Scavenger Hunt Party for Adults
Scavenger Hunt Party
If you’re like me, you love a good party; yet after awhile, it becomes more and more difficult to think of innovative ideas that are truly entertaining and able to wow your guests. I typically prefer theme parties because they give me an opportunity to do research into a variety of cultures, recipes, games, wardrobes, music, and other interesting areas that when put together, create an amazing party experience. One of my favorite party ideas is the adult scavenger hunt. The party idea brings together groups of guests who compete in a day-long scavenger hunt for items that can be found in your own city. If you happen to live in a large city like Chicago or New York, you may want to pare down the idea to concentrate on one area of town. But if you happen to live in a small or mid-sized city, it would be perfect for this event. Here’s how you play.
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Your invitations serve as the calling card to your unique event, so make them interesting and creative. I like to use a collage theme that represents a sampling of the items that may be found in your city. You can take pictures or download them from the internet to create the images that will serve as the background to your invitation.
Be specific about the hours of the party. Have guests meet at your home so you can divide them into teams and give oral and written instructions. It is important that everyone be on time because the more items they have to find, the more time it will take.
Make sure to note that everyone should bring a digital camera (or that there is at least one digital camera per team).
Divide your guests into teams of equal numbers if possible. Teams of no more than 4 to 6 work well. That way, they can all fit into one car.
Each team is given a printed list of clues that will lead them to the various locations where they can find the items they are looking for (examples provided below).
If there are specific instructions for what to do at each location, please note that in your clues. For example, if a team is seeking a costume shop you may want to instruct each member to try on a costume.
To verify that each team finds every item on their list, they must use their digital camera to take a picture of that item. For example, if they have found the costume shop and each try on a costume, take a picture of every person in the costume they’ve tried on.
After each team has completed their quest, they are to return to your home for the after-party. You should set a time limit so that there are not teams coming back an hour or more before the others.
The After Party
After teams have all returned, you may have hors d’eurves and drinks. Have each team talk about their experiences. See how many teams located all the items on their list. If none were able to finish within the time frame, figure out which teams had the most items completed. There should be prizes for each member of those teams. You can make these prizes as silly, serious, simple or grandiose as you wish.
If there were any clues that people could not figure out, you can tell them what the items were. Since you are making the clues somewhat cryptic, there might be teams that cannot figure out one or two of their items, but that is part of the fun.
Have teams hook their digital cameras up to your computer and show everyone their photos. You can upload the photos and send a variety of them out to everyone after the party has ended with an email thanking them for coming.
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Examples of Clues
I happen to live in the capitol city of Wisconsin, so there is no shortage of interesting places to send people. If you live in a smaller city where there are fewer things to do, think about historic buildings, landmarks, parks, waterways, sports bars, water parks, etc.
Part of the fun in the hunt is in having your guests have to work at deciphering your clues. It would be far less fun to simply write a list such as: The Capitol Building; The Fess Hotel; The Monona Terrace; etc. Instead, look up information about the places in your city and use the history and descriptions to craft your clues. For example, if I wanted a team to find the Capitol Building, my clue might read:
“In 1904 a fire nearly destroyed me but nearly 100 years later I was designated an historic landmark. My dome is magnificent, the rotunda divine, but Lady Forward is my crowning glory.” – Take a team photo on the west lawn with this clue in the background.
If I wanted a team to find the Great Dane Brew Pub downtown, (not the one in Fitchburg) my clue might read:
“I was once the stately Fess Hotel, catering to railroad travelers, legislators and weekly boarders. You might not know it now, but the spot where I now stand once included a saloon, dining room, barber shop, ice house and livery that could accommodate up to 60 horses! I was sold in 1973 and renovated into a restaurant that bore the same name, The Fess. Today I am famous for my microbrews and billiards tables.” – Each team member should pony up to the bar and order their favorite micro-brew (or other beverage). Take a picture of each member with the beverage of their choice.
If I wanted a team to find the Monona Terrace, my clue might read:
The architect Frank Lloyd Wright first conceived of my design in 1938, but I was not built until 1997! Today I am home to countless special events and occupy an enviable space overlooking beautiful Lake Monona.” – Take a picture of your team in front of this remarkable landmark.
Other fun ideas may include:
- Find a costume shop and photograph everyone trying on costumes.
- Find a sports bar, order appetizers and take a team picture of everyone eating them.
- Find a bowling alley and bowl one game. Take a picture of everyone taking their turn.
- Find a live theater venue and take a team picture outside the marquis.
- Find a local beach and take a picture of everyone getting their feet wet.
- Find a local park and take pictures on the swing set, jungle gym and slides.
- Whatever other clever ideas you can come up with.
You may even decide to give one obvious clue, a deli or grocer at which each team can pick up one item to bring back to your house for the after-party. Be specific about what item or category of item they should bring (e.g. desserts, dips and chips, beverages, etc.)
Be sure that if any of your clues involve spending money, the amount is minimal, the guests are informed ahead of time, or you provide some cash to each team to spend.
The whole idea is to have fun and be creative!
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