Although it's not necessary to incorporate a storyline into your treasure
hunt, the benefits far outweigh the minimal effort it takes to do so.
What do we mean by storyline? Basically, we mean weaving a back story
into your hunt, typically about the treasure itself. Answer such questions
as: Where did the treasure come from? Who originally owned it? Is it lost
or was it stolen? Is there a curse associated with it? You get the idea.
Your participants will be much more eager to engage in your treasure hunt
if you give them a fun story to become a part of! Here are some possible
storylines that can help boost the fun of your pirate themed treasure
1. A ship went down at sea, taking with it all of the crew and the loot
they collected/stole. Find the coordinates of where the ship went down
and you'll find the treasure!
2. The captain of a pirate ship tricked his crew and made off with the
treasure they looted from a Spanish galleon. Find the captain and you'll
find the treasure.
3. The crew of the Black Shore hid their treasure in a cave
the cave and you'll find the treasure! (This storyline would work best
by incorporating the ideas found below regarding constructing pirate caves
4. A local mistress was kidnapped aboard a pirate vessel. The treasure
hunt could be more about saving her!
5. There are several possible islands that a pirate could have buried
his treasure on. The treasure hunt could lead to finding the exact coordinates
on a map that will detail which island the treasure was buried!
Pirate Treasure Ideas
Although we have a whole section on our site devoted to treasure hunt
treasure, we thought that we would offer some specific ideas that are
unique to pirate's treasure.
1. Of course we'd have to mention a treasure chest. However, a common
problem is the filling of the chest. Some solutions include the following:
throwing in any brass vessel that you can find (flower pot containers,
etc.), shimmering fabrics of all kinds, simple statues painted gold (spray
paint) and for something special
add colored Christmas lights (one
strand should do the trick
you might find that one strand is too
much and that it's necessary to cover up some of the lights). If your
chest is especially large, consider stuffing half of it with cardboard
boxes (on the bottom) and laying some fabric over them to add some needed
2. This one may sound strange, but go with us on this one. Put in some
real bones in your chest! Save the larger bones from your next chicken
bag fryers or T-bones. Boil them very well until all of the 'non-bone'
material is gone. Allow them to dry and voila! It's a great effect!
3. For some added fun - instead of having a large chest of fake treasure,
consider offering some REAL treasure! Depending on the number of the participants
and their ages (and your budget
) look on ebay for 'pirate dabloons'.
A lot of 100 is typically in the $35 range. They aren't authentic, but
they do LOOK it! These can be great fun to divide up into smaller portions
and tie them off in small fabric bags!
4. Our realistic treasure gems. Yep - a plug for what we offer
it's only because they are SOOOO very cool! They are made from solid plastic
(which gives them a nice weight) and are brilliant in color. The most
amazing quality is their ability to be realistic from every angle. That's
NO mirrored back! They look and feel amazing and we offer them
in several different color combinations - each set of 30 gems is only
$5.95. Click the image below to see all of our treasure gem collections.
Pirate Treasure Hunt Puzzles
Including puzzles into your treasure hunt is perhaps the most difficult
part of creating a treasure hunt - and typically the least fun. Many treasure
hunts were begun but never finished over the issue of overwhelmed feelings
when coming up with the specific clues and puzzles. We currently offer
a set of five different pirate themed treasure hunt puzzles, with a bonus
sixth puzzle that incorporates the answers to the other five (a great
final puzzle for your treasure hunt.) Consider them the 'legos' of treasure
hunt creating! To read more and download now, click the image below:
Decorating Your Locations
There are a lot of ideas out there for creating small vignettes for your
pirate themed treasure hunt. Depending on the amount of time you have
to plan, 'dressing up' some of your treasure hunt locations could mean
for a lot more fun for your treasure hunters. Here are some simple ideas
to decorate some of your treasure hunt locations so that your treasure
hunters actually FEEL like they are searching for pirate's treasure!
1. Mapmaker's Shop - Nab a bunch of images online or check out some books
at the library on old maps and print them out on parchment paper. Set
up a small table with the maps strewn around, a quill and some ink as
well as a lantern (or candle) and a mug of rum. Have the clue on one of
the maps - the treasure hunters will have fun looking through the maps
for the clue!
2. Shipwreck / Driftwood scene - Set up a small scene that looks like
a shipwreck site. Get your hands on some old, rotted out wood planks (ask
around to friends and family - SOMEONE has some pieces that are in their
backyard weeds.) The more rotted out, the better. Now, lay these about
in a random pattern. On one of the planks, paint the name of the ship
that went down. Among the debris of the ship, hide your treasure hunt
3. Pirate's Cave - Definitely a more ambitious addition
but one that
is WELL worth the effort! There are any number of ways to create one -
use the resources that you have available to you. The trick isn't to make
it large, but rather fun and interesting. It could be a simple tunnel
made out of large boxes (pvc pipes with connecting joints also work great
when covered with black painter's tarp!) There's something about having
to crawl through something that makes for an exciting experience! Do what
you can to have at least one bend in the tunnel so that when they begin
their crawl they can't see where it's headed. In this light, it's also
a very good idea to do what you can to hide where the tunnel leads when
you are standing outside by blocking the line of sight with fabric or
other natural surroundings. Inside the tunnel you can utilize all of the
fun haunted house techniques that we all grew up with - fog machines,
purple lights, spider webs, etc. At the end of the tunnel (or on the wall
if your tunnel empties into another room) write a message that is your
next treasure hunt clue. This also makes for a GREAT finale to your treasure
hunt as a place to hide your treasure!
4. Tavern - In a very dimly lit corner or room (lit with candles), set
up a few tables similar to that in an old pirate's tavern. Set up a few
mugs of rum and some pie tins for plates. If you are using a picnic table
(which is a great idea since they are made of wood) - use a sharp knife
to pin down the next clue into the table with the blade (point down, handle
up - sticking into the table.) It will add a sense of drama to your treasure
hunt. Make sure to add a sign with the name of the tavern close by to
help your treasure hunters know where they are.
5. Colony Dungeon - Pirates were all too familiar with the gallows. Create
your own by using black painted pvc pipes and the joints that you can
purchase. You won't need many (depending on the look you are shooting
for.) For $10, you should be able to get enough poles and connectors for
a simple bar set. In a dimly lit room, lean the bars up against a corner
- with the treasure hunt clue on the OTHER side of the bars on a small
table. Light the room with candles and you'll have a great looking scene!
Finding Treasure Hunt Locations
Sometimes you'll want to plan a pirate themed treasure hunt spread over
a larger area such as a city. Consider these types of locations for your
treasure hunt stops.
1. Any place with a waterfall
parks, schools, malls, etc. Hide the
clue IN the water - tied to a string if you need to.
2. Know anyone with a pool? Hide the clue at the bottom of the pool!
3. Know any parks with a jungle like setting? Perfect for a deserted island!
4. Long John Silver's restaurant (a bit cheesy
5. In a book about maps, the Caribbean or pirates in your local library
6. A playground or volleyball court with sand - hide the clue IN the sand
(where they have to dig it up)
7. For adults, consider an older 'pub' where there is a lot of dark wood.
In your clues refer to it as a tavern in Tortuga!
Other Ideas and Resources
Here are some other ideas and resources to help with the planning process:
Free Pirate Theme Party Downloadable Invitations - If your pirate themed
treasure hunt is a part of a larger pirate themed pirate and you need
some quick invites, you're only a quick click away. Click here: Free Pirate
Theme Party Invitations
Incorporating Bingo into your pirate treasure hunt format. Although there
are several ways to utilize Bingo cards in a treasure hunt, we'll only
detail a couple to help give the main idea. Both examples involve providing
a Bingo board to each of the teams on the treasure hunt before they set
out. In the first scenario, the teams will be collecting cut out squares
to put on their Bingo boards (the N8, O72, etc.) They will find these
squares all throughout your treasure hunt. Bonus points are awarded for
any teams that get Bingo before the final location of the treasure hunt!
The second scenario involves hiding just one of each square in different
places along the route of the treasure hunt. On each square, write a unique
number. When the teams find one of the squares, they write the unique
number associated with that call space on their boards in the appropriate
space. For example, if they find the square that says "SHIP 56? and
they have the SHIP space on their board, they write the word 56 on their
board in that space. Using this number system ensures that the teams actually
do find the spaces along the way! You can create your own pirate themed
Bingo sets, or you can download one of our tested combination themed packages
by clicking the image below:
Aged paper is perhaps one of the most fun components when working with
a pirate theme. Creating your own with coffee or tea can achieve a great
look - but you're left with the smell of the coffee/tea. With our one
of kind paper aging process, we achieve an aged look like no other. Check
out our current aged paper selections by clicking the image below:
Other Treasure Hunt Hub Articles on Pirate Treasure Hunts:
6 Creative Ways To Kick Off Your Pirate Themed Treasure Hunt - Try one
of these exciting treasure hunt launchers!
Four Exciting Pirate Treasure Hunt Back Stories - Help your treasure hunters
know exactly what it is that they're looking for!
Creating Your Pirate Treasure Scene - You've created an amazing treasure
but how do you make that final treasure scene look just as amazing?
Creating a Pirate Dungeon Scene For Your Treasure Hunt - This single addition
to your pirate treasure hunt could thrust the whole activity into awesomeness!
Five Creative Ways To Form Teams For A Pirate Treasure Hunt - forming
teams for larger groups is sometimes a necessity. With this five ideas
you'll be able to keep the fun going while you do!
Planning A Pirate Ghost Ship Treasure Hunt - A new spin on a traditional
pirate themed treasure hunt!