Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party

What better way to plan a stand out party than to have a scavenger hunt birthday party! It's a very unique way to give them their gift, and end off with a fun party. This turns into an all day event and you end off with a night full of friends, food and fun.

We have two variations of a scavenger hunt birthday party theme. The first is a scavenger hunt setup just for the birthday person. The second is a scavenger hunt for the party guests, too. To skip to group version, Click Here

There are variations of scavenger hunts that make great hobbies. Geocaching is one example, where treasure boxes are placed at specific coordinates that you can locate with a GPS. It is a variation on an older game called Letterboxing.

geocaching scavenger hunt

Option 1 - Send the Birthday Person on a Scavenger Hunt

What is a Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party?

Just like when you were a kid, it is exactly as the name says - a scavenger hunt. We used to all have these for Easter especially. It's a fun little treasure hunt.

This is set up to have the birthday person take an adventure, finding little gifts along the way and discovering the big treasure at the end (the party!)


What You Need for the Hunt?

  • A few small gifts
  • Paper and Envelopes, and a few colored markers and pen.
  • Helium Balloons, and some decorations
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Party organized at the end of hunt

These are just some of the basic things you will need for any scavenger hunt, but you may end up using some other things to make yours uniquely fun. You want to make sure that the whole experience is memorable and special to the birthday person.


These scavenger hunts are always going to be different, because you are making each one specific to a person. But there are some tips we can give to get you started on planning your hunt.


Tip #1: Creating Your Course

You need to create the hunt itself, like a road map. It is where you want to send the birthday person to hunt for their gifts.

When creating this map, make it progress from their home (or work) to end off at the party location. It could be fun (but also cruel) if you send them back and forth a ton of times to find all the treasures.

An easy way to help organize your course is to draw it like a map. This will give you a good blueprint when planning and organizing on the big day.

Here are a few ideas for places you may want to send them:

  • Work
  • A local spot they hang out
  • Their favorite store
  • Friend's or Family's houses
  • A local coffee shop
  • The Park

Always make sure to end off at a place where you will be and the party will be. The best way to make this type of party theme fun is to make sure they do not know there is a party at the end. Make every step a surprise!


Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party Tip #2: Make Them Think

You do not want to just leave notes saying "Go Here" and "Look in Top Drawer". That is just no fun! They need to think and have to solve puzzles along the way.

What you want to do is make riddles and puzzles for them to solve. You can use things like inside jokes or past experiences to give them hints about where to go. But also, don't make them TOO complicated that they will get stuck for hours and never reach the party.

It is important to send them to places with meaning to them so you can easily create some riddles for them to solve.

For Example:

One of your "stops" is to a coffee shop you guys always go to.

You always order a caramel latte and last time you were there you spilled it all over the floor when you tripped.

Create a riddle like "It was a great trip but a waste of a caramel latte!"


Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party Tip #3: Hide the Treasures

Once you have them at the location you need to get them to find each little gift, and the next clue.

** If your locations are public places, be sure to get consent from the property owner - and make sure they watch that no one touches your stuff. Another alternative is to use public parks and hide things where visitors won't normally look, or in the back yards of family and friends. **

Create some envelopes with "50's" colorfully decorated all over them. These will hold the next clue, and give a visual of where the treasure is.

You can also have this envelope attached to a helium balloon somewhere in the location so it stands out.

You can do the directions to the treasures in a few different ways:

  • Create a mini map of the location with an "X" where the present is.
  • Give foot by foot instructions (7 steps forward, 2 steps to the left, etc).
  • Put arrows in tape on the floor.

In the location have a small box with the gift and place it near or with the next clue.

Tip #4: The Final Destination: Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party

Make this clue a little more difficult to solve. This will be where you and the guests are.

This clue does not need the map or instructions to where in the location the gift is because you will be there with everyone.

If you do have a larger gift you would like to give them - have a gift giving time so everyone can give their gifts.


Tip #5: Ideas for Treasures

These gifts should be sentimental and special to the person. The large end gift is the actual gift and for that you can use our 50th Birthday Gift Ideas to help you pick out the perfect one.

For those little "filler" gifts or treasures, you can use funny prank gifts, keepsake memories or whatever you feel will fit the theme.

Here are some ideas:

  • Box of their favorite chocolates or jars of their favorite candies
  • Framed pictures of some of your great memories
  • Stuffed animals
  • Coffee Shop or store gift cards
  • Picture collages
  • "Over the Hill" t-shirt
  • Birthday Boy/Girl Pin
  • DVD's of movies you guys love
  • Baked goods

You can always tie each small gift to the next location. For example, if the next location is your favorite coffee shop; make the gift a $20 gift card to that coffee shop.



Option 2 - Everyone Participates - the Party Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt has become a tradition at the University of Chicago. Read about it in this New Yorker article about it.

You could model your scavenger hunt on this example, but use fewer items to keep it reasonable, of course.

In a traditional scavenger hunt, the hunters are provided with a list of items to find. The winner is the person or team who returns first with all the items.


Free Download: How To Organize a Scavenger Hunt

We have put together a free How-To Scavenger Hunt Cheat Sheet. If you have any suggestions for making it better, please share them with us!


For something a bit more detailed, here is an offer that includes a set of party games along with a scavenger hunt guide. Many people have used it to plan their 50th birthday party.

Click Here for an interesting Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party Book.




We hope these tips help make a fun-filled scavenger hunt birthday party.

If you could find a way to secretly tape the whole thing, that could be a great party event - share it with all the guests. At the very least, ask your participants to take photos at each find to share with the larger group later.

Even if it's not secretly and you go on the hunt as videographer, it will make a great keepsake.