Conducting Your Scavenger Hunt

In the last post, we discussed the adaptability of the scavenger hunt to different events and to the ages of partygoers. We also talked about the general categories of items to “scavenge” along with examples of each. Today we cover what you’ll need to conduct a very ambitious scavenger hunt for a party of older teens or adults, and perhaps using cars. For a younger party, or an event where the hunt will be one of a number of activities instead of the star, you’ll simply shrink “hunting ground” boundaries, categories and/or the number of items to gather.

Scavenger Hunt Pre-Event Checklist

□ Begin with the invitations*. Notify guests in advance about the scavenger hunt so they will know to dress accordingly.

□ Devise the lists of items to find in each category and assign 1 to 5 points to each item according to your assessment of the amount of difficulty in obtaining it. Try to generate items that relate to the event theme wherever possible. If using the “questions” category, be sure to check the information as close to party time as possible.

□ Develop the hunt rules. They should include a time limit of no more than about 2-1/2 hours of the start time, and penalties of points or disqualification for such actions as interfering with other teams’ progress or getting back late. Be clear about whether or not the teams can split up to find things, whether mobile electronics aids can be used, etc. If you are using the photo category, consider requiring that a team member appear in each photo, and that each team member must appear in at least one photo – besides providing photographic proof, they will make great keepsakes later! Identify a one-hour photo service center where each team must drop its camera before returning to the party site.

□ Assign teams of 2-4 people each. Try to mix it up a little!

□ Gather supplies for each team: a bag, a one-use/disposable camera, a map, a phone book, the list of items and rules, and a couple pencils. If using, make sure the list of photos is not longer than the number of exposures in the camera.

□ Select and purchase favors for all participants, and prizes for the winning team. Gift certificates to local restaurants are generally popular.

□ Plan an ice-breaker with appetizers or other light food at the beginning of the event to create excitement and to allow teammates to get to know each other if needed.

There is a lot of work involved, but planning is key to a successful scavenger hunt — and we believe very much worth it!

*Organizational fund-raising events, as opposed to private birthday or holiday parties, will of course start a bit differently: insurance agents, budget and publicity committees, registration/eligibility requirements, etc.

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