Classic Scavenger Hunt

fancy doorknob on a neon green door

Summary: The Classic Scavenger Hunt is where kids go from door to door in your neighbor asking for various and sundry items.

Set Up: Teams should consist of about three to four children. These teams can be pre-assigned or made the day of the party.

Each team needs a "territory". This can be as simple as which side of the street for each team. If you live in an apartment complex, this may be which buildings they are assigned. Figure out how many teams and territories before the party begins.

Equipment: A list of items that need to be collected for the classic scavenger hunt. Make sure the teams know to tell the neighbors they will NOT be returning these items.

Each team needs a bag to carry their loot home in. I like to use old pillow cases. They seem to hold up better under the wear and tear. If you have few school back packs, these also do well and are easy to carry.

One member of each team needs to have a wrist watch.

How to Play: Have a time limit. If a teams returns with all items before the end of the time limit, they get 3 extra points. Second team back before the end of the time limit gets 2 extra points. All other teams back before the time limit get 1 extra point. No extra points for coming in AT time limit. One point deducted for coming in AFTER time limit has been called.

All teams leave the starting point at the same time.

Teams must knock on neighbors doors and ask for help in gathering these items. Each door can give as many items from the list as they want. Again, no items will be returned.

Sample List

empty soda can

foreign currency

graded homework

business card

dead battery

piece of yarn


joker from a deck of cards

empty matchbook


old toothbrush

cd case


piece of junk mail

rubber band

something pink

cereal box


hunk of charcoal

chenille stick (also known as a pipe cleaner)

empty gum wrapper

brown paper bag

something burnt

sock with a hole in it

article from today's newspaper


something edible

unused tea bag

strip of duct tape, extra points if it is NOT silver

piece of dry cat/dog food




birthday candle

I lived on a typical street where my parents knew all the neighbors. It was an easy game to play with two teams since we would just each get assigned one side of the street. We lived near the top of Zakon Road and there was a drainage ditch at the bottom of the hill. We didn't need a time limit for our game. The rule was "When you've done knocked all the doors from the top of the hill to the ditch, come home. Or if the street lights come on, you're done." Pretty simple in those days.

When we all met back at my house, each team would empty their pillow cases and share stories about who gave them what, and how many items we had gotten at ONE stop!

If you have a safe neighborhood, and your kids know the folks who live near you, this game provides a whole evening of entertainment.

I have had so much fun remembering this classic scavenger hunt, it made me want to take my kids on one tonight. Too bad we don't live in a neighborhood with street lights. That would make my memory complete.

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