Sunday, October 30, 2011

Loveland's Amazing Race - Halloween Edition

This year brother Dave S., Sister-in-law Molly and her Fiance Dave D. and I decided to enter Loveland's Amazing Race - Halloween Edition 2011 because we have always thought about doing the actual race but it sells out a year in advance and who knows if they will be available a year ahead of time. So the Halloween Edition seemed like a good way to check it out.

The Halloween Edition is less obstacle course or physical challenges and more of a scavenger hunt.

Making The Costumes
So we didn't exaclty know what we were getting into with the event but we decided to go big with our costumes (who has a Halloween event without costumes? Or a costume competition? Answer below).

We ended up with some awesome costumes!

1) Need some boxes (which took hours to make - you'll see)

2) Tablecloths and 225 yards of Gorilla Tape

3) A healthy love of tetris

4) Getting into formation!

5) Costume accolades!

On to the write-up of the event. Here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good
When we got to the event out costumes were a big hit. We had a lot of time to hand around and someone from a local paper interviewed us and took our picture and a number of random others took our picture.

Our competitive natures led us to take off the costumes for the scavenger hunt and it was a good call - it would have been impossible in the Tetris costumes.

The event was fun - over 90 minutes we ran all over downtown Loveland. There was a mix of things we had to do. There were random pages of tasks (see more detailed feedback in the section called - The Event - The Bad) so it was a bit all over the place and we split up sections amongst the 4 of us so we each were responsible for noticing when we could complete a task.

1) Identify 10 locations of Halloween Masks located at various businesses (mandatory)
This part was actually pretty fun because it gave you a reason to cover the entire area, and once you got to certain locations in Loveland there were activities whewre you could earn extra points for complete tasks like juggling, naming songs from the 80s, sculpting clay, etc.

2) Answer trivia questions
You had lists of trivia questions you'd have to answer like "What's the fine for illegally parking in a handicap space in Loveland" or "When is the next zoning committee meeting" which you could randomly find the answers to as you cruised around Loveland.

3) Identify where certain random pictures were located
This was in theory pretty cool because from the close up pictures they gave us you didn't know what the locations where until you passed them. I screwed this part up  - in part because in scavenger hunts for work we had to take pictures of stuff so instead of noting the locations of these obscure images - we took pictures of them. In fact we combined a few with tasks of taking pictures thinking we'd get double points for everything. We got no points for this section. People who know Loveland well might have been able to do this without actually finding these locations.

4) Take pictures of random things from a list
This was cool because you had to take a picture of your entire team on a ladder, in a fire truck, in a canoe, in a dumpster, etc. Some descriptions were really vague like take a picture of a stuffed tiger in a boa and you wouldn't know where to go - you'd have to keep that long list of random things handy so when you ran into it you could complete that task for points. You received double points if you could combine 2 "tricks" into one photo.

If you find a mail box that says "take one" - do it!
Dave S. gets the award because we had to find this mail box and take a picture of it - and while it might seem obvious to open it - we think many teams didn't! Inside was another task that was mandatory and in theory any teams that missed this didn't get any points!

This picture section included taking videos of random tasks. In one of our best moves of the evening we combined 2 of the toughest video challenged in one as our Team "Serenaded a stranger (woman) to 'You've lost that loving feelin'" while the woman was part of a groups of strangers we had to convince to sing the national anthem.

It looks a little like this:

5) Other random tasks
Somehow if you bought specific candy and or specific items like 1/4" nuts and bolts you could get extra points. We did a few of these which was fun as it also helped these businesses I am sure!

The Bad 
There were warning signs. Initially we missed them.

When we arrived almost no one was in costume. Unless you call Bengals sweatshirts a costume.

It also looked like like we stumbled upon Loveland's 25th high school reunion - and we weren't invited.

Why was everyone 35-45 and why are they drunk in public in Loveland?

When we arrived our costumes were a big hit for most, but a few had stupid comments like they didn't know what we were (which I gave them a pass for because they were too old to play Nintendo when it came out). Also others didn't get why we were dressed up for Halloween when they were about to compete in a scavenger hunt. There was some sort of local journalist who took our picture and was going to write something about our costumes. We should have seen the warning signs when she asked "Did you all go to high school together or are you family?" Instead of trying to explain the complex associations of Adults we said "Family".

Also the start of the event "the judges parade" had nothing to do with the judges checking out the best costumes, it literally was a parade for them to show us how great they thought they were before they began to berate the crowd by yelling stupid sh*t in a microphone like "court is now in session - quiet down or you'll be held in contempt!"

All of that being said we had fun for the 90 minutes of competition and had the night ended then we would have said it was a good time. Instead - when we got back to the Judges tent at 8:28 (just 2 minutes before the event ended and we assumed you wouldn't get any points) it took another 60+ minutes standing in line for the judges to score the teams. The scoring takes a while in part because all of their papers and questions are a bit unorganized, but also because they have to review pictures and tally up random objects we obtained during the event. There were more than 10 judges with 10 teams per judge - but if it really takes 5-10 minutes to score a team then they were woefully under staffed! No matter how much fun you had for 90 minutes - who wants to do the event again next year if it takes 60 minutes to turn your score in! We were second to last in our line and the team behind us left early and said "eff-it".

After the event they were supposed to give us drink tickets for the after party and we were planning to get back in costume and mingle by the fire. Instead we stood in line for 60 minutes in the freezing cold behind some obnoxious drunk woman who was 35-45 and should have acted more like an adult.

The BEST MOVE of the night is that the obnoxious lady's team who was in front of us in line was harassing us for a tick tac because they didn't get one and it was worth 25 points, we bought a whole package of tic tacs and easily had one to spare but they were so annoying Dave D offered to trade their spot in line for one. They took us up on it and it was the best move of the night!

When we got in line at 8:28 we felt like we had a lot of fun and were in a pretty good mood. By the time we got to the judge no one was happy. We missed the after party and all of our drink tickets were worthless, plus we couldn't get into the 4-5 eating establishments where the awards would take place because the lines were out the door by the time we were done.

If that wasn't bad enough we messed up the one section of activities because I didn't understand the rules to that part. One thing I know from Consumer Research - men don't read directions. Especially in a crazy unorganized packet during a race. If you want to know what the location of a picture you show is - show the picture and say "where is it?" instead they had multiple pages of pictures with numbers on them and later some random page that you had to write in the name of the location for picture #1 etc. That section was my fault and our score suffered as a result. But worse - our judge was not friendly. To quote Parks and Recreation "I don't use the word butt-head lightly, and I think in many cases butt-head is overused, but in this situation I can say with confidence our judge was a dick!" She was trying to be funny but was completely rude about making fun of us for being from Mason instead of Loveland, she was also a teacher in Sycamore with some sort of chip on her shoulder against engineers and P&G in general, and she had some drunk guy hanging out chiming in with her "witty banter". After it was over she did apologize saying something like "I hope you know we were just kidding" - I didn't saying thing but I was thinking "it doesn't matter - everyone on my team has a terrible impression of you and your Loveland Townies from this sh*t!"

All of this took some of the fun out of the event and made us unlikely to return - but I think the deal breaker of an event like this is in Loveland's Amazing Race - Halloween Edition it was obvious that you can't compete honestly and have any chance of winning. Our team followed the rules and didn't open the clues until the gun went off, we stayed together as a team instead of splitting up - and we didn't know any other teams and didn't "share answers" like so many we saw. In short - You can't win honestly. That takes a lot of the fun out of the competition of the whole Event. If you want to just have people run around and do fun stuff then don't pretend it's a competition. If you want it to be a competition it has to have a lot more integrity than this event.

In hindsight we would have had more fun staying in our costumes, not trying to compete and getting back to the judges so early that you missed a lot of tasks but could enjoy the after-party.

The Ugly
By the time we were done it was 10:00pm and we were all hungry and the establishments that were part of this event were mobbed out the door. So somehow we took our post game party to steak and shake.

As I was telling the tale of the one and only time I have had food poisoning and how it was from Steak and Shake our "waitress" came over. She was maybe 16, had a tattoo inside her ear (I'm not judging - just hadn't seen it before), and she started off by saying "this is like my first day and I don't know anything and I don't know what I am doing." There were a few typical waitress mistakes along the way - but when she returned with our food - literally while she was passing it out she was sniffling and said "I'm so sorry guys I am really sick." Where's the Board of Health - oh that's right - budget cuts. Time to pollute the streams for profit too while we're at it.

Doctor Dave said it was unlikely that our waitress had a pathogen that he hasn't been exposed to already.

Our team took it like champs - and because we were starving we ate everything!

All and all it was an interesting Halloween. We didn't get to carve pumpkins this year because we carved boxes for Tetris. Our team had fun spending time together and running around all over Loveland.

If you aren't from this area you can't get into the town rivalries and it seems petty and small. If you are from Loveland and want to have a reunion with your high school class - this event is for you! Literally.

1 comment:

Ivette said...

the tetris costume was beyond amazing