21 Creative Escape Room Themes for Teams

By: | Updated: December 09, 2023

Here is our list of the best escape room themes.

An escape room is a game where players must escape their confinement in different rooms by solving puzzles within a time limit. Escape room themes guide the narrative of the typical escape room around familiar tropes. To win an escape room game, all participants must solve puzzles within a time limit. Examples of these escape room themes include mystery, fantasy, and horror. These activities aim to engage in a mentally stimulating exercise where all players must work together to win. These themes are also known as “escape room scenarios.”

These narratives can help you build DIY escape rooms, and also commonly appear in virtual escape rooms and escape room boxes. You can also use escape room tips to help you build your room.


This list includes:

  • escape room themes for adults
  • escape room themes for classrooms
  • funny escape room themes
  • most popular escape room themes
  • scary escape room themes

Here we go!

List of escape room themes

Escape rooms are great ways to bond with coworkers, friends, and acquaintances. However, the theme of the escape room will determine how much fun players will have. Here is a list of good themes for escape rooms.

1. Kidnapping

This escape room theme centers around abductions. The game begins with all participants blindfolded and handcuffed to a chair in a room. You and other players must figure out how to free yourselves within an hour. You can only use hidden clues, brainpower, and teamwork.

Kidnapping is an excellent example of scary escape room themes. Participants can expect a non-stop rush of adrenaline all through the game.

2. Haunted Schoolhouse

Haunted Schoolhouse is an excellent example of escape room themes for classrooms. This escape room theme engages your students both mentally and physically. A player discovers a legend of a long-gone schoolteacher rumored to haunt the halls, and drama unfurls. The ghost haunts the classrooms every year and terrorizes the students. To win this game, all players must find the ghostly teacher’s grade book before the timer runs out.

The clues in the game are related to the school’s subjects and topics. Thus, this theme is an excellent way to make learning fun.

Get our free team building toolbox

  • icebreaker games
  • bingo cards
  • DIY guides

heartby teams at FedEx, Amazon, Deloitte and 73,930+ others

Tool Box

3. Rescue Mission

A rescue mission is one of the most popular escape room themes because it has several potential scenarios. For instance, all participants can be special agents and must find a way to save the president before the timer runs out. Or, the players can be firemen who must save the victims of a burning house. The clues in the game will usually be about the missing person.

Rescue mission-themed escape rooms are usually not too scary. So, this escape room can work for teenage players.

4. Espionage

An espionage escape room is a fun escape room that involves roleplaying. You and your spy teammates are on a mission to steal valuable information for your country. There are clues to guide participants to get in, steal the secret and leave unscathed.

However, you must complete the escape room before the timer runs out. If you do not, then the police arrest all the players. Espionage is one of the funny escape room themes where all players can engage their minds, live their childhood dream of being a spy, and relax.

5. Christmas

A Christmas-themed escape room is a great way to get your coworkers, friends, family, or students excited for the holidays. Since the escape room is Christmas-themed, the narrative might revolve around a team of Christmas-saving heroes who try to find Santa, for example.

In this theme, there is no need to take the task too seriously. All the clues come from popular Christmas movies, sayings, songs, and lore. To make the experience in this escape room more fun, you can dress the part in ugly sweaters and even a fake Santa beard.

Here are more Christmas escape room ideas.

6. Wild West

The Wild West theme takes you and your gang back to the old country full of bandits, horses, and showdowns. For instance, your mission can be to find who robbed the bank in town. However, all players have to be ready because the bad guys will not go down without a fight. Clues might even lead to traps!

Participants should be ready to circle their metaphorical wagons, saddle their horses, load their guns and get to work. For players to completely immerse in the theme, dress the part in ten-gallon hats and sheriff’s badges.

7. Runaway Train

Train-themed escape rooms are some of the most popular escape room themes. The possibilities are many, from Murder On The Orient Express to haunted trains. There could be a train hijacker on board who wants to derail the train. Or, there could be a murder on the train, and you and other passengers have to figure out who did it. There will be strategically-placed clues at different points in the escape room for players to find and decode. There will also be puzzles and ciphers to solve.

8. Egyptian Explorers

This escape room takes place in an Egypt-themed area where participants are explorers. However, during the expedition into ruins in Egypt, the explorers feel the ground beneath them shake and then fall into a dark hole. The dark hole is a tomb. The timer is on for 60 minutes. You must find all the clues, get the prize, or get attacked by undead mummies.

All the clues and puzzles need some knowledge of Egyptian mythology and history. Puzzles may be hieroglyphics or hidden messages on papyrus. Make sure to brush up on Egyptian legends before starting this game!

9. Search for A Cure

A virus has infected millions of people in the world. However, there is still hope, as a crazy scientist left clues for you and your teammates. Now, all players must work together to find the clues, decipher and make the cure. You and your team must act quickly before you also succumb to the virus. This escape room is excellent for nerds who love a good science problem or disaster movie.

10. Submarine Survival

In this scenario, participants find themselves in a submarine looking for lost treasure. Unfortunately, the submarine hit a rock and began sinking. Oxygen starts running out, and water fills the hull. Players must solve the riddles, puzzles, and clues to find the exit and escape the submarine alive. This escape room theme has mystery, thrills, betrayal, fear, and danger. If you are an adrenaline junkie, then this game will be great for you.

11. Future

Future transports you into an escape room set in a time ahead of yours. This theme gives a great deal of creative freedom with the storyline and design. You can make this theme memorable for your team by choosing a virtual reality escape room and completely immersing yourself in the world of the unknown. The storyline can range from murder on a spaceship to an alien encounter.

You can make this escape room theme more interesting by wearing fun futuristic fashions.

12. Plane Survival

You are locked in a plane-themed escape room where all players are passengers. Unfortunately, the plane is about to crash, and the only way to leave is to win the game. Every player is strapped to a seat and must unfasten their seat belts in time. After leaving your seat, you must find clues that lead to a parachute, answer riddles, and solve puzzles to open the door. Thousands of feet in the sky, this escape room theme is adrenaline-inducing and fast-paced, so ensure your team is prepared before taking off.

13. Letter Room

A letter room is one of the most basic escape room themes. There is no over-the-top narrative, just a simple task to find the letters. There will be a timer, clues, riddles, and puzzles, which all lead to a letter. Players must uncover the letters within the time on the buzzer or lose. Sometimes after finding the letters, you have to form a word or a sentence.

A letter room-themed escape room is a fun and mentally engaging way to spend the weekend with family or friends.

14. Bomb Defusing

You and your team members are locked in a room. To make the situation worse, there is a bomb ticking sound in the room. Now, all participants must figure out the best way to diffuse the bomb. However, to deactivate the bomb, you must enter a code. You can find the code by solving clues and puzzles in the room.

This escape room requires players to be calm under pressure, think rationally, ignore distractions, and work together. There is no actual bomb, but the props are realistic to make the experience more engaging. Remember that if your group loses, the “bomb” explodes, spraying goo over all the players.

15. Mystery Mansion

A mystery mansion is an example of scary escape room themes for adults. The adventure starts in a house where a crazed family once lived. However, this family died of unknown causes, and the house became desolate. However, since the family’s demise, there have been rumors of evil lurking in the mansion.

You and your teammates must discover the truth about this home. All players must work together to slowly but steadily uncover all the secrets and solve the mystery.

16. Museum Heist

If you enjoyed Ocean’s Eleven, then a museum heist escape room will be up your alley. You and the other players are all hired thieves who must find and steal a particular work of art. To do this, you must dodge traps, find clues and follow them to the desired loot. Also, there is a timer; if it runs out, you are automatically caught by the police. The escape room is perfect for all ages and will give even the most experienced escape room veteran a run for their money.

17. Steampunk

A steampunk-themed escape room is about combining science, magic, Victorian-inspired designs, and steam-engine technologies. You will take a trip to the industrial era and the age of alchemy and try to solve puzzles involving clockwork and elaborate gears. This escape room theme combines well with other themes such as mystery, horror, or crime.

18. Prison Escape

You and your teammates are the bad guys in this scenario. Players are locked up, but not for long. With the help of your fellow prisoners, you will orchestrate a jailbreak. There is a trail of clues, hidden doorways, puzzles, and riddles that you must find in your quest to leave the prison. However, the prison warden has discovered your plan and will try to thwart it. The timer is running out, and the tension is high. You and your group either break out or die trying. You can immerse yourself into this theme by dressing the part in orange jumpsuits.

19. Dog’s Perspective

Escape rooms are typically created from a human perspective. However, this escape room theme takes you through the perspective of a do is what this escape room tries to bring to life. In this scenario, the world is larger because you are now pet-sized. In this escape room, you and other players must solve mysteries from a dog’s perspective.

You could pass large doggy doors, solve frisbee puzzles, and find clues based on your sense of smell. You can only win by asking yourself what a dog would do in every situation you encounter in the escape room. This theme may be unconventional, but it is a great escape room theme for dog lovers. If you are a cat lover, then you can also check out cat-themed escape rooms.

20. Military

There are many scenarios to draw inspiration from in a military-themed escape room. You can incorporate political and historical themes like the Cold war, WWI, WWII, or the Civil War. This theme can work with other themes such as mystery, crime, or sci-fi.

For instance, this escape room may require that players rescue hostages, evade enemy capture, escape a POW camp, or solve the murder of a well-liked general. The puzzles you encounter involve concepts such as morse code, espionage, military time, and coded language. To make this game more fun, you and other players can dress up in military-styled attire.

21. Disney Fantasy

Disney has an assortment of TV shows, movies, and cartoons that incorporate the element of fantasy. With this escape room theme, you do not have to choose one cartoon or movie. The puzzles and clues will test your knowledge of this magical media. You and your group can even dress up as your favorite Disney character to spice up the game.

For instance, the evil queen may have captured Snow White, and you must save her. Or, you could have to race against time to save the 1001 Dalmatians. There are so many story possibilities. If you have a family weekend, this family-friendly escape room might be a great way to keep your group having fun.


Escape rooms are a great way to bond with family, coworkers, friends, and strangers. A well-crafted escape room theme immerses you into the lore and gives you an escape from reality. Many escape room themes elevate the traditional escape room experience from mystery to science fiction. Feel free to combine the themes for a unique experience, such as horror and military or hostage and Sci-fi theme combinations.

Next, check out Halloween escape room ideas and holiday party themes.

Book wildly fun team building events with expert hosts

View experiences
team building event banner

FAQ: Escape room themes

Here are answers to questions about escape room themes.

What are escape room themes?

Escape room themes are stories that guide an escape room game. The escape room theme controls the type of puzzle, riddles, clues, traps, and decor. The purpose of these themes is to challenge the players in a particular way and make the escape room more immersive. A good escape room theme aligns with and hooks the player’s interest from the beginning for a most pleasurable experience.

Now, check out virtual escape rooms in Canada and virtual escape rooms in Australia.

What are some good themes for escape rooms?

Some good themes for escape rooms include:

  • Horror
  • Prison
  • Military
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-fi
  • Steampunk
  • Future
  • Crime
  • Investigation

These themes can overlap and include more specific storylines and sub-themes.

What are the most common themes for escape rooms?

The most common themes for an escape room are horror, mystery, thriller, and fantasy. However, future, prison,  and military escape room themes are also gaining attention.

How do you choose an escape room theme?

Here are some guidelines for choosing an escape room theme:

  1. First, consider the interest of other players, whether it be your family, friends, or coworkers. Think about the themes that appeal to your teammates too.
  2. Choose an age-appropriate escape room. There are some escape room themes for adults only.
  3. Take complexity into account and select a theme based on how much energy you want to put into the activity. Some themes are generally more challenging, for instance, espionage.
  4. Discuss your considerations and options with the group. Selecting a theme as a group is the key to getting all participants on board and excited.

Your work is not done after you choose a theme. Try to keep all participants updated with your plans and ensure that everyone has fun.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


Share this article:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get our free team building tool box

$49 value at no cost.

Tool Box

Enter your email for instant access