Cloris Leachman, star of the 1979 cinematic achievement, Scavenger Hunt

Cloris Leachman, star of the 1979 cinematic achievement, Scavenger Hunt

Are you tired of the same boring, old school scavenger hunts? Fed up with tracking down traffic cones and wigs? Sick of taking photos of twins and policemen?

Here are five modifications to spice up an uninspired scavenger hunt:

  1. Riddle Me This. I am a firm believer in the intellectually challenging scavenger hunt – players should have to earn their clues by solving puzzles, riddles or word games, answering trivia questions, etc. I know some people hate this stuff, but they are not invited.
  2. Road Trip. It’s fun to get teams of friends together from all parts of the country (mine happens to be the United States, but this would work in other places, too) and have them meet in the middle for the scoring.
  3. Nerd Alert. Adding technology to a scavenger hunt is awesome. Imagine what you can do with cameras, smart phones, GPS, virtual reality machines, robots, lasers and teleportation devices! (Or whichever of those are available to you.)
  4. Make Believe. I like scavenger hunts that establish some sort of fictional premise (someone’s been killed! something’s been stolen!) and that have actors playing characters (and distributing clues) throughout the event. Remember when you used to play pretend? It’s still fun.
  5. Get the Last Laugh. Have your scavenger hunt announced at the reading of your will and make your loved ones compete for the massive fortune you acquired during your lifetime. Also, Cloris Leachman is there.

I’m not going to lie. Pulling off a really good scavenger hunt is hard work. I think there is a direct correlation between the amount of blood, sweat and tears you put into it and the amount of fun people have.

***Bonus*** I also like the creativity that is typically demonstrated in reverse scavenger hunts – where teams collect items first and then have to argue how they match the object list. An example of a particularly nerdy reverse scavenger hunt is on the Avant Game blog.