How to Run a Scavenger Hunt

By Jingna Zhao
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Scavenger hunts are held as group party activities, fundraisers, bonding experiences for organizations and even as holiday celebrations. They can take place in a mall, a park, a backyard, a neighborhood or even online. Scavenger hunts can be completed by physically collecting the items, taking pictures of the items or taking pictures of the participants completing a task. Participating in a scavenger hunt can be fun and challenging, but organizing a scavenger hunt can be just as fun, challenging and rewarding.

Preparation

Choose a theme. A theme is not necessary, but it makes advertising easier and gives participants more ideas to work with.

List the items to be scavenged. Be creative.

Acquire a prize for the winners. You don't need to offer a prize, but a good prize will greatly increase enthusiasm and competition for your event. If you do decide to have prizes, consider having first, second and third place prizes.

Establishing Rules

Decide on clear boundaries for where your participants are allowed to search for the items on their list. Depending on where you decided to hold the scavenger hunt, consider getting permission from property owners. Don't forget to make rules about using the Internet for searching online maps or searching clues.

Schedule the hunt and decide on the duration. Casual scavenger hunts for parties or bonding purposes usually last one to two hours. However, scavenger hunts can also last 24 hours or even a week. If the scavenger hunt will take place outside, check the weather beforehand.

Set up teams. Consider the number of teams and the number of people per team. Base your teams' composition on the difficulty of your scavenger hunt. This might require an estimate of the number of people who will participate. You can establish the teams beforehand, allow participants to form their own teams on-site or make the teams random. If the hunt is for children, assign an adult chaperon to each team.

Running the Event

Assemble your participants into teams based on what you decided beforehand in the previous step.

Make the rules clear to participants. Mention the theme, boundaries, time limit, the prize, the place to meet when the hunt is over and whatever other rules you have decided on.

Remind everyone that safety comes first and not to damage any property.

Although it depends on the type of scavenger hunt, you should give each team emergency contact information.

While teams are out scavenging, wander around to check up on how they are doing and offer tips if they are having a hard time.

When time is up and the hunt is over, award the winning team the prize.

About the Author

Jingna Zhao started writing professionally in 2010. Her work has appeared in the "Dartmouth Journal of Science" and she serves on the journal's editorial board. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Dartmouth College.