The Best Amazing Race Birthday Party Ideas

Today is my daughter's 15th birthday, and we've had 15 years of fun, frugal & festive parties! This year, back by popular demand, we're having The Amazing Race Birthday Party. This party requires a lot of advanced preparation, but I promise it's FUN and FRUGAL…about $100 including supplies, food, and favors! You'll be the mom of the year when you host this one!

This party requires a lot of advanced preparation, but I promise it's FUN and FRUGAL...about $100 including supplies, food and favors! You'll be mom of the year when you host this one!

Amazing Race Birthday Party Ideas


I “designed” this look-alike Amazing Race logo using a bold Arial Black font, added the party details below and printed the invitations on bright yellow paper. Tri-fold the invitation with the logo facing out, insert it in a clear cellophane bag, add yellow shred and tie with black curling ribbon. Not to brag, but these are really good looking for a total cost of less than $5 for 12! You can also print this logo and glue it to the front of your challenge envelopes!


This Amazing Race Party is designed for pre-teens and teens, so choose a pedestrian-friendly shopping center like a town square or a mall.


Choose teams by doing a random drawing. When my daughter was 12, we had 2 teams, so my husband and I could each chaperone a team. Now that's she's 15, we're going to have 3 teams of 3…no chaperones needed! Make sure at least 1 person on each team has a phone they can use to take pictures and make videos.


You should have 1 adult leader per team. The leaders will sit in a central location (a.k.a. the finish line) where they will give out the Amazing Race challenges. After each challenge, the teams return to the finish line and prove to their leader that they have completed the challenge in order to receive the next one. Make sure that each team receives the challenges in a different order, so it's impossible to tell who is in the lead until the very end! The first team to complete all the challenges wins!


Pick and choose the Amazing Race challenges that will work best for your location. Plan on about 12 challenges for a 2 hour party. These ideas will get your creative juices flowing, and I'm confident you'll be able to come up with more! In an effort to keep it simple, we used straightforward wording for the challenges rather than complicated clues.

The Singing Challenge

  • Put the party hats on that are in your challenge envelope.
  • Sing “Happy Birthday to ___________” loud enough that your leader can hear you from 25 feet away!

The Counting Challenge

  • Count the number of chairs outside Starbucks
  • Report back to the finish line with the answer.
  • Note: This challenge could easily be changed to just about anything! How about the number of tables in the food court or the number of horses on the Merry Go Round?

The Gross Food Challenge

  • Purchase a variety of sandwich ingredients that don't go together. Pickles, peanut butter, egg, baby food, spaghetti– get weird and creative. Number each ingredient and have racers roll some dice to see which should be included on theirs.
  • Have your guests race to gather ingredients and put together their sandwich.
  • Return to the finish line and have each team member take a big bite in front of us!

The Gross Drink Challenge

  • Go to Jamba Juice and order a double shot of wheatgrass and have it served in a tiny cup for each team member.
  • Return to the finish line and drink up in front of us!
  • Note: If you don't have a Jamba Juice, see if your smoothie shop has wheatgrass or some other type of nasty drink. A shot of espresso from Starbuck's would work too!

The Make-Up Challenge

  • Find the brightest red lipstick tester and put it on everyone!
  • We can't wait to see your new look, so hurry back to the finish line.
  • We promise to have make-up remover for you!
  • Note: This challenge is perfect if you have a department store, Sephora or Ulta.

The Shopping Challenge

  • Using the $2 in the envelope, buy something with a smiley face on it.
  • Bring the item to the finish line.
  • Note: This is another challenge that could easily be changed to different items. How about something with a peace sign or a silly sticker?

The Blindfold Challenge

  • Choose 1 member of your team to put a blindfold on and reach into the “special bowl” to get out exactly $2. (Don't tell them, but the special bowl is filled with cold spaghetti and coins, and those spaghetti noodles are often mistaken for worms!)
  • Use the $2 to buy a candy bar for your leader!
  • Hurry back to the finish line…your leader is craving chocolate!

The Candy Store Challenge

  • Choose your 3 favorite colors of M&M's.
  • Use the money in your challenge envelope to buy exactly 2 oz. of each color.
  • Keep each color in a separate bag.
  • Do not eat the candy.
  • Bring the candy along with the receipt to the finish line.
  • Note: This challenge works if you have a candy store that sells by the pound like Dylan's Candy Bar.

The Bookworm Challenge

  • How many chapters are in __________. (Choose any book, and they'll have to go to the bookstore to find it!)
  • Who is on the cover of this months Teen Vogue Magazine?
  • Find out the meaning of everyone's name on your team.
  • Report back to your leader with the answers.
  • Note: Most malls and shopping centers have a bookstore, so this one is a must!

The Party Favor Challenge

  • Use the money in your challenge envelope to buy party favors for another team.
  • Bring the party favors to the finish line.
  • Note: Make sure to let them know how many party favors to buy. FYI…we allotted $5 per person.

The Free Sample Challenge

  • Get 3 different free samples and bring them back to your leader.
  • Note: Don't tell them, but these could be food samples, make-up samples, perfume samples, etc. They will likely only think food which could slow them down.

The Word Jumble Challenge

  • Unscramble this word (use the letters for the name of any store)
  • Now go take a picture of their sign.
  • Your leader can't wait to see the picture!

The Stair Climb Challenge

  • Walk to the top of the parking garage and shout Happy Birthday _________ when you reach the top.
  • Your leader must be able to hear you from the finish line.
  • Head back down to the finish line to get your next challenge.
  • Note: This challenge works well if you're in an outdoor mall.

The Recipe Challenge

  • Go to the grocery and photograph the ingredients you need to bake a birthday cake.
  • Show your leader the photos.
  • Note: This is a fun challenge if you have a grocery store or Target in your shopping center.

The Silly Glasses Challenge

  • Have each team member put on the silly glasses in the challenge envelope.
  • Go to any store and ask for an empty shopping bag.
  • Make a video of this escapade as proof for your leader!

The Coin Challenge

  • Find a coin with the Birthday Girl's year of birth.
  • Show the coin to your leader.

Prizes / Party Favors

The team that completes all the challenges first will get first choice of the party favors, second place = second choice, third place = third choice. Remember, the girls bought the party favors in one of the challenges, so they're sure to be a hit!

Party Food

Once the Amazing Race Birthday Party challenges are complete, and the winners are determined…head home for pizza and one last challenge just for fun!

  • The Cake Challenge
  • You have 10 minutes to use the M&M's you bought earlier along with the items in your challenge envelope to decorate a birthday cake. The cakes were already baked and frosted…they were just 9″ round, 1 layer cakes.
  • The leaders will vote for the winning cake, and the winning team will get a small prize…those little $2 smiley face things will make great prizes!

Please leave a comment to share your Amazing Race Birthday Party ideas! Thanks!


In full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links to help support The Budget Diet girl! My advice will always be unbiased and free, but free won’t pay the bills! Thanks!

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2 years ago

I have spent two days over the computer looking for ideas for my son’s 19th birthday. This beats everything else I have found. Thank you!!!

9 years ago

Thanks! We did one for her 13th and had 2 teams of 3,each with their own adult driver to give out the clues when completing the clue. They are now 15 and want to do it again with 4 teams of 2 and I was trying to figure out how without the adults… PERFECT! I will plant myself at Starbucks and have the clues encompass the area and they can return after each challenge!! THANK YOU!! πŸ™‚

Heidi Thompson
9 years ago

This is such a great resource! I’ll definitely be using these challenge ideas in a few weeks for my daughter’s 13th birthday! Thank you!

10 years ago

Great ideas! I am planning this for my daughters 13th bday. I notice that you did have a detour or a roadblock. Is there a reason for this.

11 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I am planning an Amazing Race party for my
11 year old this month and needed some help. This really helped me think outside the box! Thanks again.

Christy Garrett
11 years ago

This sounds like an amazing party. We had a scavenger hunt when I was a teenager at my birthday party. They were always alot of fun the the teens, not sure about those houses we raided to get the items.

Lexie Lane
11 years ago

Oh, this is such a fun thing to do together! Hope your daughter has a great day!

Lisa Weinstein
11 years ago

I have a 15-year old daughter and these are all great ideas!! Thanks for sharing!! Lisa

Pepper Tan
11 years ago

What an AMAZING idea for a party theme :). I’ll try and come up with something like this for my daughter too. thanks for sharing :). Happy birthday to your girl πŸ™‚

11 years ago

Wow! Looks like this would be SO much fun! I have a couple favorites: the shopping challenge, the singing challenge and the bookworm challenge were all popping out at me. I can’t wait to check in and see how it goes; youtube would come in handy for this!! Thanks for sharing!!!

11 years ago

We’ve done adult scavenger hunt Halloween parties where we gave out clues they had to figure out, take pics with the whole team at whatever place or with whatever thing the clue described and be the first team back. We attempted it at the mall last time but they wouldn’t allow adults in costumes because of security so it really messed up our party. We haven’t done it again since. This would be PERFECT to do if we forgo the costumes OR these are some really great ideas for things for the teams to find if we decide to give the costumes a go again. Thanks for the great post. You’ve inspired me to give our party another try.

Paul Clark
11 years ago

MY wife also ran a party like this. The kids enjoyed it so much that we developed a “The Fantastic Race” app for the ipad, iphone and ipod. It is a configurable (if you want to) party organiser. If takes you through the setup, gives you a timetable and checklist of what to get. And most importantly runs the party for you.

11 years ago

Fantastic ideas, I’m going to try some for. My daughters 10th birthday party in Jul πŸ˜‰

11 years ago

Great idea want to do it in 5 days time for my 13 yr old daughter.I am in South Africa and sure if I will be able to get hold of chase game in time.

Real Army of Moms
12 years ago

This is AWESOME! What a great birthday party! I just might have to do this one.

12 years ago

What great ideas!!! I’m sure they had a blast. How creative you are!

Crazed in the Kitchen
12 years ago

This sounds like so much fun! Can I come to your next party, pretty please?

christine (lulobird)
12 years ago

Wow! That is such a fantastic idea! I am sure I will channel a version of this for a party someday. LOVE! I am going to pin this : )

12 years ago

What an absolutely amazing idea! So creative.
I am fresh out of ideas myself after 13 years of parties…3 kids…
I may steal this idea. πŸ˜‰
Visiting from voiceboks! xo

12 years ago

this is so crazy! I was looking for ideas for an amazing race party and i read this one first then i realized that this is my town!

12 years ago

Thank You so much…this party sounds like so much fun!!
You have awaken my creative mind!!! We live on a golf course, and I’m planning my 11yr old daughter’s party for this weekend!!
I will post my ideas after this weekend!! x

Amanda @ Time4Mommy
12 years ago

This is great! We have a local homeschooling group that’s doing something similar once a week. The kids are having a blast. πŸ˜€

Nicole Rivera
13 years ago

This is SUCH a great idea! Forget pre-teens – I think I want to do MY next birthday party like this (I’ll be 35!! :P) The kids must have loved it!

Sarah Thacker
13 years ago

Love it! We love Amazing Race. I will be coming back to this post in the future to get lots of fantastic ideas!

Mrs. Jen B
13 years ago

How neat! What a clever idea, and something I’m sure the kids would love!

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth
13 years ago

What a great party idea! I love actually planning birthday parties and being creative. I have only done a few, since my kids are little and my boys have (rainy) Spring birthdays. I always like to have an arsenal of ideas in my back pocket though, especially since baby girl’s birthday is in the summer! Wonder if they will still have the Amazing Race when she gets old enough for a party like this? πŸ˜‰

Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop.
13 years ago

What a great idea! I am stashing this away for a couple years from now!

Stumbling! ; )

13 years ago

this sounds like so much fun!

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