles, and a projector screen where Goodchild shows horror films. He played all the "Friday the 13th" movies on April 13, a Friday.

Replete with a menu of wine and beer, Goodchild said he looks forward to hosting parties and clubs in the social lounge.

“My ideal concept is that teams can be cycling in and out of the escape rooms, and mingling with other folks in the lounge between rounds,” Goodchild said. He said he's working to bring different groups to the lounge, including trivia nights and speed dating events.

“It would make for a (good) first date” to do an escape room together, Goodchild said. “You'd find out real quick if you're compatible in high-stress situations.”

Goodchild, who's also a regional manager for a home security company, designed each room himself, and has more in the works. The next one will be a padded cell reminiscent of an old-school nuthouse.

Though locals are just beginning to discover Lights Out — Goodchild has hosted a few dozen teams so far — only a few have been savvy enough to beat the games.

“It can be done, but you've got to use your head,” Goodchild said.

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