HUNTINGTON — When Tosha Pelfrey began to adjust to life at home during the novel coronavirus outbreak, she realized that many families are experiencing similar problems — keeping small children entertained while adhering to social distancing practices.

This week she thought of creating a drive-by scavenger hunt with a small group of friends. They would decorate windows, doors and porches with little surprises and create clues for children to guess before driving by.

What started as a small idea among her friends has now grown to 13 houses participating, with a second round of the hunt planned for next week. With new clues and at least four more houses joining in, the hunt is expected to last until April 5.

“I thought maybe there’s something we, as a small group of my friends, could to do help everybody in our community, kind of lift their spirits and get their minds off of what’s going on right now,” she said.

After the scavenger hunt was posted and shared on Facebook this week, people have been spotted driving the route with their small children. However, the exact number of people who have gone on the hunt is hard to quantify, Pelfrey said.

“We don’t have any idea how many people have participated, but we are consistently seeing five or eight cars when we are outside a day,” she said. “It’s probably more than that.”

Pelfrey said the items along the route are from decorations or toys people had lying around their house and based around a theme for the clue. At her house along Clubhouse Drive in Huntington, Pelfrey decorated her stop with a dinosaur. Other stops along the route include Harry Potter, a bear, a dragon and the Easter bunny, among other things.

The scavenger hunt was launched with the support of the Funington, WV, Facebook group, which is managed by Jessica McCormick. The group aims to let families know about fun activities on a budget in the region.

McCormick said everyone had the idea to support those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scavenger hunt’s instructions request donations be made to the Facing Hunger Foodbank or the West Virginia Mask Army. They also ask people to donate to groups helping Huntington service industry workers or to order from local restaurants.

“We try to encourage some take-out while you’re out driving around,” McCormick said.

To take your children on the scavenger hunt, people may visit tinyurl.com/Htowncruiseforclues for clues and addresses to homes along the route.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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