IN A NUTSHELL
The youth were sent on a search for "Waldo(s)" in a local mall. - Clues were given to the "Waldo" locations through scripture references, word scrambles, etc. - The first 3 teams to find 14 "Waldo(s)" won a prize.
1. Choose a location: local mall, or shopping plaza.
2. Choose 14 specific "Waldo" hidding places within the mall: for example - retail stores, restaurants, movie theater, hair salons, candy store, children's play area. * It is a good idea to get the okay from management/security before the night of activity. Our leaders got permission - and had it in writing, just in case of any concerns from employees and patrons.
3. Create a list of clues that will lead youth to each of the 14 locations. Use scripture references, word scrambles, riddles, etc. CLUE IDEAS FOUND HERE
4. Recruit adult members of the Ward to serve as "Waldo's" and have them position themselves in the mall trying their best to "blend in" with other shoppers. Some of them may choose to simply play the part of window shopper, client waiting for a haircut, employee stocking the shelves, mother looking at books with her children or... they may choose to really get into character. Have you ever seen the movie Master of Disguise? This is where imagination and fun come into play! Here are some of the ideas I've heard of so far: Rocker dude. Homeless man with 'will work for food' sign. Grandma in a wheelchair. Hippie couple. Restaurant Mascot. Blind man with seeing eye dog.
5. Print out tickets to give to each "Waldo". They will give each team a ticket, but only when approached and asked, "ARE YOU WALDO?"
6. Invite members of the ward to bring their families to the mall on the night of your activity, just to throw the youth of "Waldo's" trail. They'll be asking all the people they recognize, "ARE YOU WALDO?" When they are told "no" it may lead to a little frustration and confusion - but there's nothing wrong with a bit of a challange, is there? :)
7. Put together a small packet for each team. Include the following: list of 14 clues, cell number of leader in charge, letter from mall management giving permission to hold activity on premises.
8. Make sure you have enough scarfs for the leaders of each team. We had tan bandanas with a "Waldo" iron-on placed in one corner of the scarf. I think it would be fun to have a red and white striped scarf, t-shirt, or bag (possibly holding the scriptures) - just to go along with the "Where's Waldo?" theme.
9. ON THE NIGHT OF ACTIVITY - make sure all your "Waldo(s)" are in place and have been given instructions and tickets to hand out.
NOW LET'S PLAY "WHERE'S WALDO?"
6:30 pm We met up at the church where instructions were given. The youth were reminded that they are to be on their best behavior and be examples of good LDS youth. The YM and YW were divided into teams. 1 leader to every 4 youth. Make sure each team has a cell phone. *Each team was given a set of scriptures, list of clues, pen, and to each leader a "Waldo Scarf". 7:00 - 8:00 pm We arrived at River Park and the "Search for the Waldo(s)" was on! As soon as each team found 14 tickets they were to call the leader in charge of activity (her number was included in the team packet). The first 3 teams to call in and make it back to the church with all their tickets won. 8:15 pm Prizes were given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams. Everybody received ice cream!
The youth love this activity, so we've done it a few times since we've lived in the area. We have since changed wards, but our last Bishop went all out in disguising himself. Fake goatee, fake tattoos, he even bought new jeans, tee, and shoes. He not only fooled the youth, he had all of the leaders questioning if he was one of our Waldos or not.