How to Plan a Scavenger Hunt

A well planned scavenger hunt can make your party one that people will talk about for a long time. A hunt is a universal game that can be adjusted to the young to the old and from the easy to very complicated. It is a win-win for everyone. People get to know each other, and you're all having a blast out of your home.

Identify your participants and locations. Establish the age of participants and how many you will have. Establish the time for the party and if you will be doing it inside or outside in the day or at night. For the sake of this article, I am going to assume we are working with all ages during the day.

Decide how long you want the hunt to last. You will be giving the participants an ending time.

Make a long list of items, approximately 30, that fit your audience. You want your participants to be able to find at least a third of the items fairly easily to make the game fun. You want some items that may require some work. Then you want the tie-breaker items. Those items that you think they will not find, but those will keep the teams striving for the high scores.

Establish point values for items. A McDonald's straw can be one point. It is very easy to get. A piano, on the other hand, should probably be the highest possible 5 points.

Print out directions to alleviate any questions. Customize these to fit your participants and party. Have a set end time. Any team that is late should lose points. You may want to note that no laws can be broken if you are working with adults. Some people can get wild in the spirit of a good hunt. Another fun rule if you decide to use it can be that no team is allowed to purchase any item on the list.

Establish your teams. Make teams small enough that they can comfortably fit into a car. Three to four is perfect.

Hand out the instructions when you want the hunt to begin. Encourage your teams to be creative! For example, a keyboard may be suitable to qualify as a piano if they think of this. One rule was that they could not purchase an item on the list. They could possibly trade for an item on the list. You may want to have one person be the judge for any questionable creativeness!

Have fun!


When establishing teams, split friends up and have others get to know each other. Tell your friends prior to the party that they should dress for a theme party, like the 70's or hawaiian. Then when they are running around town, they will be dressed up. Have a fun prize if you can to encourage the competition. Give participants a "home base" to drop off any items that are off limits to anyone else. They may run out of space in their vehicle.


Cover the rules you printed out with the list verbally. Do not serve alcohol at your party prior to the scavenger hunt. Save it for later!

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