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"The Corona Carl™ Caper" Escape Room Party

Gay Couple Waiting to Adopt Creates An Epic New Year's Eve Escape Room Party For Their Niece And Nephews.

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The New Year’s Eve Detective Agency has declassified a dossier of top-secret documents confirming that Global Super-Villain, Corona Carl™ has struck again.

Sources closest to the events in question confirm that on New Year’s Eve Corona Carl™ attempted to keep the world stuck in the year 2020. FOREVER!

The Associated Press confirms that there was good news… and bad news…

GOOD NEWS: Carl’s master plan was spoiled when the NYE Detective Agency discovered that 2021 had been locked in a trunk by Carl Himself. The trunk was quickly recovered.

BAD NEWS: Corona Carl™ managed to escape – and his trunk remains locked by a spin dial master lock (the kind you’d find on a middle school locker – because that’s exactly what it was) and a ticking time bomb (the kind made out of toilet paper tubes and red construction paper – because that’s exactly what it was).

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Corona Carl™ left the instructions that if his lock wasn’t cracked by the stroke of midnight (MTN) that his bomb would destroy the new year… and 2020 would never end.

Clearly 2021 is ticking away – so how did the NYE Special Agents save the day in time?




Jeff and I had just moved to Denver in October 2020. We made the move so we could be closer to our family – so we were very excited to have arrived in time to celebrate all of the upcoming holidays with them!

It takes a village – so we divided up holiday hosting duties. Jeff and I were excited to get to host New Year’s Eve! There were going to be 4 kids at the party – so we knew we wanted to have an exciting activity to keep them entertained. At Halloween, Maddie (the oldest of the four) was dressed as an M.I.B. Agent and lamenting that an escape room she was dying to go to was closed… so “Corona Carl™” and his NYE caper were born.

We spent November and December dreaming up all of the twists and turns of Carl’s evil plot. We built props, we placed clues, we even invented special effects! It was so much fun to create. As Christmas approached our excitement really grew! Whenever we were with any of the family we would drop playful hints that we had something big planned for NYE.

“Wear something you can move in.”

Even the grownups were getting geeked.

On the big night the kids, both big and small, burst through our doors ready to play. Jeff and I (henceforth known as “Handler Pickles” and “Handler Ranger,” respectively) escorted the kids (henceforth known as “Special Agents”) into the guest room (henceforth known as the NYE Detective Agency secret briefing room).

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The Special Agents were so excited -- they were going bonkers -- but as soon as Handler Pickles and I put on aviator sunglasses and dropped into our best “spy voices” we regained control of the room.

We showed them a photo of Corona Carl™ (which was actually a picture of Jeff Photoshopped into a villainous cape, fur hat, monocle and mustache) and briefed them on our latest intel.

But before they could be deemed “field ready” they each needed to face “the bad guy scanner.” (The kind made from a small Amazon box with a laser level inside.) They each passed with flying colors – you just can’t be too careful these days.

Then (and only then) were they given their spy aliases:

  • “Fancy Drew”

  • “Steel Cobra”

  • “The Hammer”

  • “Rah-Rah”

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Each of the grown-ups had been given a case file with a top-secret mission inside: They were responsible for hiding all clues that Corona Carl™ “left behind.”



The full caper took place in our basement – the special agents raced downstairs to explore the scene of the crime. Corona Carl™ had left a whole slew of clues behind in his hasty escape.

Handler Pickles and I explained that the agents needed to complete three missions.

At the end of each mission they would receive one of the numbers to Corona Carl’s™ combination lock.

Once they completed all three, they’d be able to crack the lock and save the day!

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Our highly observant special agents quickly deduced that the dynamite perched atop Carl’s trunk was, in fact, made out of toilet-paper tubes and red construction paper – so the illusion of any real imminent danger was squashed – but we quickly got the agents refocused and excited on their first mission.


MISSION No. ONE - "Carl's Clue Room"

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Carl had left behind a codex for cracking a secret message – but many of the letters were blank. Luckily Carl left behind a note confirming that everything our Agents would need to crack his code was in the guest room… but first the agents would have to figure out a way in, because Carl locked the door!

The NYE Detective Agency doesn’t back down from a challenge: they quickly found an alternate way in through the ensuite bathroom.

Inside they would need to find 10 red index cards that Carl hid. Each card had a letter written on the back.

When combined and unscrambled the cards would spell out a word: F-L-A-S-H-L-I-G-H-T.

“HQ” provided each Special Agent with a black light flashlight. We returned to the guest room, turned off the lights, and the Agents discovered Carl had written all over the walls with invisible ink – a secret that only black light could reveal.

Our agents went bonkers a second time. Soon the room was jam packed because even the grownups had to check it out.

Carl had written taunts and trash talk on the walls – but he also left behind clues to fill in the rest of his codex. Once the codex was complete Agent “Fancy Drew” was able to crack Corona Carl’s™ contemptuously cantankerous code.

The first number to the combination was SIXTEEN.


MISSION No. TWO- "Collect Carl's Coins"

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The second mission was a straight up treasure hunt. In his haste to escape, Corona Carl™ left cold coins scattered across the basement – but they could only be found by following his clue trail. If our agents could collect all of Carl’s coins then they’d be able to crack the second number of the combination.

The first clue was left behind in an envelope. Inside were only two things: Carl’s first coin, and a dryer sheet. This led our agents to the dryer – inside they found a Christmas ornament and a baggie of more coins. This led our agents to the Christmas tree… and so on and so forth, until they reached the final clue: a jig-saw puzzle box.

…did they have to build a puzzle?

…But the box was sealed shut...

…Ah! What’s this?

A small tab of paper stuck out the side of the box with the instructions to “pull slowly.”

“The Hammer” stepped up and followed orders. As he slowly pulled the tab it became clear that the tab was actually the end of a very long – and very skinny - scroll of paper. The scroll revealed that the second digit of the combination could be calculated by dividing the total number of coins collected by four. (This also divided up the coins so that each special agent got an equal share of the treasure – strictly off the books.)

The second number to the combination was SIX.


MISSION No. THREE - "Who Has The Key?"

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This mission was probably the most fun. The agents were getting very excited to get Carl’s trunk open – and this mission required the participation (and a few acting skills) from the grownups.

Before Corona Carl™ made his escape, he planted a clue on each of the grownups at the party, but Carl also hypnotized the grown-ups, so they don’t remember anything about the clue in their pocket.

Luckily, Carl also gave each grown up their own secret password. If the right password is whispered into their ear they’ll snap out of their hypnosis and share their clue!

To figure out each password our agents would need to solve Carl’s rhyming riddles. Like this one:

Agent Fancy Drew read each riddle aloud. As soon as the agents solved the riddle – thus learning a password that would work on one of the grownups – they’d work the room trying it out on each of us until someone was “unlocked” and presented the agent with a tiny envelope containing their next password riddle.

The final grownup’s envelope contained a key that unlocked a hidden lock box. With great anticipation our agents huddled around the box as Agent “Steel Cobra” turned the key and opened the lid...

…But Corona Carl™ had one last twist in store: inside the box was only an index card.

A blank index card.

Moans of confusion rippled out – but Agent “Fancy Drew” had an idea right away. Could Carl be using his invisible ink again?

Everyone scrambled to find one of the black lights. A hush fell over the room as “Fancy” clicked on the light.

The final number to the combination was TWELVE.


Everyone rushed to the trunk – one turn to the right, two turns to the left, one more turn to the right, and CLICK!

Our agents flung the trunk open to find party favor treasure.

The trunk was full of New Year’s Hats, headbands, necklaces, glow jewelry, light up glasses, and LED hair extensions. Hands plunged into the trunk and soon everyone at the party was decked out in 2021’s finest.

Best of all – we saved the world together.

I’ll never forget New Year’s Eve 2021 – and I don’t think our niece or nephews will either.

It was such a joy to step back, let them work together, and just watch their faces as they figured out the case. (Like the way they’d furrow their brow when they were thinking hard, or when their eyes would get really big as an answer started to come together.)

It was beautiful to witness their pride of accomplishment. All of the kids were waking a little taller – with a little swagger even.

At midnight we all assembled on the back patio – each bedecked in pounds of blinking costume jewelry and armed with multiple forms of noise makers.

The sky was clear, the stars were out, and the future looked bright.

(Unless you’re Corona Carl™. He’ll be tried for crimes against humanity.)


Hello! We're Nick & Jeff

We're already partners, husbands, uncles, and best friends. Now we're seeking a promotion: we're ready to add "daddies" to that list. Even as little boys we longed to become fathers one day – it’s a dream that means the world to us. We're waiting to adopt. This is our adoption profile.


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