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Monday, November 5, 2007

Thing 75: Organize a Scavenger Hunt

A city-wide photo scavenger hunt, my friends. I organized a city-wide photo scavenger hunt for my birthday. Because drag queens and orcas and Creme just weren't enough, I wouldn't rest until rogue teams of costumed individuals roamed the streets of DC harassing tourists and slamming back sangria. It was everything I had hoped it would be.
I had been dreaming about this event since I casually mentioned it to a friend in January for his birthday and he passed on the idea. I realized I was relieved, because I wanted the idea for myself. Then came Urban Dare, and it made me want to organize my own version that much more. And so, as the Saturday before Halloween dawned clear and the previous night's rain dried up, I met my friends in Dupont Circle to let the games begin.

This was incredibly fun and relatively easy to plan, and I urge you all to do this too (or, as the entrepreneurial Boyfriend insists I mention -- I will do it for you, for a nominal fee). Teams met in Dupont Circle at 2, and were handed a list of over 60 places, things, people, foods and drinks, all of which were weighted with different point values based on distance and/or difficulty in obtaining. I did it this way, rather than with clues or a shorter list, so that I could play too. There was an element of strategy involved this way that did not guarantee that I would win (and boy, did I not win. My team got smoked in fact). The teams then had four hours to run around the city, collecting as many photographs off the list as they could in an attempt to get the highest point total.

The list included everything from the DC specific (the point where the four quadrants begin, Duke Ellington's childhood home, Dorothy's ruby slippers), to the crafty (on 'spinning' bikes, in an elevator, playing shuffleboard), to the embarrassing (a tourist with a fanny pack, three tourists doing the "Charlie's Angels" in front of the Spy Museum), to local foods and drinks (sangria at Jaleo, a Julia's empanada, a salty oat cookie from Teaism). Extra high marks were awarded to the damn near impossible - 150 points for either a U.S. Senator, or George Clooney (who was in fact in town filming a movie that weekend). No one managed to snag a picture with George or a U.S. Senator, although our team did do a sweep of the men's rooms at Union Station.
Since it was the Saturday before Halloween, costumes were encouraged, but not required. One team showed up in some amazing lederhosen, which led to one of my favorite moments of the whole afternoon. Stopping at Jaleo for a quick sangria, the bartender told us that there had been another team in to do the same thing earlier in the afternoon. "They were dressed like Keebler Elves, but taller," he informed me.

At 6:30, all the teams met back up at Ben's Chili Bowl for dinner, cake and prizes. First prize went to team No Pugs with an amazing and unbeatable 515 points. The prize is a dinner cooked by me, so really, I was going to be a winner no matter, sharing food with good friends sometime soon.

You can check out all the wacky and ridiculous pictures here. And if you'd like to do one of these yourself in the it! I will be happy to help, just leave a comment and I'll get right back to you.


Caroline said...

What a great idea-- I may have to steal it for next year. I imagine the hardest part is finding enough people who have four hours free on a Saturday.

Oh, and happy brithday!

dc365 said...

Happy birthday to you too, my dear C!

Because I am neurotic, the evite was preceeded by a "save the date" about two months out. Which is how we managed a turnout of about 50 people with a free afternoon...

Michelle said...

hey, looks like you had some great ideas! I'm planning one as well a few months away from now, and was wondering how you got the pictures at the end of the afternoon, did everyone use disposable? or did everyone have digitals? I'm just worried about not being able to hook up every camera to my computer, and having technical problems...any help would be much appreciated!

dc365 said...

Michelle - Here is how we worked it:

When teams got back to Ben's Chili Bowl, I asked them to total their own scores and hand them in. From the self reported scores, I verified only the top 3 teams's pictures by looking at them directly on their digital camera. After the hunt itself, over the next few days, I asked everyone to email me their pics so I could compile them on my Flickr page.

Everyone seems to have a digital camera or cell phone camera these days, which makes reviewing the pics on the spot a lot easier.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

happy belated birthday! i was definitely interested in hearing more about your offer to organize one? i'd like to do one for my birthday!

dc365 said...

Hey Anonymous! Unfortunately, you didn't leave your email address. Leave me another comment with your email address, and I'll email you directly (I won't publish the comment or your address).

D'ana Downing said...

OMIGOSH! My birthday is right around the corner and I've been wrecking my brain trying to think of a U Street Scavenger Hunt...Can you help me?

dc365 said...

D'ana, you are in luck. I am currently planning the 2nd annual, and I have lots of ideas. Email me at fgalleto at gmail dot com.