The Spectacle Blog

A Hunt to End All Scavenger Hunts

By on 5.9.14 | 3:39PM

We all have something to learn from University of Chicago—the meaning of fun. Fun is maximizing one’s talents to build, create, design, engineer, laugh, entertain, achieve some goal, no matter how categorically absurd that goal may be. Hence, Scav: a global scavenger hunt based in Chicago. Originating in 1987, Scav is the largest, and “best,” scavenger hunt in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records does not lie.

The goal is to complete as many items and garner as many points as one can within the four-day period, with judgment day falling on Mother’s Day every year. Hunt items urge teams to achieve the following goals: fire a cannon, attach appropriate speech bubbles to any three campus buildings of your choice, build a topologically representative 3D map for the game of "Risk," create an ambience-adherent tune for the dentist's office, touch MC Hammer, and construct a laser from scratch.

The list is crafted over the course of a year by a group of committed judges. The following items prove that the judges take silliness seriously: Barbie’s resume (bonus points if marked up by Career Advancement), a Pythagorean red Solo cup, a selfie of you painting a watercolor of you posing with an oil painting of Seth Meyers, Homemade Pop Rocks, a retractable beard, and a Swaggedy Ann Doll.

Politics makes an appearance among the 308 well-thought-out items. One asks for a coloring book about Senator Ted Cruz, colored in. Another implores you to achieve the libertarian dream by “elevating yourself at Judgment with a pair of boots that lift the 
wearer half a foot when the straps are pulled.” The full list can be found here. And blimey, it’s entertaining.

My personal favorite finished items from past years include this beverage-making piano, and this kinetic typography video of the German 1980s disco classic “Rasputin” by Boney M.

Scav spans all types of nerd-dom. Items target skill sets such as robotics, origami, taste-testing, leatherworking, miming, embroidery, videography, cartography, screenwriting, carpentry, candle-making, and most importantly the ability to be a “man who knows how to get things” worthy of Shawshank Redemption prison-fame. There is even an item for journalists! Item 152: "This Crazy College's Coed Scavenger Hunt Blew Our Minds, Such That We Were Forced To Write About Them!” Item completed. Team "Mrs. O'Leary and the Holy Cows," this one’s for you.

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