The end of October brings brightly colored leaves, plump, round pumpkins and the holiday that brings out the kid in all of us — Halloween. A time for costumes, treats and parties, Halloween begs for creativity and a touch of whimsy to create lasting memories. Halloween scavenger hunts are an interactive way to spice up any Halloween gathering. Designing a hunt that will be a hit with the kids requires careful planning, but they’re sure to talk about it well into the winter holiday season.Planning
Choosing a theme for your scavenger hunt can help you narrow the focus of the hunt. A Fall Harvest theme is a good choice for preschoolers and toddlers, as some of your little guests may be fearful of witches or ghosts. Plan your teams in advance, creating balanced teams by pairing a few preschool-aged kids with toddlers and include an adult as the leader. Print a list of items or locations for each team to find or visit, using pictures so the children can “read” it, too. If you are going to place a clue at each location, mix up the order on each team’s list to avoid having all the teams at the same location at once.Picture It
Implementing technology into a scavenger hunt is an easy way to encourage creativity without much planning. Give the adult leader of each team a digital camera or smart phone along with a list of items to photograph. The team who completes the list first and makes it back to the starting point is the winning team. A list might include an orange pumpkin, a black cat, someone in a ghost costume or a house with scary decorations. For a preschooler-heavy crowd, have the teams piece together the word “Halloween,” or “Spooky” by taking a picture of each individual letter, perhaps from signs or items in nature that form the same shape as the letter. Enlist the adults to offer support on finding the appropriate letters.Create a Costume
If you don’t mind a fair amount of preparation, a “Create-a-Costume” scavenger hunt will bring smiles to everyone involved. The object of the hunt is to be the first team to find all of the necessary items for one costume and dress one team member in the costume. To prepare, you’ll need to acquire the items needed for one costume per team, hide each item in a different place and create a clue list for each team. The complexity of each costume can vary based on the children’s ages. Preschoolers might enjoy finding boots, overalls, a straw hat and straw to dress as a scarecrow or wings, a tutu, a wand and a tiara to create a fairy.Safety
In order to keep all of the kids safe during the scavenger hunt, it’s critical to address several safety issues. The hunt area needs to be clearly defined, whether you’re inside a house, in the backyard or utilizing the entire neighborhood. Use neon tape or flagging to clearly mark outdoor areas. Notify neighbors of the event, giving them the option to participate or not. Assign at least one adult to each team to ensure all kids will be looked after. If the scavenger hunt will take place in the evening hours, arm each team with a flashlight.