Treasure & Scavenger Hunts

In my opinion some of the most fun one can have at a party is at a treasure or scavenger hunt. There are two types of treasure hunts: nonclued and clued.

Nonclued Treasure Hunts

I call this the 'Easter Egg Type Hunt'. Basically all this is is a bunch of objects hidden around an area--that's the entire concept. The participants kinda scrounge around, collecting the items. Whoever collects the most when there are no more treasures to be found is the winner. This may be the best hunt for a small children's party, as there are no rules; however, at such a party, make sure there are prizes for everyone. ;) Naturally, candy seems to make the best hidden objects; but seeing as the faster children will wind up with the most booty, it might be best to use tokens or something else instead, so no one will feel shortchanged.

Clued Treasure Hunts

A more challenging type of hunt, this kind involves actual clues leading to each hidden object (or the single hidden treasure item). It might be an actual map, or it might be a series of more obscure clues that must be solved one at a time--either each clue leading to one item or perhaps simply leading to the next clue.

A map can be as direct or as obscure as you like. If the hunt is taking place in your backyard or in a park, you might opt to draw in massive mountains in place of ordinary stones and firebreathing seamonsters in place of the fishpond, and let the hunters use their imagination to work their way around. Actually burying the treasure and covering the spot with a giant 'X' is optional. ;)

Another kind of clue can be a riddle or obscure hint instructing the participants to go to a certain location to find the next riddle, which leads to the next riddle, and so on, until leading to the treasure (or to a map which leads to the treasure). The more imagination you use for this type of hunt the more fun your guests will have.

Scavenger Hunts

In this game, each participant is given a list of items they must find. Whomever finds all the items on their list (optional whether or not the lists are the same for everyone) first is the winner.

There are different ways to do this. The most obvious is to have the players actually gather the items in a bag or basket and physically bring them to you (this requires asking them to bring only small items, of course). The other most popular method is the photo-scavenger hunt, but for the purpose of a party a Polaroid or digital camera for everyone would be necessary for this (but if everyone does have one I don't see why this is not an option).

I also recall often playing a game in grammer school where you had to go around and get signatures from people who met the criteria on the list (i.e., "Has been out of the country" or "Knows how to ride a horse" for example). So this is an option too.

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