New escape room opens in Wilmette

Outatime Games creates a mysterious Jack the Ripper adventure


Escape room is based on the house of H. H. Holmes in Wilmette | Google

Nothing puts on the pressure quite like a ticking clock. Escape Rooms are the latest activity for puzzle solving, team building, and competing against the clock. Downtown Wilmette now has an escape room of its very own: Outatime Games.

Outatime Game’s Wilmette location opened in early fall of 2018 at 1153 Wilmette Avenue, debuting the “Escape From the Whitechapel Club” challenge. Though typically escape rooms focus on getting out of the room in under an hour, your task at the Whitechapel Club is to uncover the identity of the grisly killer, Jack the Ripper, and prevent the demolition of the historical building containing evidence about his victims.

The challenge begins in a small, cement room with a group of anywhere from three to twelve people. We scoured the room for clues and keys and eventually made our way into a larger room with mysterious portraits of dogs, potential identities for Jack the Ripper, and another locked door.

The room featured some local details as well, including the 1800’s Wilmette home of H. H. Holmes. We had to solve a puzzle depicting Holme’s house at 38 John Street, which has since been demolitioned but would have been located on Eleventh Street between Lake and Central today.

Uncovering the clues involved lots of shouting, jogging between the many secret rooms, hunting for hidden symbols, and general chaos. We raced against the clock in what was a fun but frantic atmosphere, only feeling occasional frustration with our fellow group members.

We worked with twelve people to solve these complex riddles and puzzles, and nine of them were complete strangers. While we do believe having a big group is helpful for solving the room, it is oftentimes easier to be in a stressful situation with people you know well enough to yell at without hurting any feelings.

There was only one truly contentious moment during the hour. It involved an anagram, a map, a lock, and the slightly condescending Northshore mother that was in our group. In order to preserve the integrity and secrecy of the escape room, I cannot say more. However, we would recommend going with a larger group of people you know well and that you feel certain won’t give unreliable lock codes when you are getting down to the wire.

Despite a few struggles, our group was successful in discovering the identity of Jack the Ripper and preventing the building from being demolished with 8 minutes and 5 seconds to spare. Usually “mixed” groups of people that don’t know each other aren’t able to solve the puzzle, but we defied the odds and were victorious regardless.

Escaping the Whitechapel Club was an overall fun experience that focused mainly on problem-solving and puzzles. Unlike some other escape rooms, there were no jump-scares or staff members in the room with you, making this a fantastic option for people that are not fans of horror. Booking the escape room costs $35 per person, which seems a little pricey but is roughly the average price for most escape rooms nearby.

We thought the room was tricky but definitely not impossible to solve, especially with a big group. Though there are more difficult challenges out there, Outatime Games in Wilmette is a great starting point for people just discovering escape rooms. We would definitely recommend stopping by Outatime Games to try to “Escape the Whitechapel Club” if you think you can handle the challenge.