Theme parties are definitely one of my favorite things to plan and post about here on the blog! I recently told you about Lily’s Amazing Race Party, which you can read all about here in case you missed it.

My husband and I have done this for our first 3 kids’ 13th birthdays, and I guess we’ll be doing it one more time in a few years! It’s always a big hit with the kids (and the adults), and every time I’ve posted about this party, I get questions about how to plan it, so I’m finally putting together this post with some tips.

With this party, it’s especially important to request an RSVP because you’ll need to have a good idea of how many kids will participate ahead of time. Then, you’ll know how many sets of parents to ask to help out as drivers for the different teams. Be sure to state on the invitation that the kids will be in cars riding around town with adults so the parents will be clear that their kids will not be staying in one location for the party.

Once everyone arrives, let the kids draw to see which team they will be on and announce the rules. We try to leave the game to the kids, reminding the adult drivers that they are there as drivers and chaperones to make sure the kids are safe. The kids are the ones who are supposed to be figuring out the clues, performing the challenges, and directing the drivers to each location.

Of course it’s the clues and challenges that require the most planning. And each party will be different and unique to your own city. But, I’m providing a list below of several ideas that we’ve used in our parties that can be adapted for your own Amazing Race…

1. Get the signature of a policeman or fireman and take of picture of him or her with the team.

2. Go to a specific candy store and buy exactly .13 lbs of candy. Be sure to bring the candy and the receipt to the finish line.

3. Go to a specific landmark and take a picture of the team. (You may create a puzzle for them to figure out which landmark.)

4. Find a statue of a specific named person and go take the teams’ photo there.

5. Go to a specified cemetery and have them search for a certain name and tell how old the person was when they died. (Racers must be quiet and respectful while in the cemetery or will incur a penalty)

6. Go to a named park and take a pic of the team going down the slide together.

7. Go through a certain drive-thru, tell them you are with the Amazing Race, and ask for the next clue. (Race coordinators will have to plan accordingly ahead of time.)

8. Go to a specified Chinese restaurant and ask for an Amazing Race fortune cookie. (I did this for one race and bought fortune cookies from the grocery store, removed the original fortunes with tweezers, then slipped the clues in, repackaged them, and left them with the restaurant for the kids to pick up!)

9. Go through any fast food restaurant and convince the worker to give you an empty cup with their signature.

10. Head to a specific library, find a certain book and solve the puzzle to find the next location. Racers incur a 5 minute penalty if called down by a librarian. (Will require planning ahead to create a puzzle. Also, be sure to choose a book with several copies on the shelf in case it is to get checked out before the race.)

11. Search a specified location for a clue envelope which contains letters to unscramble next location.

12. Go to a certain location and draw a specific object on the sidewalk with chalk provided inside the clue envelope. Take a picture of the team with the drawing.

13. Head to a specific monument or wall where there may be many names. Have the team search for the first name of the birthday girl or boy and make a pencil rubbing of it on the clue sheet.

14. Go to the local bowling lanes where the team will have to choose one team member to bowl until they bowl a strike. If another team arrives at the same time, they must take turns. (Arrange this with the bowling lanes ahead of time. You can rent that lane for an allotted amount of time to keep it open for the racers.)

15. Head to a paint store and find a certain paint color. Hand the paint chip to the employee to receive the next clue.

16. Go to a specific frozen yogurt or ice cream shop. One team member must be blindfolded and do a taste test conducted by the employee. When they have guessed the correct flavor, they get the next clue. (Race coordinators will have to plan accordingly ahead of time.)

17. Search around an iconic landmark for a clue.

18. Drive to a donut shop, buy a half dozen donuts. Must give away the donuts to 6 different complete strangers before receiving next clue. (Provide the money in the clue envelope to buy the donuts.)

19. Hide the clues in Easter eggs in a specific yard for the racers to find. (Include empty eggs for more of a challenge)

20. Send the racers to a specific location where they are required to sing a certain song before receiving the next clue.

For our parties, the finish line has always been back on our front porch where someone is always waiting at the house. After the race, we eat, hand out awards, and let the kids hang out.

For ideas for decorating, be sure to see Lily’s recent party here and download some free road sign printables to use for your big race!

I’ve also got the file to print some Amazing Race clue envelopes if you’d like to download them here!

I hope this helps get you started on planning your party! I’d love to hear all about yours, and if you have further questions, I’ll try to answer! Good luck!