Planning a Leslie Knope style scavenger hunt
June 16, 2015 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan the best scavenger hunt ever for my husband's birthday!

I want to set up the best scavenger hunt ever. However, I'm still trying to figure a few things out (luckily I still have months to plan)

1) ideas for clues and locations. I specifically want the hunt to be clue based and travel from location to location. I don't want to do a photo scavenger hunt or one where you have to accomplish various tasks (like collect 15 fireflies or whatever). The hunt will be in winter around Boston with a car. I have some ideas already - for example go to a friend's choir practice and have to sing a song before he can get the next clue, or hide one somewhere at his old school. I want to incorporate fun tasks and activities, but have them all related to getting the next clue.

2) how to coordinate with various venues? When I can use my friends this will be easy but if love to do something like he gets a clue after winning a mini golf game or something. Has any of toy coordinated something like this with what's likely the minimum wage workers? Are there better ways to think about this?

3) timing- I'd love to have some sort if schedule for all the moving parts, and also because if like to set up a party for when he's finished. Any tips for check-in or timing strategies that don't feel like calling your wife every hour hour?

Thanks and I'm excited for all your advice!
posted by fermezporte to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
We take part in an annual scavenger hunt where the clues are basically puzzles (but with vague vague answers) that will take you to the next location. Clues are hidden every year in a coffee can somewhere in the wild, which is part of the hunt - trying to find them where they 're hidden well enough that a passerby will leave them be, but enough to be found. (You can call in for can location for a time penalty.) Ultimately, you're in the perfect situation to completely personalize every step of this. So a series of clues that are things only he can answer, which will lead him to a place that's special to him... only using Sukoku or a crossword, or a maze or a math problem...

We have never had success using other people outside of our group. What we've seen happen is that if you walk into a pizza place and ask for a manager if you can do it, that person won't be on shift when your spouse shows up. Too many outside factors. (So think of it as urban geocaches - where could you hide it at said pizza place?)

The other thing is a firm end time. If we haven't finished our clues & found the party by nine, we all have to call in for the party location. So if your end point is a surprise party for him, just tell him that from the get go.

No real specific answers, but feel free to message me if you have anything in particular that you want to bounce off of someone. The rule in our hunt is that winner has to plan the next year, so we've got a decent amount of experience behind us. (This past year was the 25th anniversary. We've only taken part for less than 10 years.)
posted by librarianamy at 8:06 AM on June 16, 2015

3) timing- I'd love to have some sort if schedule for all the moving parts

I just participated in DASH which used the Cluekeeper app. It was awesome. A great way to deliver instructions, give hints, and keep everyone on schedule.

2) how to coordinate with various venues?

Talk to small, local, privately-owned businesses or public buildings only. Places like board game shops and cupcake boutiques and non-chain coffee places will very likely welcome you and your fun little requests with open arms and have a better idea of who will be there (probably an owner) to receive him. (With the caveat that if you send him into a food-service place for the love of god do it at a non-peak time of day.) Likewise public libraries, free-to-the-public museums, and parks are good places to not disrupt business goings-on if you don't need him to talk to anyone. The worst places are going to be franchise locations, big box stores, and anywhere (like a university you're not personally affiliated with) with a private security staff because those places aren't going to play nice or care about your fun, they're just going to tell you to get lost.

I like the idea of hiding a clue inside of something he has to find, like between the pages of a particular library book or buried in the leaves of a potted plant, because that adds a danger factor of anyone could find it, I have to hurry! Or giving him a few photographs of locations that you've subtly photoshopped key information out of, and he'd only figure out what's missing by going there to compare.
posted by phunniemee at 8:37 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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