I know it’s only August, but those of us that love autumn have already begun our worship. So this post is meant to be early to give you inspiration and encouragement about your own scary-themed scavenger hunt with enough time to make it happen!

how it happened

Betrayal at House on the Hill gets a lot of love in my game group. We love it. I have been playing Betrayal since its first edition when approximately half of our time was spent arguing about rules. My own copy is an old 2nd edition with tiles that warped pretty substantially over the years.

Warped tiles wasn’t a big deal. We had an imperfect stack, so what? But because we love Betrayal we picked up the Widow’s Walk expansion instantly upon its release. And then our warped tiles became a real problem. The stack fell over constantly, it was evident which tiles were new, etc. And this moved me to, finally, reach out to Wizards of the Coast to see if replacements were possible.

I felt pretty guilty asking for free new parts to my ancient game, but WotC were so nice! The person answering my note even made a cute little haunted house joke. And it took weeks, but then my new tiles arrived. And they were glorious. So flat and perfect. So very stackable.

And that’s when the real problems began. What do I do with a big stack of tiles from a game I adore? Throw them away? Surely not. There’s gotta be a better way.

Fortunately, John and Keri decided to take a trip to Mexico around this time and were foolish enough to give me the keys to their home. They were gone a whole week! Enough time for me to think of the scavenger hunt idea, procrastinate, and then rush it all together at the last minute.

I needed to incorporate the tiles. So those required their own clues indicating where to place them off the landings. I also needed to make my friends, after a long vacation where they were super ready to be home, super tired, have to run around their own property and sometimes the town looking for clues. Because I’m kind of an asshole.

the clues

My clues were okay. A little rushed. With this much time you can do better, so do better! But in the meantime you can use these, copy these, re-use these, get ideas from these.

I left the landing tiles on their dining room table with a doll head lit by an LED candle. This would give them the info they needed to put the tiles in place.

A baby doll head lit from inside by an LED candle
I did not get a photo of the setup I left, but this is a different lit up baby doll head for you to look at

Each of the clues below will include a tile clue, which tells my friends where to place the tile they found, as well as a next clue, which will tell them where to find the next clue.

I will not share the answers for tile placement until the end in case you want to play along. Just start with each of the landings from the core game and follow my terrible clues.

clue 01

Obviously this was tied to the end of a single red balloon in their living room.

A red balloon in a dark living room
Creepy, classic, a moving object where one should not be.. the balloon checked all the boxes

FUN FACT: Joke was on me, a little. As I was sneaking around their property hiding clues, I was startled by a cardboard standee of John looking through one of the garage windows. Startled isn’t the right word, maybe. All of the horror movies and Unsolved Mysteries clips that have haunted me throughout my life flashed before me in a rush as I stood on a quiet yard, in a small town, on a sunny day, realizing that some creep was in the garage, perfectly centered in the window, looking right at me!

A photo of the cardboard standee looking out the garage window
In this dimension I lived through this encounter. I’m not sure that I did in all of them
Just a photo of the items in Clue 1, described below
I took quick photos of each clue

Tile: Organ Room
Tile Clue:
My organ was so loud we placed it in the upper floor to the north
Where the pews can run perpendicular to the upper landing stairs
Unfortunately I can’t exit left, only right

Next clue:
neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom
starts us off with the appropriate boom
but since they took the trouble of that rhyme
find your first clue in the mailbox high time

Answer: guys, the next clue was in the mailbox

clue 02

described below

Tile: Catacombs
Tile Clue:
We land in the basement already? Wait, is John playing the game?
It’s a parade of homes home – so only the east door had a frame

Next clue:
[Youtube link that plays Ghostbusters theme song]

Answer: I hid this clue in their Ghostbusters lego set

clue 03

described below

Tile: Charred Room
Tile Clue:
this used to be the incense room
in the top floor of the mansion
then the incense went boom
limiting our southerly expansion

Next clue:
from charmin to cottonelle and to scott
my destiny to soak up your pee and your snot
it gets to be such a bore and a snore
when i am stocked behind a closed door

Answer: if I remember correctly I stuffed the next clue into one of the spare toilet paper rolls in the bathroom

clue 04

Yeah, I went with physical objects sometimes!

Tile: Wine Cellar
Tile Clue:
I don’t want to hate everything about the south of the house
so I put my wine cellar here

Next clue:
a wine cork

Answer: They had a collection of wine corks in a corner of a stairway, and my next clue was hidden in there

clue 05

You can make better tile clues than this one!

Tile: Statuary Corridor
Tile Clue:
sometimes i drink wine
sometimes i drink alone
sometimes i get unsteady after
in hindsight i shouldn’t have put the statuary corridor, wine cellar adjacent

Next clue:
Okay I found inspiration for this one on the internet. It’s a maze with letters where one path will spell out the entire phrase and most paths will hit walls. This one spells out “Sometime stuff at times things”

Answer: In the bathroom my friends had these funny glass containers, one of which is labeled “stuff” and the other “things.” My next clue was in one of those containers

clue 06

Tile: Gardens
Tile clue:
the gardens at last! i do love a rose
off the front door, to the east i chose

Next clue:
This was just a Converse All Star logo directing my friends to their shoe storage

Answer: It was in one of the Converse. A random one. There were so many to choose from.

clue 07

This clue includes Scrabble tiles and is described below
Remember how I wished you all a Happy Valentine’s Day on Instagram with Scrabble tiles, but the H was blank? This is where all the H’s went

Tile: Research Laboratory
Tile clue:
OK i made up the incense thing here’s what’s true
the research laboratory had a boo-boo
the explosion blew north
the explosion blew south
it became the charred room henceforth

Next clue:
This was a bunch of Scrabble tiles

Answer: It spelled out “Chinese Checkerboard.” I threw the clue behind one of their Chinese Checkerboards, which can be seen in the balloon photo above!

clue 08

Tile: Dining Room
Tile clue:
i love a meal overlooking the gardens, don’t you?
in fact the dining room overlooks the gardens and the front yard

Next clue:
a man is not wealthy
simply by the contents
of his pockets alone,
but instead by the
richness of his heart. – robert m. hensel, a poet

but check your pockets just the same – me

Answer: I stuffed this one into one of their coat pockets

clue 09

Tile: Patio
Tile clue:
don’t put the patio by the dining room they said
you can practically see the foyer they said
fuck them

Next clue:
please reduce, recycle, reuse,
you can help the earth if you choose,
recycle plastic, glass, and cans,
reduce the rubbish on our lands

Answer: I threw this one under their kitchen garbage can for recycling

clue 10

Includes a photo of their dog Paul
Who’s a handsome boy?!

Tile: Balcony
Tile clue:
yeah the balcony is a’ight
no one really spends time there since the connecting room got charred
if the fire had gone east, we wouldn’t have a balcony at all

Next clue:
This was a photo of Paul the dog saying, “Feed me”

Answer: I stuffed this in the dog food, duh

clue 11

Tile: Bloody Room
Tile clue:
if they had said don’t put the patio by the bloody room
i might’ve listened, but instead here’s this gloom
so the southerly view from the patio is not super relaxing
instead it’s emotionally, viscerally taxing

Next clue:
it keeps your plants wet
keeps down the weed threat
it keeps Penny from going hence
so i guess it’s also a fence?

Answer: this one is a bit of an inside reference, but there was a small mound of mulch that Penny the dog would dig at to try and escape the fence. I buried the next clue in that mound of mulch

clue 12

Tile: Furnace Room
Tile clue:
Soooooo I get a kick out of sending furnace workers through the catacombs to get to the furnace room. So sue me.

Next clue:
you are doing so well, halfway there my loves
your clue can be found where you store hats and gloves
but of course i say this unwilling to bet
as i have not looked in those containers yet

Answer: My friends had some storage boxes that I had never had cause to look in, but that I wanted to throw a clue into. I was fairly certain they stored winter things.

clue 13

I wanted to place tape under each layer over the spots that should not be visible with messages like, “How dare you look here!” But I ran out of time. The tack is just inserted into a pencil eraser. Super crude
The circle puzzle unsolved and solved, side by side
My handsome friend approved me plastering his face on the internet

Tile: Chasm
Tile clue:
And when they are working away, take a break to wipe their brow, look into the chasm? That’s funny.

Next clue:
This was a crudely made circle puzzle of our friend’s handsome face, with a short rhyme pointing to his porch.

Answer: I stuffed a clue under one of the pumpkins on this friend’s porch

clue 14

A lot of these rhymes make me cringe. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tile: Collapsed Room
Tile clue:
That explosion I just talked about was not without southerly impact
The floor just buckled, melted and opened like hell, that’s a fact

Next clue:
This was John’s license plate (now retired) spelled out in the phonetic alphabet.

Answer: I put the clue in a wheel well of his car

clue 15

This clue is a tad of an inside joke, but very Betrayal centric

Tile: Ballroom
Tile clue:
I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night
But loooooking north gave me a bloooody friiiiight

Next clue:
an event is occurring in the upstairs bathroom

Answer: IIRC I threw the next clue under the bathroom mat

clue 16

Tile: Larder
Tile clue:
I do like to make the help roll to successfully reach the Larder
Is that really so wrong?

Next clue:
I printed out a Harry Potter book cover, cut it up into a reasonable puzzle, and placed the pieces in this clue.

Answer: the next clue was inside the book referenced in the puzzle. Obvi

clue 17

These clues are very internal references to us, but you can make your own. It’s super fun!

Tile: Kitchen
Tile clue:
So they get to the Larder right, but I don’t want the Kitchen anywhere near them at that point. It still needs to be in the basement, obviously. They should have to run as far as possible to get to the Kitchen from the Larder.

Next clue:
the next clue is not in your home
instead you will find it near the <blank>
the blanks are filled out with crossword puzzle type clues

FUN FACT: I am not joking about that brunch being epic. We once spent 5 hours at an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink-of-cheap-champagne brunch. FIVE. HOURS. And we still had to ask for the check. Epic.

Answer: The answer was gnome. I hid the next clue under a lawn garden gnome in the backyard

clue 18

Tile: Servants’ Quarters
Tile clue:
there are times the guilt gets to me and i say, “hey, my bad!
can you deliver these flowers to the servants quarters, good lad?”
i tend to avoid the charred room as a rule
and don’t get me started on the balcony ghoul

Next clue:
hey now now now don’t you be a hater
it’s only through chance that i became the traitor
i sit in isolation upon my traitor throne
dropping a clue before my cover is blown

Answer: At this particular house there was a specific room the traitor would go to in order to read their tome. And there was a specific couch they would sit on. I stuffed the next clue into the folds of this couch.

clue 19

Tile: Dusty Hallway
Tile clue:
the dusty hallway is dull dull dull
but when the dancing must take a lull
it’s a very nice place to take a break
just head west to rest that ache

Next clue:
This was just a photo of a pink sweatshirt with a small dog icon on it.

Answer: John and Keri’s dog Penny has a pink sweatshirt. The next clue was stuffed under that sweatshirt in its storage place

clue 20

OK, I am using a lot of creative freedom with the term clash. But ‘mild irritation’ just didn’t rhyme…

Tile: Game Room
Tile clue:
to the east of our start
where the music is art

Next clue:
i don’t house your driveway, your mail, your trash
i’m not the scene of your neighborly clash
i just exist, i’m quiet as a mouse
i’m no big deal, the left side of your house

Answer: there are very few reasons to visit the left side of my friends’ house. This clue calls attention to how unappreciated it is, and let me just throw a ziplock bag along the side of the house.

clue 21

Tile: Operating Laboratory
Tile clue:
if you make the mistake to pass the Larder in a cruise
welcome to the Operating Lab, my muse!

Next clue:
o my faithful companion
rarely away from my side
always ready to give what i take
never judging
giving always
putting yourself ahead of me
unequal in your orangeness
ready to sit or hang as i place you
some would call you a container
exactly why they don’t understand you

Answer: This is an acrostic poem, spelling “orange purse.” I threw the next clue in Keri’s orange purse. It apparently was not invited to Mexico.

clue 22

Tile: Underground Lake
Tile clue:
when things get gross we must dump them somewhere
we tried environment-friendly options i swear
the Kitchen and the Operating Lab are the worst
the Underground Lake sits between and is cursed

Next clue:
This one was a common, little puzzle

Answer: Working out the puzzle spelled out, “For the tax man” and the next clue was buried in some receipts

clue 23

Maybe someday I’ll make something without referencing lorem ipsum

Tile: Junk Room
Tile clue:
omg the servants and their junk
just head to the north to witness the funk

Next clue: Oof I won’t spell this one out but suffice it to say I had the initial lorem ipsum content where the off words would provide a clue. They were in English even. I’m pretty sure they said something like, “look near the tray on the ottoman.”

Answer: Yeah, near the tray on the ottoman

clue 24

Fun fact: our group generally (mis)pronounces chasm with a ch sound like cha cha cha, from some joke or something years ago. Hence this little ch-heavy clue.

Tile: Gallery
Tile clue:
it’s not like they don’t have any feelings though
to the south is a gallery, and it’s a show

Next clue:
if i was feeling cheeky
i would draw a chasm
and if i drew a chasm
it would be a chalky chasm
and if i drew a chalky chasm
it would be here

Answer: I hid this next clue behind the chalkboard in the dining room

clue 25

Yep, I’m a Shakespeare dork

Tile: Tower
Tile clue:
the history books say we once had a tower
my best guess is the entrance went sour
look near the smoke, the fire, the grit
east of the collapsed room, that might be it

Next clue:
these violent delights have violent ends
and in their triumph die, like FIRE and Powder,
whIch, as They kiss, consume.

Answer: Yes I am a Shakespeare nerd. I cheapen this quote by only capitalizing the clue letters which spell out FIRE PIT. I buried the next clue in their fire pit

clue 26

Tile: Coal Chute
Tile clue:
only a fool would walk down the hall
hands in the dust on the wall
but just as he walks to the west, no big deal,
falls down the coal chute with a squeal

Next clue:
We have reached our last clue
and i’m so proud of you
ready for your biggest scare?
place the tile in the house if you dare

i got bored and skipped ahead, so what happened?

Here’s the thing. There’s not much to do with Betrayal tiles for a Halloween-ish scavenger hunt except to spell Boo. The tiles spell Boo!

The tiles spelling BOO
The end result photo!

This is harder than it seems, because I acknowledge that my friends will probably realize we are spelling Boo way before the last clue. But I can delay that realization as long as possible by being random.

A photo of the tiles with post-its with numbers on them
This photo shows how I was trying to randomize, as much as I could, the tile placement

And that was my super-fun-to-make repurposing of Betrayal tiles!