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Scavenger Hunts for Adults

Updated on March 30, 2015
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When you think of scavenger hunts, the thought that comes to mind may be a bunch of excited kids running around a garden or the inside of a house carrying a little list with clues and hints. However, this is only one side of the spectrum. The other, is the possibility that scavenger hunts can be just as fun for adults as they can be for children. The differences between child and adult scavenger hunts can be enormous, and that gap needs to be successfully bridged in the right ways in order to make sure that all of your adult and young adult participants end up with broad grins across their faces. Here, we’ll be covering some of the important aspects that need to be managed properly in adult scavenger hunts.

Target Participants

Scavenger hunts can vary in many ways, and one of the more prominent of these factors is the audience being drawn to participate in the hunt.

Sometimes people organizing scavenger hunt events look to appease a certain gender. This is common, because males and females often disagree in ways of thinking and whether or not they will understand certain clues. Other times, men feel too masculine to participate in what they see as a feminine event, and women feel that they shouldn’t participate in an event that feels to them to be more aimed at the masculine gender.

Another thing to consider when choosing your target participants of your adult scavenger hunt would be status. By status, we mean whether or not a person is married, single, accustomed to city life, accustomed to rural life, and that kind of thing. This is important because knowing what your participants are like will help you build and organize a hunt that will appeal to more people. In exhibit, suppose you choose to do a scavenger hunt in which your adults are all paired off with their spouse as a team member. What would you do in the case of the leftover people that are single? It would be unfair to just say “tough luck” and exclude them from the event. Status is definitely something to consider when organizing your hunt.

Yet another definitive factor in the people participating in the scavenger hunt that needs to be accounted for is common interests. Finding something that all of your target participants are interested in can greatly assist in your ability to pick a suitable theme and successfully organize a hunt that is popular with your participants. Knowing about common interests among your pool of subjects will let you easily decide some major things about your scavenger hunt, many of which will be covered later. If your participants are, for the most part, completely differing in their ideal interests and topics, you know to keep the range of themes and methods of executing the hunt variable and not too consistent.


Scavenger Hunt Theme

Using the same theme for an adult scavenger hunt as you might with a child’s hunt can actually be successful in many ways, and has been seen to work out very well in the past. You do need to be mindful, though, as not all of these themes will be able to span adult and child minds alike. For example, a cartoon or Disney-movie based theme would be a massive hit with the kids, but adults would be bored and potentially feel embarrassed running around looking for items that cross the somewhat obscure boundary of being “childish.”

A theme for an adult scavenger hunt can be a holiday, event, topic, or even a slurry of several. Adults will definitely be more picky about whether or not to participate in the hunt, it’s crucial that you pick a theme that will attract all the types of adults you aim to please. Things like holidays and events are still feasible ideas for adult scavenger hunts that also work in child hunts, too. As long as everyone understands the theme and it doesn’t seem overly childish in their points of view, you’ve got yourself a potential block-buster scavenger hunt!

The Hunt Itself

Now that we’ve discussed the basic things that need to be though of before planning the actual scavenger hunt, it’s time that we start to think about your way of running and organizing the scavenger hunt; your modus operandi, if you will. One of the great things about having an all-adult scavenger hunt is that you can choose more complex and definitive strategies of going about your scavenger hunt.

For example, children must be supervised at all times while taking part in your scavenger hunt. Adults, clearly, are not bound by the same requirements. Children may try to fake having found a certain item, but adults are far more likely to follow the honor code and not make a big deal out of not being the one winning the scavenger hunt. Another extreme benefit to having a scavenger hunt consisting of adults only, is that you may choose a location that is much more large and has a greater potential for fun and exploration.


As we were saying, an adult scavenger hunt is not limited by regular size and proximity constraints the way that child scavenger hunts are. It is often seen where adults organize scavenger hunts that span entire cities, with important landmarks and interesting buildings being the objects of the scavenger hunt. You don’t have to worry about adults being lost or not being able to find their ways back to the starting location.

Riddles and Clues

A child may have plenty of trouble understanding riddles and sophisticated clues. Adults, on the other hand, find difficult clues and riddles fun and intriguing. You don’t have to worry about keeping the riddles and hints overly simple when organizing an all-adult scavenger hunt. Riddles are the things that pique the curiosity of many, often times dragging them deeper into the hunt and gaining more net interest from everyone. A good riddle takes thought and common sense to figure out, and the feeling that you get once you’ve deciphered a difficult one is unmatchable by most games and events.

The feeling of success that comes along with figuring out a complex riddle is very impressive indeed, but add it on top of the joy of being able to utilize the answer to the riddle to help find the items on the scavenger hunt list, and you most definitely have an awesome scavenger hunt! For adult scavenger hunts, try to think up riddles that won’t give away the answer too easily, and hints that take a lot of thought and exploration (mental and physical alike) in order to keep your participants interested and wanting more. The human mind works in a way that success in deciphering hidden messages and tricky phrases begins to release endorphins in the brain, which pretty much means that the brain is stimulated and active. This, in turn, means plenty of laughs and a great time all together!

Type of Scavenger Hunt

There are, as you probably know by now, many different shapes and forms of scavenger hunts, just like there are wide assortments of board games and puzzles. Each one is unique in its own way and designed to appeal to a certain type of interest or person.

This is where that whole “knowing your target audience” thing we discussed earlier comes in. By understanding what your participants’ common interests are, you can custom mold a scavenger hunt to their tastes that will no doubt keep them intrigued and fascinated from start to finish.

You can choose photo scavenger hunts, regular pen and paper, mixtures of both, and the various other custom ways of running a hunt. After creating a photo scavenger hunt list, your scavengers will be able to roam around freely and compete to see who will be able to find and cross of the most things in their lists, simply by taking pictures of the object being sought as evidence of completion. The old fashioned pen/pencil and paper method is also popular, especially since these are adults playing the game and you don’t really have to worry about any adult cheating in a game, the way you might when it comes to younger children.


Adult scavenger hunts can definitely prove to be hits with the whole group of grown-ups you have lined up, small or large. These tips that we’ve talked about can help you successfully plan an adult scavenger hunt that will keep all of those taking part interested and having fun all the way throught he event. Always remember, though, that a huge fun-factor when creating an adult scaventer hunt is keeping it unique, and adding your own special touches to it, so don’t be afraid to mix and match certain ways of performing the hunt: you’ll just be adding one more reason for all your participants to have a great time!

© 2014 Brett


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