Spooky Library Scavenger Hunt

A somewhat spooky scavenger hunt idea | Hafuboti.com

It’s been a fun month at the Children’s Library – from the reactions to the dangling spiders to this scavenger hunt, which has been one of the most popular passive events that we’ve had thus far.  I’ve been especially pleased that both the children and adults have been initiating the activity, and then working together to find the characters.

I asked Brittany to put this together, and wow did she do a fantastic job!

A wise owl invites participants to come and find hidden Halloween characters throughout the library.

She took my very basic instructions and ran with them. The best thing she did was have each spooky character give a hint as to who they are and where they’re located as a bonus clue. Here’s a list of her clues:

  • “I am a-count-ing on you to find me, and blah blah blah – I love red.” (vampire on our new book cart that’s a bright red color)
  • “Black and white, and nearly out of sight, I go BOO!” (ghost on our copy machine)
  • “Mmmmmy location is under wraps, it is periodical.” (mummy on our magazine rack)
  • “Hoo Hoo can find me? Returning books is where.” (owl by our indoor book drop)
  • “Hee Hee Hee! Let’s make a magically colorful spell.” (witch by our coloring station)
  • “Hooowl! I can be pretty loud and static-y too!” (werewolf by our stereo)
  • “With lights that flicker, I am easy to spot.” (jack-o-lantern near a light switch)
  • “Meeee want tooo find brainnn books.” (zombie by our card catalog)
  • “Meow, water paws-itively scares me.” (black cat by our water fountain)
  • “Green skin is my camouflage; take a seat to find me.” (Frankenstein’s monster by our bench)

It has been great to hear the parents read out the clues in spooky voices, explaining some of the bigger words, and enjoying their children’s excitement.  We happily give clues if asked, and let things slide (especially if kids have never heard of a zombie, or call Frankenstein’s monster “Frankenstein.”).  We also have the hidden characters numbered so that the younger crowd gets to practice their numbers.

I wanted Brittany’s hard work to be shown-off, so I made slightly bigger displays to help catch kids’ (and parents’ eyes).  It was also practical because there’s just enough humidity in our library (gasp!) that our papers tend to curl a bit when placed on book stands.  So I put several sheets of cardstock as a backer, with a purple or orange piece of construction paper to cover up the stack.  Then I made the owl character we used a little bigger with a word balloon – this helps to point out to the parents and children what the characters will look like in general.  I placed a few color-coordinated pencils out on the stand as well.

And Brittany had brought in some cute gourds in to help decorate for the season – so I place those around each stand (we had the activity at both circulation computers so the activity has caught people coming and going).

The prize for successful completion is a “limited edition” sticker of our library’s mascot (Booker T. Dragon) dressed up like Lucy from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned that we make stickers by using our spine label stickers. They’re small and easy to make large quantities – it just takes a lot of copy/pasting.

An example of our "limited edition" Halloween stickers that are prizes for our scavenger hunt.

Update: Whenever I can, I now try and avoid doing holiday themes like this one. This is usually fine, but it becomes more difficult during the winter holidays since my Director and I share different views about holidays in public libraries, and she is passionate about Christmas. And that’s okay. I do what I can, and that’s all that you can do sometimes.