Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Birthday scavenger hunt!

If you know me, you know I love a good scavenger hunt (see, for reference, my first birthday at Wash U on my freshman floor; my 20th birthday with a cross-campus hunt; Justin's 20th birthday with a cross-city hunt; our wedding weekend with a cross-Madison hunt; and many others). And, it turns out, my friends in Madison know me!

Last Thursday, on the night before my birthday, some philosopher friends and a couple of others threw a surprise birthday party for me, full of delicious food...

...and an even more delicious scavenger hunt. The wonderful mind that has brought us Shakespeare reading nights and visits to the American Players Theatre and rollicking games of Psychiatrist or Time's Up and wisdom on the alienability of bodily rights (and so much more!), our friend Hallie, crafted one of the most complicated and intricate scavenger hunts and riddle games I've ever seen. I'm sure my synopsis won't do it justice, but each team of two had to work their way through the following seven clues, each of which refers to a specific holiday:

The number of the month
in which this holiday persists,
Minus that of the month
in which Caesar ceased to exist,
Is a day of the year,
Familiar to your ear.

To figure out which holiday,
You've been assigned, here is your way:

Take the last name of the red-haired gent,
Who is not on this party's roll-call,
But who lives with someone who has spent,
This evening with us all.
Now combine that name with a syllable,
Within the name of the birthday girl.

Should you wonder which friends of Anna's are timely, examine
Old Facebook posts tomorrow night, and then look at those
Acquaintance(s) who have yet to wish her happy B-day,
Be-hold! You'll see who
Forgot. What day (besides Anna's birthday) is riddle here

What Day?
The worst day for those still in school,
In honor of those who are done,
The last day for any of these fools,
To spend any time in the sun.

It's a day that all science teachers love,
And that every hippie fancies,
It even rhymes with the end state of,
Most non-terminated pregnancies

A thin room,
Not for meals or rest.

An exclamation,
sometimes said with zest.
Slowly giving up,
the breast.

What Day am I?
My first syllable is for bravery
Though, for that quality I am not praised,
My third (to engage in a little knavery)
Rhymes with the last word of each phrase:
On Greeks, the Cyclops _______.
On Turkey, Nala the Cat ________.
On the products of Stephen's cooking, you ______.

After correctly guessing each of these clues, we got to take yet another rhyming clue from the corresponding month that led us to a specific trinket in Hallie's apartment, hidden away in hats and under book covers, in jewelry boxes and vitamin bottles, on cat posts and under pillows, and in egg racks. First team to collect all seven trinkets was the winner!  (My team came very, very close, but Justin's team squeaked ahead to take the lead).

Anyone want to play along and guess some of the answers to these clues? Like I said, each clue refers to a specific American, well-known holiday. Genius.

It was an awesome beginning to a purely wonderful birthday, filled with bike rides to Lake Mendota parks and college reunions, phone calls and hugs, St. Louis Thai food and best friends on all sides. Thanks to all who helped make it so sweet!


  1. That was a very fun birthday! I guess your friends really knew what will make you happy, and a Shakespearean scavenger hunt will definitely make your birthday memorable. I was reading all the riddles, and I was amazed how they were able to come up with all the words. Well, kudos to them for making your birthday a memorable one!

  2. Hallie, crafted one of the most complicated and intricate scavenger hunts and riddle games I've ever seen.scavenger hunt ideas