Looking for a fun and different birthday party theme? Gather the gang for a mall scavenger hunt! Here are some ideas for planning your party, including 4 different scavenger hunt themes and lots of scavenger hunt list ideas for you to choose from.
Mall Scavenger Hunt Invitations
Sending great invitations is a good way to get everybody excited about the party before it even starts. There are lots of options for creating your own invitations.
You can always find lots of great online party invitations with a free RSVP manager at Evite.
Here are some more ideas:
- Make your invitation using a map of the mall where your party will be held. Put a red “X” where the party will start.
- Write your party information on a small paper gift bag. You could even include some scavenger hunt clues on a decorative tag inside the bag.
- Create an invitation that looks like a credit card. You can find a free printable template for this here.
Planning a Scavenger Hunt Party at the Mall
Because you will have groups of your friends roaming around the mall, it’s important to let everyone know your party rules and expectations. Here’s how to plan for your mall scavenger hunt so that things run smoothly…
Before you begin…
1. Call the mall security office and make sure video and camera photography are allowed (they are not always). If not, be sure to a plan scavenger hunt that doesn’t require photography. (We’ll give you some ideas below.)
2. Decide on the basic rules for your party. Remember, you will all be in a public place. Here are some guidelines:
- Teams need to stay together at all times.
- Teams need to be polite to everyone in the mall. No running, screaming, littering, or general bad behavior. (Set up penalties for breaking these rules)
- Teams need to stay within the boundaries of the mall scavenger hunt.
- Each team needs to carry at least one cell phone so that they can be reached and so they can contact you with any questions or concerns.
**If your party guests are young, consider having a parent or chaperone travel with each group.
3. Devise a scoring method. Give each item on the list a point value (harder items being worth more). List point deductions for any rules that are broken. Award bonus points to the team that finishes first.
4. Decide what type of scavenger hunt you would like to have, and choose at least 25-30 items for your team to find or do. (If you assume that the groups will find one item about every two minutes, a 30-item list will take about one hour.) Below you will find a few different mall scavenger hunts with lists of scavenger hunt items you might include. (Be sure to tell the teams that they do not need to find things in order, or print your party hunt lists in a different order for each team so that everyone is not going to the same places at the same time.)
5. Set up a central check-in place at the mall, such as the food court. Have an adult act as a referee to check the teams’ timing and results. Make sure that there is a clock where everyone can check the official time, and that at least one person on each team has access to a watch.
4 Great Mall Scavenger Hunts
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt — Give each team a stack of index cards lettered A to Z. The goal of this type of mall scavenger hunt is for the teams to take a photograph of an object in the mall that starts with the letter on each card. (They should include the corresponding letter card in each photo to help remember what each object represents.) At least one team member should appear in each picture. Set a time limit and have all groups meet back at the check-in area to see which team found the most items. You can award bonus points for the first team to finish, or for especially creative photos.
Information Scavenger Hunt — Find out more than you thought possible about your local shopping establishment! How many bathrooms are there? What is the manager’s name at the largest department store? How many shoes are on display at the sporting goods store? This hunt requires no money and no cameras (however, you will have to find out the answers ahead of time so that you can check on your teams’ accuracy at the party.)
Information Mall Scavenger Hunt List
- How many bathrooms are in the mall?
- What is the manager’s name at the largest department store? (bonus points if you get his/her signature)
- How many shoes are on display at the sporting goods store?
- What year did the mall open?
- Where can you buy a dog theme calendar and how much does it cost?
- How many trash cans are in the food court?
- How many restaurants are in the food court?
- What is the highest number listed on the directory?
- How many stores sell women’s perfume? (bonus for the most free samples)
- How many stores have the letter “T” in their name? (bonus for the team who can get a shopping bag from each)
- How many stores are in the mall?
- How many mannequins are displayed in windows on the first floor?
- How many buttons are in the elevator?
- How many benches are in the mall?
- How many stores have red in their sign?
- Where is the main mall office?
- Where can you buy a football, and how much does it cost?
- How much does it cost to rent a stroller?
- How many handicapped parking spaces are there on the north facing side of the mall?
- How much does it cost to buy a slice of pizza at the food court?
- How many entrances does the mall have?
Photo Mall Scavenger Hunt — Give each team a video or digital camera and a list of things to photograph. These can be specific items in the mall, or challenges for the group to photograph or videotape themselves doing. Have a few adult volunteers circulating throughout the mall to monitor behavior and progress. (They can award or deduct bonus points based on team performance.) Set a time limit and have all teams regroup at the check-in area to see how everyone did, award points, and give prizes to the winning team.
Photo Mall Scavenger Hunt List
Have your team take a photo with…
- Everyone wearing a hat
- Everyone on the escalator
- Everyone standing next to a mannequin doing the same pose
- Everyone holding something purple
- Everyone trying on a necktie
- Everyone holding a giant stuffed animal
- At least one team member trying on the world’s ugliest gown (bonus for each additional teammate)
- A team member posing with a group of strangers
- Everyone holding something that starts with the letter “M”
- Your team spelling out the letters YMCA (Bonus if you include a stranger making one or more of the letters)
- A team member getting a makeover (bonus points)
- Everyone wearing sunglasses in a store (bonus if you include a salesperson wearing glasses in your picture)
- A team member posing with a cute guy
- Everyone in front of a restaurant where you can buy Chinese food
- Everyone posing with funny faces in a mirror
- A team member riding something motorized
- Everyone’s feet showing under the same bathroom stall
- Everyone holding a free food sample
- Everyone posing with bras on top of their shirts
- A team member pretending to check out a customer
- Everyone trying to hide behind an indoor plant or tree
- Everyone holding an animal at the pet store
- A team member shaking hands with a stranger
- A team member trying on the largest size men’s sneakers available
- Come up with 5 of your own ideas that will be awarded bonus points based on originality and degree of difficulty.
Free Stuff at the Mall Scavenger Hunt — There are lots of freebies just waiting to be scouted out in this scavenger hunt party theme. Players can find things on their own or ask a salesperson for donations. See how many items each team can beg or borrow (no stealing!). No two items may come from the same store. Set up a ground rule for this theme where team members ask permission before removing any item from a retail establishment or from a common area in the mall. A salesperson may choose to give a participant a hanger or a job application at no cost but someone did pay for these items initially so the question, “May I have this?” should be asked.
Free Stuff at the Mall Scavenger Hunt List
- A drinking straw
- A sale flier (bonus points if it is buy one, get one free)
- The signature of the manager at the coffee shop
- A hanger
- A mustard packet
- A footie stocking used to try on shoes
- 3 business cards (bonus points if one is from someone named Brad)
- A free makeup sample (bonus points if all team members are wearing it)
- A napkin with a restaurant logo
- A ribbon
- A movie ticket stub
- A credit card application
- A price tag sticker
- A red pen (bonus points if it has the store’s name on it)
- A name tag
- A mall map
- A styrofoam cup
- An envelope
- A gift box
- A paper bag with handles and a store logo
- A candy sample
- An employment application
- A store catalog
- A spork
- a sample of wrapping paper
- a tissue toilet seat cover
- Paper with store letterhead
- A wedding registry print out
- Something with the birthday person’s name or age on it (Bonus points)
When the Mall Scavenger Hunt is Finished…
When your scavenger hunt is finished you can either gather in the food court to eat, tally up points and award prizes, or take everyone back to your house to continue the party. If you are able, download the day’s pictures and play them as a slide show when everyone gets back together.
A fun idea for a party favor or prize would be a gift card to your favorite store at the mall.
Be sure to include one or two of the best photos from the party in your thank you cards.
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