A scavenger hunt can be a fun way to liven up a party and create a competitive environment that encourages the participants to think outside of the box. Typically, scavenger hunts require that participants solve riddles to determine their next goal.
Riddles That Lead to Objects
Scavenger hunts often require the players to acquire a specific series of objects. In fact, the winner of a scavenger hunt, whether a team or an individual, is often determined by either who has acquired the greatest number of those objects or who gathers all of the objects first.
Creative Youth Ideas, a website devoted to entertaining kids in innovative ways, provides a number of object-driven riddles that will be fun for kids and adults alike.
Riddle: My life can be measured in hours, I serve by being devoured. Thin, I am quick, Fat, I am slow, Wind is my foe.
Answer: A candle
Riddle: What has to be broken before it can be used? Answer: An egg
Riddle: You use it between your head and your toes, the more it works the thinner it grows. Answer: A bar of soap
If you'd rather not design your scavenger hunt around known riddles, you can create riddles yourself by choosing a word that has multiple meanings and creating a riddle from that foundation. For example, if you'd like your players to find a computer mouse, you can design a riddle that plays with the two most common definitions of "mouse," the mouse that scurries and a computer mouse.
Sometimes trapped Sometimes plugged Sometimes squeaking Sometimes dumb
Another example that plays on the multiple meanings of words is:
What has a tail and has a neck, but has not legs and has not head?
Answer: Dress shirt
Riddles That Lead to Places
To locate specific objects, players must often venture to specific places. Place-based riddles can lead your scavengers driving all over town, or in some cases, all over the country. A.R. Miller from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology offers these place-based riddles to get your hunters travelling:
Riddle: What has four eyes and runs south? Answer: The Mississippi
Riddle: What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a head but never weeps? Answer: A river
Riddle: Where does love always mean nothing? Answer: On a tennis court
Riddle: What starts with "P", ends with "E", and has many letters? Answer: Post Office
A self-designed place-driven riddle can be approached from a number of angles, including the purpose for the place, the design of the structure itself (if unique), and/or the actions performed in the place. For example, if you'd like to send your players to the library, you can use both the contents of the building and the actions performed therein to design a riddle.
Full of leaves bound to please, Borrow from me whenever you please, Keep what's mine and pay a fine.
Riddles That Lead to Actions
If you'd like your scavenger hunt to result in whole groups of people performing ridiculous and not-so-ridiculous feats, action-driven riddles may be more appropriate. In "Amidst a Tangled Web," Dan Hersam offers these riddles to get your scavengers doing instead of looking.
Riddle: When set loose, I fly away, never so cursed, as when I go astray. Answer: Fart
Riddle: Say my name and I disappear. What am I? Answer: Silence
Riddle: A mile from end to end, yet as close to as a friend. A precious commodity, freely given. Seen on the dead and on the living. Found on the rich, poor, short and tall, but shared among children most of all. What is it? Answer: Smile
Riddle: The more you take, the more you leave behind. Answer: Footsteps
A self-designed riddle that leads to an action is in some ways more difficult to write because riddles are contingent on the multiple meanings of nouns not verbs. As a result, in designing a riddle that leads to an action, you must choose a verb that can also function as a noun. For example:
Open wide and let me out Stifle me and feel me shout Pardon you for pardoning air Pardon me for my great flare. Answer: Burp