This weekend I decided to try out a scavenger hunt from the perspective of a participant, rather than a designer. It had been awhile since I found myself on the seeker end of a hunt, and I had a blast deciphering clues, second guessing myself, and strategizing with my teammate.

Here’s what I learned about how to ensure a great time:

From a recent Everybody’s Invited scavenger hunt. Good people.

From a recent Everybody’s Invited scavenger hunt. Good people.

  1. Go with enthusiastic people. While I think anyone could have a good time at a scavenger hunt, not everyone will always be down. And nothing ruins a hunt faster than a teammate who’s complaining about being hungry, tired, bored, etc. (Note: My teammate was rad, but I can imagine the effect a less-than-rad player would have had.)

  2. Find the right hunt. There are lots of great scavenger hunt companies out there, so find the one that’s right for you. For example, I dig high-tech, puzzle-centric hunts best. But there’s a huge range of options to meet anyone’s scavenging needs. Do you prefer family-friendly or a little bit racy? Indoor or outdoor? A walking tour, a mystery, or a food tour? There are all sorts of settings—neighborhoods, museums, zoos, etc. There are events specifically for singles, for pet-owners, for Harry Potter fans, you name it. Google around a bit, or let us devise a one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt for your next gathering.
  3. Don’t settle for a less-than-stellar team name. Team names are kind of magical in that a good one can actually help create team spirit. As with trivia teams, puns, portmanteaus, a setting-specific “in joke,” timely references to local or world events, and trolling the other teams all make good team name fodder.
  4. Take it the right amount of seriously. On the one hand, it’s just a game. On the other hand…it’s totally a game! Strike a balance. My favorite part tends to be strategizing, so my teammate and I did a little of that, but I had to remind myself to not focus too much on winning as an outcome. The outcome should be having a meaningful experience. Duh.
  5. Bring sustenance. I cannot emphasize this enough. These events can be grueling. You’re on your feet, perhaps running around, barely pausing. This is why trail mix was invented, people.
  6. Enjoy the setting. The hunt I did this weekend was in an art museum, and my only regret is that I didn’t take the time to enjoy more of the artwork. See #4.
  7. Unwind at an after party. If the company doesn’t arrange one for you, I highly recommend picking a bar or restaurant for a post-hunt meetup. There will be stories to share, good-natured accusations of cheating to declare, and beer to drink.

If you’re interested in hosting an amazing scavenger hunt for your next birthday (or your next Tuesday), let us help you create an event that’s as unique as your DNA (unless you’re a twin).

p.s. Did my team win? Let’s just say you don’t become a scavenger hunt designer without learning a thing or two along the way.