Elevators are pretty cool inventions. Not only do they go up, but they also go down, too. Sadly, one of the best things about elevators, that is, the chance of it failing and giving you zero gravity followed by the sweet release of death, is not as present as many of us might think.

Did you know that elevators have not one, not two, but six to eight cables that do the heavy lifting? Did you know that each cable can carry the weight of the entire elevator, so even if five cables fail you’re still safe? There’s also the fact that if the motor which lifts and lowers the elevator was to fail, there are counterweights that actually bring the elevator up instead of sending it crashing down. Up there at the top there’s a specially designed brace to safely stop the elevator, even at full speed.

Those same springs are at the bottom of the elevator, too. Not that they’d likely be necessary since elevators have brakes that automatically clamp if the elevator goes below the bottom floor, bringing you to a safe drop. That’s right, elevators are designed to be pretty darn safe.

If you’re like me, you were probably pretty disappointed to find out how safe and boring elevators are. The constant risk of a surprise visit to the Lord every time I take a trip through a large building is one of the things that previously would remind me of my mortality, ultimately motivating me to treat each day with respect, and driving me to give at least some effort on my studies.

However, before I dug out the old repelling kit to bring some form of excitement back to my vertical travels, or worse, started using stairs again, I figured there might be some other fun ways to liven up elevator travel and once again bring them back as something to look forward to. Turns out, I was right! And so, today I’ve compiled a list of some great elevator activities to do with your friends, coworkers, and complete strangers to liven up their experiences as well as your own!

Some of these ideas I came up with, but some are pulled from all around the web. Sources will be listed at the bottom, as always! Enjoy!

Fun things to do in an Elevator, a List

  • Face away from the door towards the wall as you ride. The anxiety you bring to other riders is palpable!
  • When going up, put on a pair of goggles, a helmet, and say “did I remember to pack the jetpack?” Check your bag and say, “oh good.”
  • Have a scratch ticket and ask if you can borrow a coin from someone. Then shout “Weee!” as you pretend to drop them through the crack in the floor when the elevator doors open. Don’t actually do it, please.
  • Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
  • When there’s only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder, then pretend it wasn’t you.
  • Hum the Jeopardy theme.
  • Bring a fake spider.
  • Since the “open doors” and “close doors” buttons aren’t hooked up to anything (no really, they aren’t), while ridding the elevator with lots of fellow passengers, start humming a song and use those two useless buttons as drums.
  • Push the elevator buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.
  • When you’re on a long trip up and want the elevator to yourself, mutter just loud enough for others to hear, “Okay, but if I do that you’ll make the voices stop, right?” Just like that, everyone will get off on the next stop, leaving you in peace!
  • Ask if you can push the button for other people but push the wrong ones.
  • Just before getting off, look up a the ceiling of the elevator and mutter to yourself, “That can’t be safe.” and leave.
  • Say, “Ding!” at each floor.
  • This one requires a specific environment, but if you’re at an airport or another place where there are multiple doors and you’re heading down, figure out which door will open at the lobby. When you get on, press the lobby button and face the wrong door. Everyone else will think that must be the side that opens and join you! Once you get there, everyone will have an awkward slow turn to face the right way.
  • Announce in an unnatural voice: “I must find a more suitable host body.”
  • Pull out a musical instrument and start playing in the elevator. The bigger the better! You’d be surprised how often people join in, especially around the holidays. Not musically inclined? Harmonicas work too!
  • Pull out your phone and act like you’re someone important, saying stuff like “I’ll be up in a minute, everyone better be working hard,” or “Yeah I’m coming in now, make sure all the new people are ready,” then say, “What do you mean all the elevators need to be shut down and replaced?” Just as you get off.
  • Listen to the elevator walls with a stethoscope. Works great if you’re in a medical building.
  • When you get in a crowded elevator, stand at the front right next to the door. Turn around to face everyone and say, “So… you’re all probably wondering why I gathered you all here today.” Optionally proceed to give them all names of your choosing and tell them how they need to improve their work.
  • Find the crappiest poetry you can (or write your own) and ask a stranger if they would mind listening to a very short poem for your wife and give you their thoughts. Proceed to read it with a straight face if possible.
  • Choose a famous poem and do the same thing as above, claiming you wrote it.
  • Dressed in coveralls, get in a full elevator and when the door closes, push the stop button, post an out of order sign inside and go to work on the access panel, saying “This may take a minute.” On second thought, maybe don’t do that.
  • Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside ask: “Got enough air in there?”
  • Something wholesome: choose someone that looks like they’re having a long day and say to them, “Oh, you must be the model the marketing department sent over for the photoshoot.” When they tell you their not, just say they looked so beautiful or handsome you thought they had to be the model.
  • On the highest floor, hold the door open and demand that it stay open until you hear the penny you dropped down the shaft go “plink” at the bottom.
  • Set up a desk in the elevator and ask if people have an appointment when they walk in. Extra points if you work there and move your actual desk in.
  • Show the other passengers a wound and ask if looks infected.
  • Bet the other passengers you can fit a quarter in your nose.
  • Stand in the corner, reading a telephone book, laughing uproariously.
  • When the doors close, announce to the others, “It’s okay, don’t panic, they open up again.”
  • When the doors open, pretend that you bounce off a force field when you try to leave.
  • After someone exits the elevator, just as the doors are closing, say “Wait, you forgot your…”
  • When going down, press the button for 3 floors. Get off at the first stop, run down and get back on the same elevator on the third spot.
  • Offer name tags and a marker to people who enter the elevator.
  • As someone gets off, follow them and hold your finger to ear while saying “Target on the move.”
  • Bring a cooler that says, “human head” on the side.
  • Hold a toaster with bread in it.
  • If you’re amongst friends, announce in a computer like voice “this lift will self destruct in 5 4 3 2 …..oh here’s my floor”
  • Ask each passenger getting on if you can push the button for them. Say that you like how it feels with extra emphasis on the word “feels.”
  • If you work in a hospital, When the elevator is silent, look around and ask “is that your beeper?”
  • Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers that this is your “personal space.”
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Dress like a flight attendant. Once on the elevator, start instructing passengers what to do in an emergency. Pre-record the voice part if you want to really commit.
  • Pretend to see a spider, repeatedly and violently stamp on the floor while screaming “Die you bastard, die! DIIEEE!”
  • Meow occasionally.
  • Whistle the Russian national anthem.




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