Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Candy Cane Hunt

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Candy Cane Hunt

Article excerpt

Has anyone ever sponsored a Candy Cane Hunt? That was a recent question posted from Charleston, W.Va., on NRPA's listserv, NPRAnet. For information on how to join the discussion, select "NRPAnet" from the right-hand side of NRPA's Web site ( Here are some of the responses for this winter-specific question:

"Last year was my first candy cane hunt and I am doing it again this year. It was a huge success, but I have learned a few things. We put candy in the eggs and it was hard to figure out what to do for the candy cane So we tied different color ribbons on some of the canes. Those colors indicated the prize that they won. It goes very fast so be ready. We also had hot chocolate and carolers afterward. This year, we added Santa and carnival games to the mix, so it will become a type of festival with the hunt kicking it off."--O'Fallon, Miss.

"We have done one for two years now. We had a candy cane trail that had trinket prizes for kids to find along the trail, and then it ended in one of the park shelters with a winter-themed craft project that can be done with gloves on. We also had the BBQ stands with coals for marshmallows and hot chocolate. We even did hot dogs one year. It was great fun with good attendance."--Two Rivers, Wis.

"We did a candy cane hunt last year for kids 7 and under and had a blast. You can hang what you want, but just throwing the candy canes in the grass works too. We then walked over to our marketplace 10,000-square-foot open pavilion--and roasted marshmallow, made s'mores and had hot chocolate. Great for the kids when it's right before nap time. Anyway, it worked well. Parents loved it and we played Christmas music while making the s'mores. Suggestions: don't advertise between this time and this time, just say it starts at a specific time until the candy is gone. Hold back some candy for the slow kids who cry when they can't find any. We also had free kid's meals from Old Country Buffet. Good luck."--Meriam Kan.

"We are starting a candy cane hunt this year as well. The hunt will consist of three different age-specific hunting areas that are separated by caution tape. We will also be tying ribbons On some of our canes for prizes to be claimed at the end of the hunt like free ice cream cones from McDonalds, etc. The pre-hunt will consist of a bag-making project for families. We are buying 500 white sack lunch hags, snowman decorations, crayons and glue for the kids to design their own bags for holding the candy canes. We are buying 3,000 canes of various sizes to spread out throughout the three areas. We are going to provide hot water in our Gatorade-insulated coolers and a bunch of single hot chocolate packets/stir sticks for families to make their own hot chocolate drinks. I was warned to keep a bucket of canes aside from the bunt to give to the crying kids who didn't get any canes during the hunt."--City of Fort Morgan, Colo.

"We've been doing a candy cane hunt for about four years. It was a "stand alone" event the first year, but now we have it on the same day as Christmas in the Park, which is a variety of activities. This year, we're separating the hunt into two areas: ages 2-6 and 7-12. We conduct the event in a large community park and hide large candy canes everywhere!! We hang them from trees, fences, playground equipment, and put them under bushes. We do charge for this event and limit the number to 75. They start out inside the pavilion where we give them decorated bags for the candy canes and give them instructions. …

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