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Treasure For A Treasure Hunt

What's a treasure hunt without treasure? Well, hopefully if you've been at our site for any length of time you've seen numerous examples of how to plan a treasure hunt where there is absolutely no mention of any kind of treasure, leastwise looking for some. No matter what your treasure hunt design looks like, whether you've incorporated a storyline or theme, used characters or treasure maps, you need to make sure that you provide as much closure as possible. A solid treasure at the end can help with this.

This article, however, is for all of those out there that DO want to design a treasure hunt where the goal is to obtain some sort of treasure at the end. This is a very common option for pirate or Indiana Jones theme parties. The trouble is how do you create treasure without breaking the pocketbook? Here are our thoughts and ideas on how to bring 'treasure' to your treasure hunt:

To begin with, if you're utilizing a storyline, this can help to reduce the need to dazzle them with some big treasure at the end. The resolution of your story will provide a sense of fulfillment in and of itself, reducing the need to create a 'wow factor' through a strong visual like a lot of treasure. For more information on incorporating storylines into your hunt, click HERE.

The treasure that you provide at the end will largely depend on the overall theme of your treasure hunt. Themeless treasure hunts can have just about anything at the end (candy, goodie bags, a special gift if the treasure hunt is planned for a single participant, etc.) However, if you've chosen a theme such as world espionage, pirates or the old west, you'll want a 'treasure' that will reflect the theme in an appropriate way (see examples below.)
For pirates you'll be looking more towards a chest, some plastic coins (Oriental Trading Company still has the best prices for these), fake jewelry and jewels (see our collection of realistic looking gems without those pesky flat mirror back - click HERE.) To add some volume to your treasure lay around some cheap statues painted gold, copies of treasure maps and sewn bags of gold (stuff them with newspaper and tie them off with twine or ribbon.) For an AMAZING trick, use COLORED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS in your treasure chest among all your gold coins. It looks fantastic! This would also work in a large treasure chest centerpiece you might be planning on using for your party, as well.


For espionage, consider some gems (again, see our realistic looking ones) or a painting that was stolen (visit your local thrift store.) For something that will REALLY fit into the theme is to get your hand on some broken computer parts and tell the treasure hunters anything you want to tell them that they are (are they billion dollar decoders? Internet tracking devices, hard disks from hostile countries naval defense systems?) Call it whatever you want - a great spy 'treasure!'

For the Old West, keep in mind the whole 'gold fever' option. Get a bunch of rocks and gravel and spray paint them all gold. When they are piled on top of each other and/or placed against another rock or on the side of a hill they look truly amazing! VERY cheap to do and VERY effective

For an Indiana Jones theme, consider visiting your local thrift stores and see what you can find in the way of a statue (the larger the better.) It doesn't matter the material, just look for something that could pass off as an ancient historical object - but PAINT IT GOLD with standard spray paint. When choosing your statue, look for one with a lot of relief. For example if the face is painted on, when you spray paint over it, you'll lose all of the features. Large animals work great for this type of treasure. Ancient cultures were always depicting animals in their art and sculptures (just make sure that they are region appropriate - for example, if your culture is close to the equator, don't use a penguin, etc.)
Something that might work with any theme is to find an old antique that you have in your home (or can borrow from a friend) and make up some kind of back story to it. Perhaps you have a cool looking old pistol. Well, what if General Lee used that pistol in a famous battle and now it's priceless? If you have an old looking writing pen…perhaps President Roosevelt used it to sign the an important document during WWII? You get the idea - attach a significant time and place to the object along with a famous person that everyone will know and say that it's priceless. These make for great objects that are stolen as part of a murder mystery themed treasure hunt, as well.

As a final thought with treasure - what do you do with it when you're done? If you have a single item that you don't mind parting with, have a raffle at the end among all of the teams that successfully completed the treasure hunt, or everyone if you'd prefer, to see who gets to take it home. It's best to hold this way after the completion of the treasure hunt.