Anyone can plan a pub crawl. But it takes a little extra creativity to move beyond "hanging out at the bar" together into an epic night of awesome revelry.
The key is finding a fun theme that everyone can get behind — and one you can pull off with as little planning as possible. Because once you name a theme, a date, a time and a location, everything else falls in place.
You can't just pick any theme
You can always go with themes that everyone else is doing (zombies seems particularly popular these days), but the most successful themes reflect the times — and your personality. Anyone with half a brain can grab a group of friends and head out on the town with no or little planning, but having a theme makes the night memorable. It makes it appealing — if anyone was on the fence about attending when you invited them to your plain old pub crawl, they'll be jumping at the chance to be party of your themed pub crawl.
So what are some good ideas for pub crawl themes? Here are 9 suggestions that will have people clearing their calendars to join you for a night out on the town.
Scavenger hunt theme
Perhaps we're biased because we're such scavenger hunt freaks, but when you add a competition to your pub crawl, everyone jumps in right away. Trying to solve crazy challenges like finding the best beard in the bar and taking a team selfie, or having the bartender create a drink just for your team, brings an unbeatable element of fun to just plain old drinking (which, let's face it, is usually pretty fun all by itself). Finding things is FUN. Completing crazy challenges is FUN. Scavenger hunts are FUN. When you're competing for free drinks at the end of the hunt (always a good prize to offer the winning team), you can bet everyone will bring their A-Game. (Take a look at our scavenger hunt built just for pub crawls!)
"Gotta Drink 'Em All" Pokemon Go Pub Crawl
PokemonGO is all the rage right now, and thus because it's so timely (and has built-in games and moving around), it's a perfect theme for a bar crawl. Meet at your favorite PokeGym and start battling it out over beers. Winners at each location get to pick the next bar.
Hulk Hogan theme
Take your vitamins and say your prayers, because Hulkamania isn't just for the 80s — it's also a chance for you and your friends to wear blonde moustaches and overtly flex your muscles in front of strangers. By letting the Hulk become your alter-ego for the night, you have no other choice than to have an awesome experience. (And if this photo doesn't motivate you enough to try this theme, we don't know what will.)
Pick your favorite 80s movie
Whether it's Top Gun, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Star Wars or The Lost Boys, movies made in the 1980s offer plenty of catchphrases to yell at the bar and costumes to wear that will keep everyone guessing.
Or maybe instead of picking just one movie, you have everyone come dressed as their favorite 80s movie character — that gives everyone a little bit more flexibility when it comes to dressing up (though the photos won't be as cool as if everyone is from the same movie).
Pick your favorite article of clothing
This is a twist on the Snuggie theme, which was popular a few years back. Daniel Tosh is famous for picking one article of clothing that he wears for every season of his show on Comedy Central: cardigan sweater, bow tie, kaftan, and sweater vests. Take your pick, and have everyone wear their favorite version — they can be tame or wild, it's up to the participant.
Literary Pub Crawl
Harry Potter seems an obvious topic, but depending on your taste and style, you could go more classy (Jane Austen, anyone?) or more raunchy (50 Shades of Grey), which sounds like a bachelorette party waiting to happen. You could also have readings along the way, or visit bars that have a literary backstory.
Lumberjack/Lumberjill Pub Crawl
We all can find a flannel shirt, a toque and an eyebrow pencil for a moustache last minute. A lumberjack theme will put you in the mood for drinking, the costume is comfortable (and warm) making it easy to move quickly from pub to pub in the winter months, and the possibility is high for breaking out in song (isn't that something lumberjacks do?). This theme gets bonus points for being easy, unique AND fun.
Dress like your parents
This is a twist on dressing up for a specific era and instead you dress like your parents. Most people will just pick the 90s or the 80s and expand on that theme, but you may have some friends who want to get really specific and wear bow ties or house dresses. What's it like to be your parents on a pub crawl? You're about to find out.
Let the Universe decide
Assuming you've got a date in mind, picking a theme from that day's holidays can be a no brainer. For instance, I just checked, and today is National All or Nothing Day, while March 8 is Be Nasty Day. Use checkiday.com to find out what you should be celebrating today. Or pick a month: August is National Golf Month (come dressed in your favorite collared shirt and tacky pants).
Got any more great theme ideas? Leave 'em in the comments!
It used to be that scavenger hunts were just for kids. Maybe at camp someone handed you a list of things like "acorn" and "a leaf in the shape of a heart;" or maybe your dad sent you out into the neighborhood looking for a rubber band or some other random item to get you out of his hair.
But it turns out scavenger hunts can be AWESOME, now that you've grown up and pay bills and actually enjoy going to Target. Why not take the time-tested kid scavenger hunt and turn it into something crazy-cool? It's time to turn your birthday party from just a boring get-together where everyone brings a card and then leaves an hour later into an epic celebration that will be remembered for months — if not years — later.
Psst...want us to do it for you? We've done the work and designed a hunt designed just for adult birthday parties.
A great scavenger hunt starts with your guest list
Birthdays usually mean bringing together people from all different parts of your life (or if you're planning for a spouse or partner, people from different parts of their lives): work friends, family, childhood buddies, college besties, neighbors, friends from church or the PTA. For the person celebrating their birthday, it means having all the people you love best in one place. But it can be awkward for those who only know you in a certain context, and don't know anyone else at the party.
That's where a scavenger hunt can step in and save the day: by putting two to four people together who don't really know each other — and then ask them to complete a bunch of tasks that asks them to be a little silly, or display some special talent — your friends will become fast friends in the span of an hour, not to mention they'll learn more about each other than they ever could sitting next to each other at the table.
So as you're planning your scavenger hunt, think about who would make a great team — maybe Emily from accounting recently mentioned her love of yoga, and your sister was just raving to you how much she's enjoying the book Poser: My Life in 23 Poses, it may be time to get these two together for an hour and a half of scavenger hunting. Also, generally speaking, the more people you have to participate, the more fun everyone will have.
Set clear expectations for the hunt
hMost people think they know what a scavenger hunt is all about, but when it comes down to it, the details remain a little fuzzy. That's why it's good to establish a set of rules BEFORE your hunt, and send them out to everyone who's invited at least several days ahead of time so they know what to expect. This reduces confusion, and may also keep some of your more competitive friends and family from getting themselves or others into trouble. If people read through the rules ahead of time, and then you briefly go over them right before the hunt actually starts, they're more likely to enjoy themselves and not wind up disappointed because they didn't understand something. Whether it's the boundaries of where people can go, or how they approach strangers, the clearer you are about what a team needs to do to win, the better.
Enlist the help of friends (and strangers)
We get a lot of questions about whether or not the person running the hunt can actually be in the hunt — and the answer is totally up to you. But if you do decide to participate, then you'll either have to 1) not score the hunt — which is fine, sometimes it's the journey, not the destination, right? or 2) enlist someone else to help you out, which means having them agree to receive all the photo and video texts and keep track of points. You may also want to consider giving yourself a handicap of 5 points, since you'll have likely have seen all of the challenges beforehand. This doesn't necessarily disqualify you from the hunt, but it's probably a nice gesture to prove you've got no intention of "cheating."
Also, one of the absolute best parts of participating in a scavenger hunt is the interactions you get to have with total strangers. Of course you want people to be safe and aware of their surroundings, but most of the time strangers are totally game to help out with a scavenger hunt, especially if you ask nicely (and not have them do anything too embarrassing). So make sure you throw in at least a few challenges where your team needs to find someone who they've never met before in their life to help them out.
Customize the hunt for the person you're planning it for
One of the best things about scavenger hunts is that you can customize the challenges and trivia to the person you're celebrating. Do they have a favorite celebrity? Have the participants find someone who looks like that person to wish them a happy birthday on video. Is there a beloved childhood pet that only a handful of people know? Give extra points to the team that can guess the name/breed. Find inspiration in the person's social media feed, Google the year they were born, ask parents or siblings for funny stories, integrate the person's age into challenges — the possibilities are endless.
Offer prizes to more than just the top score
It's not absolutely necessary to have prizes — but we've found that it ups the ante (and the fun) significantly if people know they're competing for an actual prize. It doesn't have to be expensive — maybe it's the birthday person's favorite candy, or if you're ambitious, an elaborate trophy you make yourself out of spray paint and plastic animals you found at the thrift store. Regardless, a prize gives people something tangible to compete for. We like awarding prizes for other things besides the top score, including the most creative photo, MVP (Most Valuable Player) to the team member who goes above and beyond to creatively answer a challenge, best stranger, etc.
Share the photos afterward — responsibly
Once the hunt is finished, weed out any really embarrassing photos and make sure you share them with everyone who participated. It's best when you can set up your laptop and a projector to share the photos at the post-hunt celebration (many bars will even let you plug into their TVs), but even just creating a Facebook album or private photo cache after the party allows everyone to relive the fun. Just be sure to take out any photos that are really unflattering, or that might possibly make someone feel bad.
Or just download the hunt from us
Our hunts are an affordable, easy way to host an amazing scavenger hunt, without all the hassle. Our challenges are creative, offer something for everyone in the group and bring people together in a way that's non-threatening but totally fun. Schedule your hunt today, and we'll send you everything you need to know to run an amazing adult birthday scavenger hunt with your friends and family!
These days we're staying pretty busy with corporate events, but that doesn't mean we want to leave the birthday gals/guys, or brides-to-be (and their maids of honor) out — so we've created downloadable scavenger hunts. It's our aim to give you everything you need to run a successful hunt, including the rules (which you can email directly to your players beforehand, reducing stress and confusion at the actual event) and tips and tricks that will help your birthday party or bachelorette party run as smoothly as possible.
Bachelorette party scavenger hunt
If you're looking to create an amazing adventure for your bachelorette party, our scavenger hunt is one of the best ways to get everyone involved and having fun.
Unfortunately, creating scavenger hunt challenges that are fun, creative and just the right amount of difficult can be a lot of work.
That's why we created this download! You'll get a PDF of 31 of some of the most unique challenges you'll ever find (we guarantee the activities are more way more fun and interesting than anything you can find on the web for free). You can include as many players as you want, and play in any downtown area, bar or walkable neighborhood.
Here's what you get for $18:
Print as many of the hunts as you like — it's all included in one price!
Adult scavenger hunt
Birthday parties as an adult usually mean getting together some of your best friends from all different walks of life — but that doesn't necessarily mean that they know each other. One of the best ways to get your various friends from all your tribes to form fast bonds is to put together a scavenger hunt that has them racing around the city/neighborhood/bar, competing for bragging rights or even prizes!
This downloadable hunt gives you almost everything you need to hold a successful hunt — rules, hints about how to make the technology run smoothly, and plenty of challenges that are designed around the birthday boy or girl. Whether your friends are introverts, extroverts, creative geniuses, gifted athletes or nerds, there's something for everyone in the challenges. Simply download the hunt, print off as many copies as you need & show up at the party with your best sense of adventure!
Here's what you get for $18:
GR Scavenger Hunt is looking for a college student in the Grand Rapids area for an internship opportunity within our company. Applicants should have excellent verbal and written communication skills, extensive knowledge of the web and social media, knowledge of marketing, advertising, PR, events, and business, to assist GR Scavenger Hunt with some or all of the following responsibilities:
What we are looking for:
We are willing to tailor the position for the right candidate. Please send a cover letter, resume and your favorite thing about Grand Rapids to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GR Scavenger Hunt is a women and veteran-owned company based in Grand Rapids MI. We design and lead fun, fast-paced group events and activities (i.e. scavenger hunts) for corporate and private clients. Our goal is to create wildly creative and purposeful events and activities that result in long lasting relationship and improving our corporate client’s bottom line.
Really, you could hold a scavenger hunt any old place. I've seen everything from massive, multi-state annual hunt coordinated by the University of Chicago, to a mom who created a nature hunt in her backyard to try and entertain the kids for a few minutes during the summer. There are online scavenger hunts. There are special event scavenger hunts. There are even televised scavenger hunts (raise your hand if you've ever screamed "YOU IDIOT!" at the television during an episode of The Amazing Race).
But of all the places you could hold a scavenger hunt, Grand Rapids has so much going for it I daresay it's perfect. Here's why:
Grand Rapids is smack-dab in the middle of a renaissance — our history of manufacturing and blue-collar work ethic have collided — in a good way — with a global resurgence in the arts which has turned local. Grand Rapidians are a hardy and hard-working people (you'd never survive the winters here otherwise), but with a midwestern hospitality you won't find in Detroit, Chicago or any other nearby big city. The culture in Grand Rapids is a diverse mix of "tribes" (though we still have a long way to go), which for me, translates into Grand Rapids being "the biggest little town" I've ever lived in. For long-time residents, this translates into showing up at almost any public event and seeing someone you know, or at least spotting them in the crowd (it's up to you if you want to make eye contact with your old boss).
It was actually weirdly disconcerting for me last week when my husband and I went to Jazz in the Park at Ah-Nab-Awen Park and didn't see anyone we knew. How is this possible? And I'm not even a GR native — I first moved here in 1998.
Did you know Grand Rapids had several brothels at one point? Or that Saint Cecilia's is reportedly haunted? Or that there was a major feud between two of the areas original founders, making the city boundary lines what they are today? Grand Rapids history is long and convoluted — it doesn't hurt that we have a U.S. president who called Grand Rapids home either. Having such a rich history is a gold mine for scavenger hunts, since learning about the hidden history of a place is not only fun and interesting, it can give you an edge when it comes to small talk at cocktail parties.
As if having a river flow through the city isn't amazing enough, parks like Rosa Parks Circle and Riverside Park provide wide-open spaces perfect for a scavenger hunt. And perhaps the most important feature, having a walkable downtown, means you have a wide variety of businesses that allow you to continuously add new challenges and opportunities for hunters to collect clues and items. You can run, you can walk, you can bike around this city with relative ease (in fact, the League of American Bicyclists named the city one of the most bicycle-friendly in the nation).
Some would say that the winter weather isn't as friendly as some our our southern counterparts (and as far as the other seasons — well, we all know summer and fall are both amazing in west Michigan), but I'd argue that winter actually makes the scavenger hunt a lot more fun. Stay tuned — GR Scavenger Hunt has some amazing activities planned for the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. You may ice skate and snowball fight your way to a grand champion coming wintertime!
Although the culture, history and landscape of Grand Rapids certainly add to its reputation, it's the people of Grand Rapids who make it really special. I'm constantly humbled and reminded of just how good people are during our hunts. From the public servants who stop to pose for a picture, to the bartenders who take the time to tell our hunters about their favorite beer, these are people who about their community.
To borrow a line from the movie Roxanne, "I'd rather be with the people of this town than the finest people in the world!"
I'm sure there are more reasons I'm missing — a case could be made for GR's outstanding public infrastructure, or our nation-leading zeal for beer (scavenger hunts don't really become real until someone drinks a beer afterwards).
Why do you think GR is the perfect place for a scavenger hunt? Leave a comment below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2015
Contact: GR Scavenger Hunt Creative Director Jill Hinton Wolfe
GRAND RAPIDS — Beer City. Furniture City. River City. Whatever you call it, Grand Rapids is home to some amazing restaurants, historical happenings and cultural attractions.
A new venture in town, GR Scavenger Hunt, aims to bring locals and visitors alike together through fun, fast-paced games and a passion for Grand Rapids, which just happens to be smack-dab in the middle of a renaissance.
Part photo hunt, part trivia game and part adventure race, GR Scavenger Hunt is a fast-paced game with teams of 2-4 people who compete to gain the most points to win prizes and bragging rights against friends, family and co-workers.
“It's absolutely one of the best ways to explore Grand Rapids,” said co-founder Jill Wolfe. “There’s something for everyone, whether you’re creative — you might write a haiku about the La Grande Vitesse — or intellectual — we have lots of fascinating trivia about the area — or athletic, since you’ll be racing around the city to collect points. People love that they get to have fun, get some exercise and learn a thing or two they didn’t know about this great city.”
Joint venture between two locally-women owned businessesHinton Wolfe owns Outdoor Book Club and Carol Distel owns Live Eventfully, LLC. Both are long-term residents who decided to launch a joint venture that combined elements from both their businesses.
“I love getting outside, having adventures and meeting new people,” said Wolfe, whose business Outdoor Book Club designs adventure experiences for groups based on great books. “When I met Carol, and saw her passion for all things Grand Rapids, it was a natural fit.”
“Grand Rapids is an amazing city with lots of art, history and friendly people,” said Distel. “It’s perfect for a scavenger hunt. Our goal is to bring people closer together while embodying the spirit of the city’s motto — ‘Moto Viget’ — strength in activity.”
GR Scavenger Hunt will offer a public downtown hunt on Thursday Sept. 17 where a limited number of teams can participate for $15. To sign up, hunters can visit http://preartprizescavengerhunt.eventbrite.com.
During ArtPrize GR Scavenger Hunt will be offering a free downloadable scavenger hunt that visitors can use to add an element of fun to the competition, along with custom private hunts for corporate groups and others.
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GR Scavenger Hunt is a woman and veteran-owned joint venture that believes in the power of games and a passion for the great city of Grand Rapids to bring people together.