Illustration by Leanna

It is very easy to feel like your town is the most boring place on earth when you’re stuck there all summer, but you can find ways to make it fun. One of the quickest, easiest ways to do that is with a scavenger hunt. For those of you uninitiated in the ways of the scavenger hunt, it’s basically a list of things you’re trying to find, and the first group or person to find all of the stuff wins! I’ve put together a scavenger hunt that will keep you busy for a few hours, and maybe help you see your town in a new light.

The rules are pretty loose; you can play with a couple of people, or large groups of people. It’s more fun when you’re working with others, so try to at least get enough people together to pair off. You can set your own time limits and places to rendezvous. Since Rookie cares about you, there are some golden rules you need to follow to keep yourself safe.

Golden Rules:

  1. This is a daytime activity. You should be using safe spaces that you are comfortable with, and always work in a group.
  2. There should be no property damage involved here. Be courteous of flower beds, shelved products, and the like. We don’t want you getting in trouble with neighbors/parents/police.
  3. Don’t be annoying to sales clerks or businesspeople. If you’re going to use stores for any of these activities, be respectful of the space and people working. Don’t run through the stores loudly or with wild abandon, and always clean up after yourself if you’re making any sort of mess.
  4. Don’t follow a stranger anywhere, don’t get in a stranger’s car, and don’t even TALK to a stranger unless you’re in public with a lot of people around. A lot of these prompts ask you to not use someone in your group, but that doesn’t mean we want you throwing yourselves into vans or accosting anyone in your path. Parents, teachers, neighbors, other friends—these are all good choices.

Materials needed:

  • Some kind of camera and/or video camera.
  • Up to $15.
  • Glue (optional).
  • Glitter (optional).
  • Friends, or people you don’t mind hanging out with.
  • A couple of hours on a nice day.

Here we go!! Collect everything on this list, and note that there are different point values for your different finds. (You’ll have to figure out how to prove that you’ve done each step, but photos and videos generally come in handy.)

1. Graveyards Are Not Just for Goths
Take a picture of the oldest headstone you can find. (+2 points for the oldest one, +1 point for second-oldest)

Bonus points: Find a headstone of someone that was born and died on the same day or who shares a birthday with someone in your group. (+5 points each)

2. Impromptu Karaoke
Get your video camera ready for this one. Before you get started, have everyone agree on one song that all groups will use. Your job is to go up to someone—a sibling, a neighbor, that cute skater you’ve been eyeing for months—and sing the first few words or lines of a song, then signal them to finish the song. Try to pick something fun like “Call Me Maybe,” or try to get your dad to finish singing “Super Bass,” for maximum hilarity. Videotape it for proof! (+3 points)

Bonus points: The person you pick can finish the entire song. (+5 points)

3. The One With the Titles
Before you split up, everyone should agree upon and write down one completely absurd phrase, something like “Macrame Honey Explosions in Subterranean Malta Cheese Zones.” Your job as a team is to create this phrase one word at a time. Take a picture of each word as you find it, and get creative—utilize bookstores, grocery stores, thrift stores, buildings directories, bottle labels, etc. (+4 points)

4. Dogs!
People love walking their dogs in the summer, so you’ll see them out and about all the time. Your mission is to take five pictures of five different dogs. If you’re not a fan of dogs, you can choose another animal, but know that we could never be friends. You don’t have to interact with them if you’re afraid or allergic, so keep your distance and use the zoom if necessary. (If you’re taking the picture at point-blank range, ask the owner’s permission first!) (+1 point for each dog picture)

Bonus points: You get a picture of all five dogs together. (+7 points)

More bonus points: Take a picture of someone in your group kissing a pug. (+10 points)

5. Stuck in the Middle
Take a picture of someone in your group in two places at once (e.g., standing on the border between two towns, inside and outside at once, half in the rain and half out of it, etc.). (+3 points)

Bonus points: Take a picture of someone in three places at once. (+7 points)

6. Thrift Store Extravaganza
Rookies love thrift stores (aka jumble sales, charity shops, hospice shops resale shops, op shops, etc.), and for a good reason—they’re cheap and fun. Your mission in this step is to go into a thrift store with your group, pick out and buy the worst outfit you can find for $10, and assign it to a member of another team to wear all day! (+7 points)

7. I Love That Scene!
We all have favorite movie moments. I could probably recite every line of Heathers from beginning to end. Your mission is to utilize your group to re-create a favorite movie moment, on film. (+3 points)

Bonus points: You choose a musical. (Just because they are more fun, and the chances for hilarity increase tenfold.) (+5 points)

8. Made-Up Languages
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your mission is to make up a language, and try to ask someone for directions in that language. You need to be convincing, so try not to giggle too much. (+2 points)

Bonus points: It actually works. (+5 points)

9. Charades
We’re combining games here a little bit, but this one is fun. Your mission is to get someone who isn’t in your group to guess what you’re miming. (+3 points)

Bonus points: You find a way to act the Wells Tower book title Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. (+10 points)

10. Drink the Grossest Thing
Most restaurants have free condiments available. Ask for or buy a cup half-filled with water, and then start pouring. Dump in ketchup, pepper, mustard, EVERYTHING FREE AND AVAILABLE TO YOU, and then make someone in your group drink it while you capture it on film. (You can also do this at someone’s house—more ingredients options.) (+5 points)

Bonus points: The drinker doesn’t puke…or does. (+5 points)

11. Gaslighting
“Gaslighting,” named for a play and then film starring Ingrid Bergman, is when you try to make someone doubt their own memory by changing something ever so slightly, so naturally we’re going to ask you to use someone’s parents/guardian for this one. Move something in the house ever so slightly—switch the contents of two cabinets in the kitchen, move a table from one side of the room to the other—and wait for a reaction. (+8 points, labor intensive)

Bonus points: You move all the inside furniture outside, and vice versa. (+15 points)

Extra bonus points: You videotape a reaction when your parents/victims are visibly confused. (+3 points)

12. Open Letter
Go into a public library and write a letter to the EFFING WORLD and slip it into a random page of a Nicholas Sparks novel or The Da Vinci Code. (+3 points)

13. Roses Are Red
Pick a tiny bunch of flowers from the side of the road (not from private property, you hooligans) and give it to the next cute girl or boy you see. (+5 points)

14. Art Appreciation
Spot three graffiti tags on the highway (or the street/sidewalk/whatever) by the same artist. (+5 points)

Feel free to add your own activities! You know your town better than anyone, so use your knowledge to make this as fun as possible. ♦

Special thanks to Amy Rose, Tavi, Jenny, and Pixie for contributing ideas.