Supplies: Noisy objects that will not get ruined or damage the floor if they fall. Bungee Cord, twine, or rope.
Escapees quickly learn to never just open their door Christmas morning. There are so many obstacles you can set up behind doors, they will never know if that swinging door is harmless or rigged to some noisy contraption. They will have to carefully check things out first.
To set-up this obstacle, attach a bungee cord or twine from the doorknob of their closed bedroom door to the doorknob of an open door across the hall. Opening their door will pull the other door closed. It is important that you have some slack in the rope, enough slack that the trap is actually possible. My parents usually left enough only slack to open the door wide enough to reach a hand out. With that space, we could fiddle with the knot until we could get it untied, or unhook the bungee, or if we slept with scissors, we could try to cut through it.
It’s not enough to just to tie the doors together. We also want it to make some noise. Here are a few suggestions to make it noisy:
- Balance a cookie sheet with silverware on top of the open door. The slightest amount of movement will cause it to fall to the floor. You can also do a pot, as show in the picture, but make sure you consider damage to the pot or the flooring it will land on if it does topple.
- In the doorway of the partially open door, put something that will tip over if the door is pulled shut. Consider a pitcher from your kitchen, a canister or an insulated mug. Fill it with silverware or jingle bells, so when the door tips it, it will clatter as it falls. The item must be able to topple and not just slide with the door.
- Tape a balloon to the doorway. If the pull too tight, they’ll feel resistance at first, and then a big pop.
If you don’t have doorways opposite each other, you can also attach the rope to an item that is balanced a few feet away from the door. Suggestion - Stack a pile of books or even place a chair a few feet from the door. Set a pitcher with utensils on top. Tie the rope to the pitcher. When the door opens too much, it will pull the pitcher down.
To make this obstacle easier...
1. Use more slack in the rope
2. Don’t have any noise makers. Just the shutting of the other door or tipping of a pitcher, even a plastic pitcher can create noise.
3. If they are first time escapees, warn them beforehand to be cautious about the door. Provide them a mirror so they can try to catch a glimpse of the trap from under their door.
To make this obstacle more difficult....
1. Use less slack in the rope
2. If using the balloon option, attach a pin to the doorway. The slightest brush again the pink will pop it. The longer you carry on this tradition, the more careful your escapees become.
3. Make the knot difficult to untie, or the rope from a material that is hard to cut.
4. Balance things more precariously.