Birthday Bliss: How to host an urban scavenger hunt, Part 1

I have mentioned once or twice that I take my birthdays very seriously. I start planning months before — beginning with a theme and going full force until the big day. This year it was honey and bee themed, last year I did a pub quiz-based party. But the year before that was one of my best ever: the pirate-themed scavenger hunt.

I not only got a great response from my friends on this one, but I recently had another friend (currently living in a different country) ask me for tips so she can plan her own scavenger hunt. While Ms. Dipity may not need to worry about the pirate part (she’s planning a bachelorette party), I thought it added to the fun and gave extra oomph to the theme.

I will be making this a three part series so it doesn’t get overwhelmingly wordy. We’ll start with the basics.

The invitations: I wanted to do something totally different to make this party fun from the very beginning. So I sent the invitations as messages in a bottle. I did some online research, trying to source the bottles and even found some sites that would do everything for you, from printing the actual invitations to filling the bottles with fun pirate-y objects. But everything I saw was a little too pricey and I knew I could do just as good of a job on my own.

The first thing to do was to find the perfect bottle. Some sites used beer bottles, but I wanted something a little more petite. So I bought several packs of 6 oz mini bottles of wine, drank the wine (not all in one night…I swear!) and soaked the bottles to remove the label. Worked like a charm. The best thing is the bottles have screw tops so you won’t even need to search for the cork stoppers.

Fill each bottle with whatever you want. I bought some sand from the Dollar Store, plus a bag of small glass pieces and some cocktail swords. Then I printed off the invitations on some wheat-colored paper, something that looked a little old-fashioned and aged. Once they were printed, I got started on the fun part — burning the edges to make it look like a pirate’s treasure map. I told you I was dedicated! To do this it’s best to stand at your sink with a good lighter and quick hands. Things might have gotten dicey once or twice, but the final effect was perfect!

I also used the same paper and burning technique on the city maps I handed out to each team the day of the party.

I hand delivered a majority of the bottles, with hand stamped tags affixed with gold paper raffia, but a few I mailed in small boxes, wrapped snugly in bubble wrap. If you can find small plastic bottles, remember you can mail them all by themselves — no box required. That would be a pretty amazing presentation.

Now these invitations are certainly a step you can skip if you aren’t going to use the pirate theme. I just thought they were too adorable (*ahem) to exclude.

The next post will focus on the scavenger hunt list and team division. And after that, I’ll post about prizes and menu ideas to round it all out.

Check back Wednesday!

8 thoughts on “Birthday Bliss: How to host an urban scavenger hunt, Part 1

  1. Pingback: How to host an urban scavenger hunt party, part 3 | Attempts in Domesticity

  2. Pingback: How to host an urban scavenger hunt party, Part 2 | Attempts in Domesticity

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  5. This is such a great idea! Could you tell what kind of timeline you used? We are thinking of doing this for a christmas party and hoping to eat around 7. What time should we start??

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