The Stretch: Guide to Escape Room Monsters

With the Halloween season upon us, I thought we could discuss something scary today: Monsters! They walk among us and hide in the shadows under our beds- creeping, crawling, slithering, and the like. It would seem only natural that a few monsters would follow us into our escape rooms as well; lurking there unseen until they are ready to pounce!

Today, I will be lifting the cloak on one such monster and revealing it to the world; all so that we may better protect ourselves from it. I can no longer stand idly by watching this abominable beast get away with attack after attack on escape room players. So put on your brand-new reality-vision sunglasses folks. Let’s discuss The Stretch.

The Stretch lives in every escape room, regardless of theme. If you have ever played an escape game I can almost guarantee that you’ve encountered this beast at least once before; sometimes without you realizing it! This monster can prey on players of all ages and skill levels. It is an insidious hunter capable of influencing its victims and striking before you ever know it is there.

But do not fear, dear reader, for I am here to teach you what you need to survive any attack The Stretch may throw your way. Stick with me, and you will walk out of every Escape Room experience knowing it was YOU making those decisions, not The Stretch.

First, we will discuss the most important question of all: what is The Stretch? It tends to sneak into the room right behind players as they enter, possessing a person at some point during the game; sometimes with frightening immediacy. Often, The Stretchtargets one player at a time, but in more severe cases the entire group could become afflicted. As far as I am aware, there is no way of ridding the world of The Stretch.  Fortunately for you, however, there are ways to fight it off.

The Stretch will subtly possess your friends’ thoughts and words. It will then force its target to act and say things that would seem absolutely ridiculous in the normal world. Lucky for you I am a Game Master/survivor that has witnessed numerous attacks by this creature. Here are my hard-earned tips on how to identify someone that is being influenced by The Stretch.


Did you find the manufacturer’s mark on the bottom of a chest and now you’re trying it on every lock? That’s The Stretch. Seriously. Think about what you’re doing before you do it. The Stretch feeds on incessant guessing.


Are you counting letters in the alphabet, just because? Turning letters into numbers based on their placement in the alphabet? That’s The Stretch. Unless, of course, you are told to do so, you will never need to count letters.


Did you try a code one way and someone thinks you should try it again, but backwards? That’s The Stretch. Try a little, don’t make yourself easy prey.


Are you wasting time trying a 4 digit code on a 5 digit lock? That’s The Stretch. Look around! Take stock of the room before trying a lock!


Are you considering breaking previously laid out rules to accomplish something? That’s The Stretch.Generally, it is wise to never attempt to break anything. You’re simply wasting time and feeding The Stretch’s animalistic instincts.


Are you using clues you previously used on another puzzle? That’s The Stretch. Unless SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED, you will never need to reuse clues.


Are you insisting on working on one lock before the other with no other reason other than “it feels right?” That’s The Stretch. Oh, it got you good on that one. Don’t worry, this is the most commonly used strategy of The Stretch, so keep your pride in your pocket!


Are you trying to bring in all of your knowledge of the X-Files to solve a sci-fi themed room? The Stretch LOVES picking out that one guy or girl in the group that knows the most about the subject material. Filling their heads with lies, it insists they should use their encyclopedic knowledge about X-Files to solve the room and prove how smart they are. THAT’S The Stretch. Again, pride àpocket.


There you have it, lads and lasses of Escape Rooms everywhere. Now YOU are prepared to enter any room with the tools and weapons to identify and vanquish The Stretch before it keeps you locked away forever. Just remember, you can never be smarter than a room to solve it; that will only lead to overthinking, overanalyzing, and an exponential growth of Stretch attacks. So next time your friend tries to lead you astray with ideas of absurdity, you can slap them with the truth (metaphorically speaking, of course) and keep your team on the road of logic– the road to escape!

Zach Dahm
Asst. Manager and Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games