How to host an urban scavenger hunt party, part 3

Over the past week, I have been working on a series: How to host a scavenger hunt party (pirate-theme optional). We covered awesome invitations and the list of things to find.

Now let’s move on to locations, strategies for the competition and prizes. Oh yeah, and what kind of food to eat afterward!

I decided to hold my party in downtown Portland, as opposed to the smaller neighborhoods in the outskirts of town. I had everyone meet at a brew pub around  2 pm. (Make sure you stress to your participants the need for timeliness, late attendees will delay the whole affair.)

We got a few rounds of beers, picked teams and I handed everyone their maps and lists. Then I gave them one final instruction, which I would highly suggest incorporating into your party. I arranged for a mandatory intermission at a different bar about a mile away from the original bar — close by several of the landmarks I knew we would end up near — scheduled for an hour after the teams dispersed.

While the intermission was happening, there could be no discussing of progress nor could there be any “scavenging.” I just wanted all of my friends to hang out together as one group for at least some of the party. So for about 45 minutes, we all drank, posed for pictures and laughed together. Once the time was up, game faces were back on and the race restarted.

Oh yeah, and at intermission I switched teams.

Which is something I hadn’t touched on yet…If you are the party planner and make up the list of what to find, it’s pretty unfair for you to actually play. After all, I knew exactly which statues were on the list and could have researched where to buy a bacon chocolate candy bar (like that’d be difficult in Portland anyway). Sure, cheating isn’t fun, but what’s the fun of planning a party game if you can’t play?

So I decided I would hang out with one team for the first half of the game and the other team for the last half. I didn’t give either team any hints, but it was a blast watching them find things. If you want to participate in your own scavenger hunt, I would highly recommend trying this method. That way you get a chance to bond with everyone. Just make sure you keep each team’s secrets and don’t give anything away.

So. What’s left? Time limits and the scavenging range are up to you. It all depends on how long you want the party to last and how easy the area is to get around. Being in downtown, we could have used buses and even the MAX if necessary, but each team chose to walk. It’s much easier to spot a mullet on foot!

Once the teams have arrived at the final destination and the game is over, tally the points and award prizes. Be aware, this will take a while since you will need to flip through people’s cameras.

Now on to prizes: I gave each member of the winning team a 1 oz bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. Then I had them vote for the MVP (Most Valuable Pirate, of course!) of their team. It was an easy choice and my friend Ariel was the clear winner. She shows no fear, and because of that she got to take home these fun ice trays, perfect for the pirate theme.

I also had the losing team chose their MVP, after all each team had really tried hard. The winner of the “booty” prize ended up being Ariel’s sister, who is equal parts hilarious and gregarious. I should also mention at this time she was a Red Bull girl and had brought a backpack full of energy drinks to help bribe strangers into helping us (see the pedi-cab bike rider picture for proof).

After the prizes were handed out, it was time for the after party, which included dinner and (of course) drinks! This part can be handled in several ways: you could find a Caribbean-style restaurant to go to or you could host the party at your house, maybe even just plan a small BBQ.

Or, if you happen to be on friendly terms with a chef, you can do what I did.

I convinced my husband’s boss to allow me to make a good portion of the food at the restaurant — I have a current food handlers card so it was all legit. I also paid for almost everything in terms of product. I told my guests that dinner was a set menu and it would cost each person $10 (a crazy low amount) which went to the restaurant.

That doesn’t seem like enough profit to make it worthwhile for a restaurant but here’s a few things to consider. For 12 people, it was already at $120. Then add on the fact that my friends and I like to drink so we ran up a considerable bar tab. We also arrived right as the restaurant opened (5 pm) so we were the only ones there. This way we didn’t disrupt any other diners, and we helped the restaurant make some money during the slow opening hour.

So if you have a friend in the food industry, it wouldn’t hurt to inquire about setting up a special menu for you and your party.

The menu that I did was fairly simple and easy to coordinate:

  • Pork rinds with cayenne and lime creme fraiche
  • Coconut rice
  • Jerk rubbed chicken skewers
  • Spicy vegetable curry (mainly for the lone vegetarian)
  • Pulled pork sliders
  • Fresh pineapple with lime juice
  • Rum Cake* with coconut-pineapple ice cream
  • Cocktail Special: Moscow Mule (because it’s lime-y and delicious!)

* I promised you the link to the most amazing rum cake you will ever eat. Here you go. You’re welcome!

I also decorated (prior to the party) each table with fake gold coins, pirate flags and small votive holders filled with sand, sea glass and cocktail swords.

Click to see details…

And that is how you pull off a serious adult scavenger hunt. Be prepared though, because this party is a hard one to top!

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8 thoughts on “How to host an urban scavenger hunt party, part 3

  1. Awesome. I now regret even more missing the hunt, but, Showing up just in time for the pulled pork sliders was pretty great!

    • And it gave us an opportunity to meet which is pretty great too! =) If you do decide to do the scavenger hunt, be sure to let me know how it goes! And let me know when you’re in P-town and we’ll get dim sum.

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

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