In the weeks leading up to Halloween, I started searching online for fun & free activities to do with the family…and I came across a Scavenger Hunt around the harbor in our downtown area. The rules were simple: you needed a team of at least four people, a digital camera and cell phone with texting capabilities. And it said that kids were welcome too – perfect!!! Costumes were highly recommended, though not necessary. Rain postponed the Scavenger Hunt for a week, and it took place on Tuesday, after Halloween. Which may explain why we were the only team that showed up in costume. Our team name was “The Baxter Buccaneers,” and even our sleeping toddler was in full pirate gear, vest, mustache and all. Around 5 p.m., we were all given a bag that held a notebook (with instructions, a map of the harbor area, and a task sheet), pen, toilet paper, sidewalk chalk, and our first clue which had something to do with Edgar Allen Poe, Annabel Lee, and food by the sea. We headed towards the Harbor Food Court building, while I perused the paper filled with various tasks and trivia that would earn extra points. We realized that we wouldn’t be the fastest team, with a stroller and toddler, so our strategy was to make up for that by doing as many of the tasks as we could. One of the tasks was to draw a 3’ x 3’ Halloween picture with sidewalk chalk. Done!Another one was to get your face painted by Little Red Riding Hood. Seeing our costumes and guessing that there was a link, a group of people passing by mentioned seeing her and pointed the way. Faces painted – check!After finding the maiden with the next clue in the Food Court, we headed to the opposite side of the Harbor, across a street, to the top of Federal Hill, a steep ascent with two sets of stairs. Mr. Nice Guy pulled out his inner Hercules and carted the stroller and toddler up and down the stairs. At the top was a lady dressed up as a cat, and our clue instructed us to howl at the moon. Along the way, we tackled another task which involved taking pictures with a total of 20 strangers. We grabbed people along our path and asked them to pose with us. To get the next clue, we had to find a “Killer Banana” which had us stumped until one of the kids mentioned seeing someone dressed as a banana. Off to find him! Our proudest moment was when we convinced a man to let us wrap him in toilet paper, a task worth 100 points! What a great sport! Other clues had us searching for… our ancestor’s flag (we located a store selling flags and to be on the safe side grabbed flags from Japan, Trinidad, and Great Britain), a ringing telephone, the title of a book in Barnes and Noble by unscrambling letters, and finally a pirate ship. We received a phone call that we had 5 minutes to locate the ship and to check in. Mr. Nice Guy remembered that one of the ships docked at the harbor looked like a pirate ship. R-u-n!!! We checked in with the pirate at exactly 7 p.m., the deadline for the hunt! There was one team ahead of us throughout the race (all adults BTW), and they were already there at the finish line. We had reminded the kids throughout the race that we were going to give it our best, have a lot of fun, and work together as a family – winning wasn’t our primary focus. The Announcement: The prize for best costume went to the three kids – hurray! After adding up all of the points, we came in first place by less than 100 points – the costumes (worth 100 points) paid off!!! We each got a certificate, gift cards for Panera, and tons of candy! It was unbelievable!!! And the best part was doing it as a family, laughing and working together, experiencing this adventure together.