I am always looking for great party ideas, and this year, since my oldest has become obsessed with Harry Potter, I thought I’d use the young Brit as the “theme”. Pop culture is a passion and even if this one isn’t really my bag, I’m game to engage! I called up Watson Adventures, a super cool scavenger hunt company in the city (they were recommended by a friend who had used them for a team-building corporate event) once I found they had a “Harry Potter” themed scavenger hunt at the MET. Of course, the days leading up to the big event, I was not only nervous that the party would go without a hitch (the news was going on and on about Superstorm NEMO) but also nervous whether the MET was ready for 15 8/9 year olds on a mission to win! Sigh of relief, no Greek or Roman statues were destroyed during the hunt, no Old Masters defaced! If you’re feeling energetic, it was a total blast and I recommend it! Here are some of my tips:
1. No hunting on an empty stomach: We ate pizza and had cake first at Mimi’s Pizza. Basic atmosphere but very nice people and easy going about the craziness (and all kids like pizza)! The other option is at the MET itself. I was not sure about this as it seemed like a chore as the menu isn’t as “you had me at hello” for the kids, but it probably would have also been a great choice.
2. Cake from Tribeca Treats–with crushed chocolate covered pretzel down the sides: a big hit! When I saw this cake I knew it was “the one.” I had already hammered the HP thing home and didn’t want to ‘theme up’ the cake. So we kept it simple and YUMMY. So yummy in fact that all of the adults sat around the remaining wedge of cake after it was divvied up and picked off all of the chocolate covered pretzels. Delish!
3. Team Ties, a la Hogwarts. Fun to make with sticky backed felt and is a colorful & easy way to spot your team. The days before we constructed felt tie necklaces in different colorways. Other than the inevitable joust to not be cast as a “Slitherin” it worked perfectly! Here’s one that I was inspired by on Etsy (on a pin). Easy to buy or make! http://etsy.me/13bqOkc
4. The Scavenger Hunt: We met our guide in the lobby of the MET and she gave us the low-down. Everyone’s competitive juices were flowing! Once we got our “clues” we were off. One key thing is that it all works better (and everyone remains on-point) if you give each kid a “job” – navigator, reader, logger, etc. It’s also good to have one or two dynamic adults with the teams to keep everyone moving & high (but not too high) energy. Comfy shoes are a must and as mentioned the Team Ties made it easy for the adult to quickly spot the team. It’s not easy, so don’t expect it to be so, but if you keep them pumped & excited (and this is a race against not only the other teams but time, as the museum is big!), it’s gonna be a great day.
5. Fun goody bags: What better than a packaged magic trick and an exploding frog soap (that I found on Etsy and we’re still waiting for our frog to explode!) Watson also gives a prize to the winning team. Here’s the link to the exploding frog soap! http://etsy.me/VIZh4X
We had a blast and would strongly recommend this hunt to a HP fan. Or try the Grand Central one, as it’s the terminal’s centennial this year, so that one would be super cool as well. http://www.watsonadventures.com/.