If you are planning to organize a scavenger hunt, you may be wondering how much time you are committing yourself to. It’s a good question, and one that does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. Be that as it may, Scavenger Hunt Scout is here to provide the information you need. In order to determine how long setting up a scavenger hunt or clue hunt will take, you will need to know a little bit about what type of hunt you are planning. Is it a basic scavenger hunt with a list of items participants will search for? Or will it be a clue hunt, with riddles and hints that lead to items? Will there be a theme?
Besides the type of hunt, you also need to determine the distance involved. A scavenger hunt that sends players all over town to gather items may be much more impressive and memorable, but it will also require considerably more time than one limited to your backyard or a classroom. We will consider the type of hunt first, then factor in distance.
A theme scavenger hunt will generally take more time overall than either a regular scavenger hunt or a clue hunt. For a theme scavenger hunt, not just any items will do… your list should be populated with things that complement your theme. You can get away with a few generalized items if you are struggling to make a long enough list, but the more non-related things you include in a theme scavenger hunt the weaker the overall effect becomes. As a general rule, plan to take twice as long on theme scavenger hunt items as you would on normal items with no theme requirements.
Theme or no theme, the number of items included on your list will dictate the time investment required. If you have no previous experience creating scavenger hunts, it’s a good idea to set aside 15 to 30 minutes per item for a traditional scavenger hunt (not including travel time). As already mentioned, double that time allowance if you are going with a particular theme, unless the nature of the theme makes picking items very easy. If you are creating a clue hunt, you may be able to save a significant amount of time because clue hunts can be far easier to manage in terms of the actual items involved. (Read the clue hunt section for more details). A good scavenger hunt should have a bare minimum of 10 items, unless you plan for puzzles or other challenges to add time to each item. A better hunt will have 20 or more items.
If the boundaries of your scavenger hunt require you to travel, you will obviously want to include the time it takes to reach the items… but that’s not all. The start and stop nature of setting up an item then journeying to go to the next one usually adds time to the process beyond just the extra minutes in the car. This may not be the case if your destinations are very familiar to you, but it’s a possibility to keep in mind so you don’t get caught off guard, especially if you are visiting areas new to you.
There are other considerations to think about when figuring out how long a scavenger hunt will take to set up. It is important to realize that you have a lot of leeway when it comes to the time scale. Although incorporating features like challenges, puzzles, or interaction with people in your event will add more setup time, you can also cut out a lot of time requirement by including pictures of landmarks or other permanent structures on the list of items to be found. List items of that nature do not require any effort to set up, as long as you can be positive they are permanent. Some scavenger hunts consist entirely of fixed landmarks, statues, and similar unmovable items that take no time to prepare other than making up the list. These types of hunts may not always be as satisfying or challenging to complete, but they are certainly easier and faster to arrange! As a last resort, if you are running out of time you can always cut back your list to fewer items.