Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teen Party Ideas: Scavenger Hunts, Amazing Race & More

Amazing Race, Fear Factor & Other Scavenger Hunts Your Teen Will Thank You For

Are you planning a birthday party for your teen & have no clue how to entertain a group of teenagers?

Chances are you've considered a scavenger or treasure hunt. You or your teen might be worried that friends will think this is a lame party idea. I'm here to tell you, with proper planning a teen scavenger hunt is anything but lame. Your teen and her friends will thank you. Her/his friends will be talking about how much fun they had for weeks. Of course, they will be blabbing about it on FaceBook & Instagtam, long before it even ends. Your teen & friends will light up the twiitershpere with hilarious tweets all day/night long. And, the best part...you will be the cool mom, the fun mom, all the while you'll be providing good, safe fun for the kids.

I had no idea how many people are googling scavenger hunt ideas. I originally published an article about my daughter's scavenger hunt on my writing blog, teen party ideas and I was shocked at the number of hits it received. This blog is a more appropriate forum for the topic so I am writing a more detailed post. We have teen daughter, ages sixteen and fourteen and a son who is eleven & we've successfully hosted scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, photo scavenger hunts, video scavenger hunts, Amazing Race Scavenger hunts, Fear Factor games, Survivor themed hunts & C.S.I.  themed hunts for all of them. I'm going to share with you the best of our parties and I will also give you my opinion of the pros & cons of each. I'm not going to describe each individual birthday party, because that would take forever. I will give you the best highlights and my ideas for pulling your party off without a hitch. As a bonus, you get to learn from my mistakes. I will tell you what I would do different if I hosted the same party again.

Preparation...Preparation...Preparation is Key. Ignore everything else I tell you, if you choose, but do not ignore the above statement.

A few days before the party I put a note in each neighbors mailbox, alerting them of the party & giving them my contact information, should they have any complaints. I've hosted neighborhood scavenger hunts in the past, so my neighbors are all familiar with the hunt (we have a lot of kids in our neighborhood). In the past, if the games involved knocking on doors or neighbor participation, they were asked to leave the note taped or attached to their door if they did not mind the kids ringing the bell.

 The first thing I did when the kids walked through my front door was hand them a printed list of house rules which included the obvious, no drinking, smoking, bothering the neighbors, drama & I made them agree not to post any inappropriate or unkind messages or photos on any of the social media sites. I also made each one of them text me their phone number and their parents phone number & I made sure their parents knew how to reach me at all times. Each teen knew that any violation of the rules 
would result in a phone call to their mom or dad.  

In the past I've had teams grab a tootsie roll sucker out of a paper bag to determine which team they were on, but since this group was so large, I pre-assigned the groups (separating b/f/f's) and creating diversified groups to encourage less drama and better team work. No one seemed to mind. This time I handed each kid a colored T-shirt ($3) three bucks at Hobby Lobby, and that told them which team they were on. This hunt was held at the Louisiana Boardwalk (a shopping/eating outdoor area), so I had to get other moms to help me with transportation. Each team was required to stay together at all times and ride in the same 

Last year I hosted was a slumber party when my daughter turned 14. She had thirty something girls sleepover and about seventeen guys participated in the Amazing Race Photo Scavenger Hunt. It came off without a glitch and the kids were so occupied and entertained that there was not one single episode of teenage drama.

I was armed with a one inch binder when the scavenger hunt riddles, dares and and tri-folded bonus 
activities and after each team selected a team leader I handed the binder to the team leader and we loaded up in the caravan of cars, trucks and SUV's and headed to the boardwalk. The groups could complete the task in any order they chose and they did not have to complete them all (highly unlikely they would be able to in the two hours allotted for the game.) The teams were warned that they would lose points any time their group split up and they would only receive points for the competed task and solved riddles if they actually photographed it. There was a time when I would have said it would be a good idea for you to ask the kids to bring digital cameras or tell you to pre-purchase cheap disposable cameras, but who'm I kidding. Every single teen these days has a smart phone with video and camera options, so one less task for you mom.

Below is a lost of the 50 regular task/challenges for the teams to complete. I also offered bonus challenges that I will go into later.

Page 1 starts with: Perform any or all of the following. Each challenge is worth two (2) points, unless otherwise stated, with bonus points for creativity. You must document the event with a photo or video to receive credit. In the past I've handed out bags for the teams to bring back certain items, but it was much easier to just have them photograph particular items. If I don't write "Take a photo of" in front of the task, it is implied. Remember, no points if the event is not documented with a photo or video

1. Find a coin with Blake's birthday year on it
2. Get a stranger to serenade you
3. Take a picture with one or more team members with a family of four or more
4. Get a picture of a man with a mullet

5. Take a photo of a person wearing a concert t-shirt
6. A person playing a musical instrument
7. Get a stranger to give you his/her cell phone number
8. Convince a stranger to chug his/her beverage
9. Convince a stranger to give you some of his/her food (a french fry will do)
10. Convince a stranger to sing a U2 song (must be videotaped)
11. Get a kiss that leaves lipstick on your cheek

12. Photo of a stranger with a tattoo 

13. Photo or video of a couple arguing
14. A buy one get one free coupon
15. A fortune cookie (5 bonus points for the weirdest fortune)
16. A business card (extra points if it is a lawyer) You can make this any profession, but we picked lawyer, because I'm a lawyer & so are Blake's dad and her step-dad.
17. A clean disposable toilet sea cover
18. A stranger's autograph (extra points if the name is unisex) (extra points if the name is Jordan) any unisex name can apply for your hunt
19. Entire team sitting with an unknown family at a restaurant 
 20. A photo of a team member with someone who is at least 85 years old. (extra points if they are smiling) (extra points if they are holding up their photo ID
21. Photo of at least two team members with a uniformed police officer (extra points if he is smiling)
22. Entire team standing by a convertible Corvette (extra points if it is red) (extra points if a team member is inside -with the owner's permission)
23. Entire Team sitting inside a boat 

24. A team member hugging a stranger
25. Entire team in or next to a tree
26. Team members sliding down a slide

27. Entire team eating ice cream
28. A team member playing a pinball machine
29. A team member playing basketball
30. A team member sitting on a firetruck with a fireman
31. A team member handcuffed to a police officer
32. A team member inside a restaurant pretending to cook a meal
33. A team member inside a restaurant kitchen washing the dishes

34. Photo of graffiti (already there- DO NOT PUT IT THERE)
35. Entire team with a mascot
36. Entire team sharing one soda, each member with a straw
37. Two or more team members standing behind the display window in a retail store acting as a store window display

38. Entire team jumping, each member must be in mid air

39. Team member dressed in the funkiest get up (outfit in a store)
40. Team member delivering a meal to a stranger in a restaurant
41. The entire team in a "I can't believe we all fit in here" photo

42. Entire team playing Twister without the board.

43. A couple holding hands or kissing 

44. Photo of a fashion "do"
45. Photo of a fashion "do not"
46. Pretend you are an investigative reporter and snap a photo of a questionable transaction
47. The More I dry, the wetter I get (answer- a towel)
48. What has a ring, but no finger 
The answer to the riddle was "shower curtain"

49. Keys open my door, buy mine only make a sound- (answer -a piano)
50. I start with an e, I end with an e, but I usually contain only one letter-(answer-an envelope)

I've shared a few of the photos taken by the kids. 

They loved this challenge and especially liked the riddle part. The next party I did was The Amazing Race, followed by Fear Factor. I will share both of those next week. I am also adding a down loadable  list of 100+ riddles for you. You can find a link to it at the top of my blog.

If you have any questions I'd be glad to help. Please share your teen party ideas in the comment 


  1. I've always loved scavenger hunts!

  2. Me too. I still have fun as the "chaperone" for my kids. I love it as much as they do.

  3. Hi Melissa, just stopping by to check out your new blog. My son (he's 18) was sitting next to me as I read this post and he got all smiley reminiscing about photo-scavenger hunts he's been on. So yeah, this got the teenage thumbs up.

  4. Thanks Shell. I really appreciate how helpful you always are. I can always count on you to promote blogfest and contest. I just read your latest post & hate that you won't be around. I totally get it & understand the need for a break. I just hope you don't stay gone too long. I will really miss you.

  5. This sounds great, my wife also ran a party like this. The kids enjoyed it so much that we developed a "The Fantastic Race" app for the iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android phones and tablets. It is a configurable (if you want to) party organiser. If takes you through the setup, gives you a timetable and checklist of what to get. And most importantly runs the party for you.

  6. Scavenger hunt parties are SO much fun for teens, you're right! Wow that takes me back...my parents surprised me one of them for my 17th birthday!

  7. Using some tricky 15th birthday party ideas can help inducting the habit of using scientific and logical strategies for doing their daily tasks in a much better way.

  8. Did you complete the 100 riddles for the scavenger hunts? Did you describe the Amazing Race or Fear Factor parties? I cannot seem to locate it on your blog.
    Jill Cravens

  9. Thanks so much for this list! This is exactly what I am looking for for my teen's New Years Eve party!

  10. With scavenger hunting, the ideas and possibilities are endless! And so is the fun! :) I admire you for really planning every birthday party and making sure that every participant is having fun. I like it best how you made sure to look after their safety while promoting fun birthday activities. Here's to more fun birthdays!
    Rosalinda @ Riddle Me

  11. Hi.
    Great ideas. I loved them all.
    I couldn´t find the list of riddles.
    Can you please help me?
    Thank you.
    Best wishes,


  12. My daughter is having her 16th bday party next week...and this is exactly what I was looking for..thanks for the information, I think this will be so fun for them and exciting to see their results!

  13. This is perfect. Thank you so much, Carmen

  14. great fun ideas. thanks. i am having trouble finding the 100 riddles link...and also, we would probably be doing just a neighborhood scavenger hunt for 16 year old boys and girls. Do you have ideas for that? (i couldn't find a list of that either.) thanks a bunch.

  15. Please share the link where I can find the riddles. Where exactly can I find it. Thanks

  16. entertainment is the part of life.if you want to enjoy your life. you

    need must enjoy it. we are provide you to chat in online, join with

    dance club, music, Hollywood Disco, TV show, bar and grill.
    Party ideas

  17. entertainment is the part of life.if you want to enjoy your life. you need must enjoy it. we are provide you to chat in online, join with dance club, music, Hollywood Disco, TV show, bar and grill.
    Party ideas

  18. And, the best part...you will be the cool mom, the fun mom, all the while you'll be providing good, safe fun for the kids.Photo Scavenger Hunt

  19. Where can I find your Amazing Race Theme party? My daughter and I always watch that so I think she would really love that idea. Thank you.

  20. Hi, I am unable to find the list for the riddles? Did you post it?

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  24. Was the two hours good? I'm doing one and I just don't want it to get boring.

  25. Amazed to see this scavenger hunt. Have never arranged such party before but would love to arrange this year for my niece birthday at one of event venues Chicago. Will invite my niece as surprise and her friends there. Will try my best to make everything enjoyable.

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