A successful scavenger hunt depends on everyone having fun and following the rules.
Nothing can ruin a well-planned hunt faster than guests arguing over unfair decisions or unclear guidelines.
Scavenger hunt rules will vary depending on the type of hunt you choose, the age group involved, and the location of the event, but it is important to make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what is allowed/forbidden so there will be no arguments, surprises, or disappointments.
Ready? Let's start planning YOUR hunt!
Each individual/team will be given a list of items, challenges, or riddles that must be found or completed. The goal is to find all items, or complete all challenges, on the list. For a timed hunt, teams will work to complete as many items/challenges as possible within the allotted time period. For untimed hunts, the team to complete the list (with the fewest deductions), and return to home base first will be declared the winner(s).
If you are planning a timed hunt, make sure that everyone knows the allotted time frame. For un-timed hunts, specify when and where everyone will be meeting to determine the winners. Every event must come to an end, and it is important that all participants know both the start and finish time of your hunt.
Will the hunt be inside, outside, in a particular neighborhood or part of town, in a mall, etc? Are there places that are off-limits such as individual homes, certain businesses, or particular areas that may not be accessible to all players or that may not be safe? You need to be very clear about where participants may or may not go to find their items or complete their challenges. And always, ALWAYS, keep player safety in mind when setting boundaries.
If items are worth points, be clear about the value of each.
Be clear about what will earn a deduction of points (ie. Asking for help from another group, finding an item in a forbidden area, obtaining an item illegally, etc.). You should also include how many points will be deducted for each offence so everyone knows exactly what to expect.
May items be purchased, and if so, is there a set limit on how much money may be spent?
Can the list be completed in any order or must teams follow a specific order?
When planning a video or picture hunt, be sure to specify how many members of the team must be in the photos. Do you (or the judges) require that the entire team be in the picture (possibly minus the person working the camera) or will a photo/video clip with only one or two players be considered acceptable?
Be sure to specify if all photos or video clips must be taken during the time frame of the event or if they can be drawn from archives previously captured on players' phones, etc.
Specify whether teams must stay together for the duration of the hunt or if they are permitted to split up to look for items/complete challenges. May teams or individuals join with other groups?
If collecting items, be clear as to whether they are to be kept or left where they are found for other teams to locate. This is especially important if you are hiding specific items for participants to find. If objects are to be left, make sure each team knows the requirement for proving that the item was found.
Cheating, stealing, sabotaging, removing hidden items, or breaking the law will result in automatic disqualification.
If/when talking or interacting with strangers, business owners, or community workers, all participants must be polite and respectful. You don't want any complaints that may ruin the scavenger hunt for other teams or limit your ability to plan future events.
If using a car, seat belts must be worn and speed limits must be respected. No items can be obtained illegally, no trespassing on private property is permitted, etc.
The rules are the rules. The decisions of the judge(s) or event host are final.