A jar of pickles is not what you'd expect to find in a box containing your worst nightmare, but that's the sort of custom touch Chris Krajacic and Jesse Mount bring to their escape room customers.
Mr Krajacic and Mr Mount built Canberra's first escape room in Mr Krajacic's dads' garage back in 2016. People traversed the winding back alleys of Franklin to enter through their backyard where their boisterous husky dog Dexter often gave customers a fright.
Since then, Mr Krajacic and Mr Mount have opened four rooms in an office block in Mitchell where they're single-handedly building five more rooms. They're also starting a whole new franchise in Adelaide. Business is booming.
Mr Mount, formerly a public servant, and Mr Krajacic, an ex-teacher, are widely regarded as Canberra's escape room masterminds.
Despite their erudite air, neither of them have any formal training in engineering, carpentry, game-design or business - professions they dabble in on a daily basis. The pair taught themselves how to build puzzle rooms by watching YouTube videos and resolutely refuse to hire anyone to help construct the incredibly complicated, technical rooms.
In a nutshell, an escape room is a team-based game where people utilise clues and solve puzzles to get out of a themed room within a time limit. The phenomenon has spread like wildfire internationally since its inception in 2007.
A lot of weird and wonderful things happen in Canberra's escape rooms.
That's why Mr Mount and Mr Krajacic weren't surprised when Ha and Joe came to them with the idea of a double wedding proposal.
Ha and Joe are both auditors by occupation, not your archetypal escape room enthusiasts. They've been best friends since uni and decided to propose to their partners together using the Trojan horse of Joe's birthday to get everyone there.
Mr Krajacic and Mr Mount quickly whipped them up a laser-cut puzzle in a box, which when solved, read in Korean: "Will you walk with me?" for Ha's partner Kiara, and "Will you hold my hand?" in Chinese for Joe's partner Summer. Kiara and Summer both said yes.
"When I first went into the room and saw the box, deary me, my heart was jumping out of my chest," Ha says.
"When they turned around to see us kneeling, that was the best moment - time slowed down, my vision went blurry, I couldn't see anything."
Ana Paula Lacerda is a writer for Lock Me If You Can escape room blog and is "probably the biggest escape room enthusiast in Canberra," Mr Krajacic says.
She holds the current record here for most escape rooms completed, boasting 234 across eight countries. Although Ana's success rate is more than 90 per cent, she plays for enjoyment, not glory.
"We're not one hundred per cent nerds, 90 per of the time we are, but 10 per cent we fail," Lacerda says with a laugh.
"I always liked puzzles, solving things, mystery movies and video games so I think escape rooms tie all of those things together."
You can never quite predict who will walk through the doors of an escape room in Canberra. Mr Mount and Mr Krajacic said one time a rugby team rocked up with a sports psychologist who administered saliva tests to the players during the game to test their stress levels.
On another occasion, there was a double date where one couple made out on a table the whole time whilst the other couple continued the game around them. "Sometimes people just give up and lie down in a foetal position," Mr Mount says.
Escape rooms are an international phenomenon right now. The South China Morning Post reported that exhausted students and young professionals in Hong Kong are turning to puzzle rooms as a respite from daily stress.
In 2016, Obama completed one with just seconds to spare in Hawaii. In Canberra, a toddler on a rampage recently ripped Mr Krajacic and Mr Mount's room to shreds. This is the current state of affairs in escape rooms world wide.
Sera Dodd from the Netherlands flies across Europe to complete as many as 10 escape rooms per weekend in different countries. In her spare time, she's a doctor. Mr Mount and Mr Krajacic are in awe of the four or five hundred rooms she's played.
"She's only ever failed two rooms," Mr Mount says.
Although escape rooms are a seemingly harmless nerdy affair, there have been disasters in the past. In January, five teenage girls died tragically in a fire whilst completing an escape room in Poland.
"One of the things with horrible international rooms is that they actually lock people in the rooms. A lot of them got closed down after they got audited," Mr Mount says.
"Last year in Sydney all of the escape rooms got audited because someone from the council went to a poorly made escape room and thought, 'Holy crap this is a death trap'."
"There are a few in Australia which are potentially really dangerous but 99 per cent understand safety is important."
Revelation Puzzle Rooms owner Emile says interest in escape rooms has "exploded" in Canberra in the last couple of years.
"We get people here who've smashed out all of the escape rooms in Canberra and are like: 'We just need more to play; we have to travel to Sydney or Melbourne to play more,'" he says.
"They're all different and creative, and they're picking up."
The numbers back this up. According to Google Trends, the search term "escape room" is more popular in the ACT than any other Australian state over the last five years.
Three of the top 10 fun activities and games in Canberra are escape rooms, as rated on Tripadvisor.
What started as a solitary room in a garage, is now a burgeoning business spanning four companies with 12 rooms. There are new rooms expected to be opened this year.
"A lot of people still don't know what an escape room is or haven't tried one so the industry in Australia is on the upswing," Mr Krajacic says.
"Canberra's still got a while before it hits its peak."