I have talked to many people who want to make a special scavenger hunt for their significant other, but they don’t know where to begin. There are plenty of websites offering general scavenger hunt advice, but I wanted to make a detailed guide that will help people from start to finish. There is a lot of info here, but I have broken it up into easy steps for you to follow.
Note: This guide assumes you will be doing the scavenger hunt at home – I will be creating other posts soon regarding outdoor scavenger hunts.
The very first step is to plan what will be the big thing at the end of the scavenger hunt. Why is that first? Because that will motivate you to make this scavenger hunt! If you don’t have a big surprise in mind right away, you might lose focus or lose interest in going through this process. But if you have an awesome surprise in mind right away, that excitement will keep you motivated as you complete each step.
What makes a good big surprise? I recommend something that is both exciting and useful. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be really fun or something they genuinely need. The actual surprise does not have to be romantic! The scavenger hunt itself will be romantic by incorporating your special memories and favorite things as part of the hunt. The big surprise could be a chainsaw if that is what your significant other would get excited about.
Once you have picked the end surprise, the game is on, and it’s time to go back to the beginning.
Spend half an hour writing down a list of fun memories that you two have had together. This list will help you to think of good clues and hiding places. It will also make the entire scavenger hunt more unique and special. And by actually writing it out, you will naturally brainstorm other ideas as you are writing.
Try to think of very specific memories. Instead of “Our trip to Disney World”, narrow it down more to something like “The Mickey and Minnie ornament we had personalized at the Christmas shop.” With a distinct memory like this, you can use the location of this ornament as a hiding spot.
Instead of making it up as you go along, make a list of hiding places in advance. This will make it easy for you to organize your clues, and to select the best hiding places. Think outside the box. Your list can certainly include places like the mailbox and the microwave, but don’t forget about places like the flowers you planted together, or behind their favorite book on the bookshelf. Use your list of memories to help you pick out hiding places.
After you have your list ready, narrow it down to 6-10 hiding places. Fewer than 6 makes for a scavenger hunt that feels too short. And for most people, more than 10 locations can make the hunt start to drag. If the big surprise is physically large, make sure one of your hiding places can accommodate it, and is also well hidden so that it won’t be found accidentally when looking for other clues.
Now that you have your list of memories and your list of hiding places, you are ready to make your clues. The style of the clues will be completely up to you. Some people like to use simple and direct clues like “The first picture we hung up after we moved in.” Other people like to make the clues more challenging and obscure, like this clue for a hiding spot in the piano: “I am only black and white. I make joy and sound and might.”
That previous example also rhymes. You don’t have to incorporate rhymes into your clues, but it can make the scavenger hunt feel more authentic. A simple Google search will give you rhyming words for any word.
As you look through your list of hiding places, ask yourself what each hiding place looks like, feels like, and sounds like. This will help you to think about your clues from a different perspective.
Put your clues in the order you want them in, and then take a second look at everything. Here is what you are looking for:
If you really want to make him or her smile each step of the way, leave small presents with each clue. Here are some possibilities:
You probably already have a date in mind for when you are doing the scavenger hunt. Now you need to plan when you will hide the clues and the big present. Give yourself at least half an hour, just in case something goes wrong during set-up. If you have children or other people living with you, let them know what you are planning so they can either join in, or stay out of the way.
I recommend also having the house clean ahead of time – this will make for a more relaxing scavenger hunt without the distraction of a messy house.
When everything is ready to go, hand them their first clue and start the scavenger hunt! Give them the time and space they need to figure out the clues for themselves – they will likely come to you if they are really stuck. Remember that this scavenger hunt is for them, and not for you. So let them have fun, and enjoy their journey and their reactions.
If they had a great time, come back to our site again in a few months and we’ll help you make another one!