With Halloween just around the corner, lots of our neighbors have started putting decorations in their yards, and when my kids see them, they know … it’s time for a neighborhood scavenger hunt! These hunts are a fun way to get out the house, soak up some sunshine, and keep the kids entertained. As far as activities go, it’s beyond easy to put together, and it costs me absolutely nothing. Here’s how you can create your own neighborhood scavenger hunt in two simple steps:
First, I drive around and take note of the decorations I see, so that when I make my kids their scavenger hunt list, I know I’m setting them up for success and not melt downs if they can’t find something. I try to get a basic sense of our route and plan out where we want to go.
Then, I write out a list. Because my kids can’t read yet, I include a simple picture by each item just to help with identification. It’s as easy as that! We set out by foot or pile into the stroller or wagon with our list and a pencil and start scouring the streets for the listed decorations.
And that’s it!
No, really, that’s it. Your scavenger hunt is now in action! You can even download this list to get you started:
Make it work for you! For example, there’s a skeleton dinosaur on our street that will definitely be on the list because it’s a big hit with our kids, but that’s very specific to our area and probably won’t be on everyone’s list. I haven’t seen any zombies around, so that won’t be on our list, but it might be on yours. Knowing your terrain helps make the hunt better, especially if your kids are young.
Customize your hunt!
Want to take it a step further? Check out these suggestions for making your Halloween scavenger hunts even more interactive:
- Tally up: Pick one item (or more!) to tally instead of just finding one. How many jack-o-lanterns did we see in total on our walk?
- Make a comparison: How many real pumpkins versus fake pumpkins can you find?
- Level up: Drive to a different neighborhood where you aren’t familiar with the decorations and see what you can find on the list!
- Get specific: For each item on the list, make subitems with extra details. Not only can you look for a regular old witch, you can also look for one with a broom, one with a cauldron, etc.
- Add to the list: Were there any cool decorations you saw that weren’t listed? We love to write down unique decorations we weren’t expecting to see.
- Rain check: If you decorate inside your house like I do, play the game inside with your own decor!
- Math skills: If your child is math-inclined, have them tally every type of decoration they find, then at home, create a bar graph out of your data. (3 skeletons, 4 spiders, 2 witches, 1 scarecrow… then interpret what you found!)
- Story time: If your child is extra imaginative, have them invent a story about what they saw on the walk, using the decorations as characters. You can even help them create illustrations.
- Practice reading: Lots of garden flags have words on them. For reading-aged kids, include phrases on the list for your child to find, like Happy Halloween, Trick-or-Treat, and Boo!
- Character hunt: Are there seasonal characters in your neighborhood like Vampire Mickey, Jack Skellington, or Charlie Brown? This makes for a verrry specific scavenger hunt!