Zombie buys toilet paper for charity scavenger hunt

WILLIAMSTOWN – An international charity-based scavenger hunt arrived on the local scene as Williamstown resident Lori Haught participated in this year’s Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.

Haught, 30, of Williamstown, is a self-employed event planner, but for one week in early August this year, she did anything but her day job. During that week, Haught was everything from a zombie to parade float driver as she performed 23 tasks listed on the scavenger hunt master list and attempted eight more, she said.

The master list of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen consists of 198 tasks, each featuring a staged event, a charitable act, or a combination of the two. Of those, 185 are generic enough that any team can attempt them, while the remaining 13 tasks are specific to events and landmarks in various countries around the world, Haught said.

Thousands of teams registered for the scavenger hunt this year, from almost every country in the world, Haught said.

Haught participated in the scavenger hunt after learning about it last year, she said. Last year, she watched as others performed the strange tasks to earn points and money for charity. This year, she wanted to participate.

“I wanted to do this because 30 is a daunting age,” Haught said, “30 is ‘I am an adult and it is all over.'”

Playing an important part in a world-wide event helped Haught deal with passing her landmark birthday, she said.

Each task in the scavenger hunt is worth a certain number of points. Teams can earn any number of points for completing each task, up to 291 points for the most difficult and as few as three points for the more mundane, she said. Any proceeds earned by teams is donated to randomacts.org, a website which focuses on encouraging acts of kindness in the world.

“It was an insane experience,” Haught said.

Where is the challenge in the scavenger hunt? It comes in that teams are given one week to perform, document and submit evidence of as many of the items as possible in order to score as many points as they can, Haught said. The team with the most points at the end of the week will win a trip to Croatia for a pirate-themed adventure with Misha Collins, star of the television show “Supernatural.”

Haught was one of 15 members for her team, she said. After registering to participate in the program, she was matched up with 14 other team mates from around the United States and Canada by the programmers and given the team name Zapfdingbats, Haught said.

Between her team mates, 142 tasks were completed, and a handful more were partially completed in the final hours of the event, Haught said. Together, they earned 13,000 points, with additional points possible when judges of the event determine partial credit awards for incomplete but attempted items, she said.

Team members communicated online to decide who would attempt which portion of the scavenger hunt, Haught said. The task which stood out the most in Haught’s mind was that of dressing up as a zombie to buy toilet paper, she said.

Haught traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where a friend assisted her in dressing like a zombie, she said. Together, she and the friend went to a Krogers to purchase toilet paper using a self check-out.

“At one point in the store, I did this weird sideways walk around a child because I didn’t want him to see me and start screaming,” Haught said.

While other team members commented about the resistance they encountered while participating in the program, Haught reported understanding and encouragement from all of her local authorities.

Haught requested permission for most of her projects from Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford, who encouraged her and provided her with additional support of city council members as needed, she said.

Among the tasks Haught performed this year were installing a small green birdhouse in a Williamstown park, attempting to get a dog adopted from her local animal shelter, and getting Williamstown councilman Marty Seufer to perform yard work at her home, she said.

One task which the team was unable to complete involved spelling the initials of the scavenger hunt in the lights of a 30-story skyscraper, Haught said.

“We discovered that the paperwork for that takes weeks to go through,” Haught said.

Participating with Haught were Heather Chulick of Dallas, Pa.; Alexis Clarkson of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Samantha Davern of South Boston, Mass.; Stacie Flatley of Peoria Heights, Ill.; Missy Gowans of West Valley City, Utah; Robert Hobday of St. Paul, Minn; Michelle Johnson of Simi Valley, Calif; Jenni Lahti of Mesa, Ariz; Maya Laughton of Pembroke Pines, Fla; April Lee of North York, Ontario, Canada; Breesie McCrudden of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada; Caroline Pumphrey of Friendswood, Texas; Sheryl Raygor of Burnsville, Minn. and Kiera Sandrock of Manotick, Ontario, Canada.

Her teammates ranged in age from 17 to 41, Haught said.

The team is planning to perform in the scavenger hunt again in 2015 and in future years as well, Haught said.

The group is working on one final task which extends beyond the one-week deadline: to raise $100,000 for randomacts.org, Haught said. Anyone wishing to contribute to the team’s efforts may do so at gofundme.com/team-zapfdingbats