If you are thinking about a scavenger hunt for your next birthday party, bachelor party, or just for fun, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find out just what you need to make your hunt fun and memorable.
Setting up a scavenger hunt for adults doesn’t have to be complicated. Everyone knows that the most important things about a successful scavenger hunt are:
- Choosing funny clues that put your friends in funny situations
- Creating or buying good prizes
- Creating good memories with friends
To set up a successful scavenger hunt for adults you need to do these things and factor in some advance planning.
Step 1: Creating a theme for your scavenger hunt
So, with these five steps in mind, let’s go into them in a little more detail.
Creating a theme is, of course, optional. That being said, it creates a special atmosphere when you are all meeting for a special purpose such as a birthday or a bachelor party. Having a scavenger hunt that works well with an occasion can make for a truly memorable event.
Tip: Some ideas for themed scavenger hunts are directly related to specific holidays: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all great themed parties.
Typically creating a themed scavenger hunt associated with a holiday allows you to stick to a simple group of funny ideas for clues that everyone can do as well.
Themed Christmas hunt example
For example, say you are having a Christmas themed hunt.
The clues can feature the participants singing Christmas carols to complete strangers or going around dressed as Santa Claus and asking for directions. The point of a clue like this is to get the participants to do it, capture the evidence and then present it at the end of the hunt. Even just those two off of the top of my head sound kind of fun, right?
So, what other kinds of themes are out there?
Well, nowadays the assumption can be made that everybody has access to cell phones (or even smartphones), so you can make that into a theme. One popular theme is a so-called “Selfie Scavenger Hunt”, where a bunch of tasks are given to the participants who have to take a selfie with a stranger, with a stop sign, with a bus driver, etc.
Tip: If you really want to make your scavenger hunt stand out, don’t make all of the tasks the same. Connect them all with a defined theme and get creative! Get your participants to go out in public, do some funny things and document it! Remind your participants to be respectful to the wishes and personal space of others (don’t go up to a stranger unannounced and take a picture with him and run away).
Other themes worth considering are bachelor/bachelorette parties, baby showers or to celebrate some other milestone. For more concrete ideas, visit out For Kids page where there are plenty of ideas for clues which can be easily adapted for adults as well.
Step 2: Make a list of tasks for the participants!
Finding the right balance between difficulty and the feeling that all of the tasks can actually be done is difficult. Making the tasks too difficult, or simply creating too many things for the participants to do creates the feeling like accomplishing the whole list is impossible. I would try to find 15 tasks that range from somewhat easy to pretty damned hard and/or embarrassing. Give a time limit as well so that the participants know when they should return to claim their prize. Make it clear that there is a time limit, two hours max and that the group that crosses everything off the fastest wins.
Your list of tasks should be…multidisciplinary.
Getting different people to sing, dance, take photos with strangers, pretend to get married in a public place, light some fireworks, slow motion Kung Fu fight on a subway platform (without any fatal accidents) are the kinds of things I’m thinking of.
Tip: When creating the tasks, try to think of what your friends/guests are capable of. Are they shy? Are they musical? Can they sing? Are they good at impressions? The point is that you have to get a group of people out of their comfort zone. You can cater to the people who are good at certain things: i.e getting a group to try and make 5 cents on the street just by using their voices. People who can sing might be able to do that in time, others might try and fail. BONUS for video evidence.
Without a doubt, you should consider a scavenger hunt that forces the participants to go out into your neighbourhood and interact with the public. Unless it’s below freezing in the middle of winter, there’s simply no excuse!
Don’t make too many tasks
Don’t make it last too long (2 hours, 3 for pros)
Use your guests’ skills to their advantage
Create a balance between level of difficulty and the feeling that you can WIN (make some clues have special bonus option)
Step 3: Make or buy prizes for the winners (and the losers)
Of course, prizes are why people play in the first place. Or perhaps just to have an enjoyable evening with friends. In any case, you are going to need to think about prizes and whether they should be bought or homemade. Should they be consumables? Should they be expensive? Expensive for a friend situation? Don’t break the bank, save your money and just come up with something memorable.
Tip: For scavenger hunts, some people make the prizes known before the hunt starts. You could argue that it creates an incentive to get people to play harder. I would personally keep everything secret. The value of genuine surprise cannot be understated. I would rather have the wow factor in at the end of the game, leaving things on a high note, rather than have people arguing over the details of who really one just because of that special prize.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the prize(s) for 1st place shouldn’t be drastically better than the team that did the least well.
Say there are four teams of three players each. You invite 12 friends over to your house and you send them out into the world with their list of to-dos and two hours later they all come back and only one group completed all the tasks. 1st prize should be something like a coupon for a night of bowling. That is just the first idea that popped into my head which probably wouldn’t break the bank. Make it so that the team who wins gets to do something else to celebrate their victory.
The other teams can get movie tickets, loot bags or a bottle of cheap wine or a combination of both.
Put some thought into what your guests might be happy and surprised about winning and go from there! Go the extra mile and they’ll be talking about your scavenger hunt party for years.
Step 4: Invite your friends and split them up into pairs or in groups of three.
Planning a party of this magnitude requires advance notice. Make sure that if it’s a relatively small group that nobody bails out last minute if such a situation can be at all avoided. Send out invitations (snail mail means it’s serious!) well in advance. At least one month’s notice would be my recommendation.
I would recommend that you get 4 teams of 3 people each for the following reasons:
- Even if you have 1000 friends (on Facebook), you probably speak to, meet up with or regularly see 12 of them. Time with close friends ought to be celebrated, put in the effort for them.
- 3 is a magic number. Think about it seriously, lots of important things are divided up into 3 groups or categories, the most obvious example is time (past, present and future). In all seriousness, the practical reason is that two people can be participating in a particular task and the third person is there to film it all and take photos.
- The likelihood that three people have different skills or abilities to be used during the scavenger increases. 3 is party, so the saying goes!
Step 5: Making sure things run on time
And now onto the most important discussion: time.
Tip: Give everyone around 2 hours to accomplish all of the tasks and meet up at the end
Why is two hours the amount of time I’m suggesting? 2 hours is an appropriate time frame for a proper scavenger hunt. If you like you can make it longer and still have time to decompress, have some food as well as hang out afterwards.
It’s also about maintaining a sense of focus on completing the tasks quickly. If the participants feel they have all day, then they are going to mess around and get hungry. If you want to make you scavenger hunt a real hit, make sure that after the prizes are awarded that there is some food and drink around afterwards. It would shock you how hungry people can get when they are running around the city, being silly, interacting with strangers and having a good time.
While your guests are doing the hunt, you can also use the time to prepare for exactly this. Make sure the prizes are somewhere handy, set the table, make sure everything is in order and then take a breather yourself!
If you plan well in advance, invite a diverse group of friends, split them up into teams, have good, challenging tasks and great prizes, everybody is going to have a good time, even the sceptics. Themed parties can be the right move depending on the time of year or the occasion being celebrated. However, without a theme, you can still have a memorable evening.
If you liked reading this and perhaps want some more clues and or tips you can take a look at our HUGE LIST OF IDEAS as well. There you’ll find something that you might not have thought about yourself or found anywhere else. More ideas are also hidden on the FOR KIDs section which can be also really fun for adults.
If you’ve set up your own scavenger hunts before or simply want to share your clues, comments or the like, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Learning about how more and more people are using and improving their scavenger hunts is fantastic.