Our family has never been big on after-turkey day flag flag football. Instead, we've been known to drag out a jigsaw puzzle, mix up a spirited holiday eggnog, or round up a posse for the sorta-annual Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot. No firearms required. All you need is your smartphone, your car keys and a few willing turkeys. . . ummm relatives.
Turkey Shoot Rules & Regulations
Rule #1: Each team shall consist of a minimum of 3 turkeys (contestants), one automobile, and one Polaroid camera.
The first time we tried this was 1998 when my sister and family lived in Silverado Canyon, an isolated canyon in the Orange County hills of Southern California. As I remember, the crowd that year included kids of all ages, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, and bewildered guests. My sister worked out the "Destinations" using local landmarks and the teams were pretty evenly filled with at least one "local" in each group.
Smartphone cameras would work as a good substitute for the Polaroids, or you could use the fun new Instax Instant Film cameras. Everyone likes to see their picture actually printed, so it might be worth borrowing a few instant-print cameras if possible.
Rule #2: The objective of the competition is to navigate your team between suggested destinations and return with photographic proof of your adventures.
This Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot is a riff on an old fashioned scavenger hunt. The Regulation Handbook needs to list the Rules (VERY important to family harmony) and destinations with points.
Rule #3: Depending upon the degree of difficulty, each potential destination has been awarded a point value.
More points awarded for a photo of a live turkey than a pogo of a bale of hay.
Rule #4: Teams which demonstrate ingenuity by devising a means to have a stranger operate their camera, (so that all team members appear in the photo) will be awarded 10 bonus points per destination.
And, THIS, is where family harmony can begin to break down. The rules state that "a stranger" must operate the camera -- because Polaroid camera's didn't work with a remote shutter release, duh -- but what if you "know" the "stranger." Does the team still earn the points?
Rule #5: No team is allowed to leave the canyon.
It's a good idea to establish geographic boundaries or you may lose your contestants.
Rule #6: Desitnations may be visited in any sequence.
Another good rule that helps to spread out the teams in your area. Watch out for neighbors who may help or hinder teams that follow the first one. Folks seem to get into the spirit of the event. It might be good to heat up more cider for the after-party.
Rule #7: Return to the host's home at the designated time.
Our teams dragged home in a most untimely fashion. Penalize tardiness with a point loss to get the turkeys home before dark.
Rule #8: The team with the highest total point score will be honored at the Gala Awards Ceremoney and be exempt from dishwashing duties.
Prizes are always welcome! Recycle old trophies, or make your own with chocolate turkeys!
Turkey Shoot Destinations
(Customize for your neighborhood. Don't make 'em too easy.)
Turkey Class - 35 points each
With a live turkey
With something that embodies the spirit of Thanksiving
In front of a "Kids at Play" sign
In front of an Eiffel tower (!)
Sitting on a hammock
Stuffing Class - 30 points each
On top of a castle
In front of a roaring fire
In front of a "Road Ends" sign
With two dogs owned by a stranger
On a boat
Cranberry Class - 25 points each
With a horse
Standing next to a fire truck
On a walking bridge
In front of a "Happy Thanksgiving" sign
Sitting on a bale of hay
You won't want to miss a photo of all the teams, maybe holding up their winning photos.
Turkey Shoot Variations
My sister reminded me that the original version of this game included city destinations such as: Have your photo taken with a Starbucks Barista (you could add a Pumpkin Latte!).
The Newspaper in Education website includes a Thanksgiving Newspaper Scavenger Hunt that's a good option if the weather isn't cooperating with an outdoor driving shoot.