How to Write the Best Holiday Trivia Questions
Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, and several others are all treasured holidays among many in the world. They come around every year without fail and are a great opportunity to change things up for your guests.
You might be thinking “How can there be a whole two hour Trivia show about one holiday?” Well, there’s more to it than just the standard information about any particular holiday. Each one has roots in history, varying context across the globe, and a cult following in pop culture. Writing great holiday Trivia questions starts here:
Consider Your Audience
The great thing about holiday Trivia is that there are many to choose from and all with different vibes. For instance, your audience may be the type to love a good Fourth of July show, but not so much a Halloween one. Take note of what your guests like so you can give them the holiday show they’ll love.
Remember, you want people to have fun and giving them a show that falls within their interests is key to doing so. Not sure if your audience would like a certain holiday show? Take a survey! Have your bartenders talk to patrons and get a gauge on what they might be interested in.
Timing is Everything
So you want to host a holiday show, but when? Remember that it’s likely that a holiday show on the actual date of the holiday may not be the best option (contrary to what it may seem) because many people already have plans to celebrate on their own. Furthermore, many people expect venues to be closed on federal holidays so they may not even think about showing up based on this assumption.
After the holiday isn’t the best option either since all the buzz dies down by then. The sweet spot for hosting your holiday show is the week before. The excitement tends to peak during this time, so it’s good to get into the hype.
Additionally, the weekdays prior to the holiday are a smart ways for bars and restaurants to get some heavier business on traditionally slower nights.
Add a Relevant Twist
Make your holiday show extra special with some pizzazz. For instance, a Halloween show wouldn’t be a Halloween show without candy. Encourage your guests and host to dress up for a costume contest and maybe even have your host set out a bowl of candy for “trick-or-treaters”.
Similarly, an ugly sweater contest for a Christmas show or a spirited red, white, and blue competition are great ways to give those who aren’t Trivia whizzes a chance to win something.
Some other ideas may be a special, one-night-only Thanksgiving themed menu, complete with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce or a special cocktail menu just for the occasion. However you decide to approach it, adding a little something extra will take your show to the next level and cement your Trivia Night status as the best in town.
Cover the Basics
What is Santa Claus’s real name? Where was the first Thanksgiving celebrated? These are accessible questions that many people would know the answer to. It gives everyone the opportunity to earn some points.
Does your audience prefer more of a challenge? You don’t have to make them quite that easy; if you’d like to make these basic questions more challenging, try asking for a specific year for example. You know your crowd best, so giving them a show at a reasonable difficulty level is important for a successful Trivia Night.
Many popular holidays exist across the globe, although the traditions vary depending on the region. For example: In Germany Krampus is a popular myth within the Christmas tradition, but not so much in the U.S.
Additionally, these holidays may occur on different dates, such as Canadian Thanksgiving vs. U.S. Thanksgiving. These types of varying traditions make good Trivia questions because they challenge common knowledge and also provide new knowledge for those who didn’t know the answer before.
Knowing something more obscure or learning something new makes everyone feel good, so it’s a win-win.
Historical Context Matters
While many of us are up to date on the basic myth and vague history of national holidays, thinking deeper about the history of them may provide some challenging and interesting material for Trivia questions.
Key figures such as the composer of the “Star Spangled Banner” or deep history like the pagan origins of Easter, are rich deposits of information for you to pull from when writing holiday Trivia questions.
To make these questions more accessible, try adding context clues that allude to a certain region or time period so more people have a chance of deducing the answer if they don’t know it immediately. You want people to be challenged without having too many “gimmes”, but you also want to give people a chance to earn points using their Sherlock skills of deduction.
Pop Culture is Cool
While thinking about the history of a holiday is important, so is noting the way celebrations have changed over the years. For example, soul cakes were a common treat dished out for trick-or-treating decades ago, but are no longer common in commercial Halloween celebrations. Instead, we now hand out Reese’s and Kit Kats and other mass-bagged treats. This would be a good opportunity to ask a modern question about a popular candy brand often handed out on Halloween.
Additionally, consider cult favorite Halloween films and ask questions about those. Think: Hocus Pocus, Friday the 13th, Halloween, etc. These could be questions about the film itself, behind the scenes tidbits, or even about the director or cast.
Holidays come around every year and are a great way to add a little something extra to your Trivia Night repertoire. It can also draw in new guests who will love your awesome show and come back for Trivia Night every week. Considering historical context, pop culture, and more will give you a rich bank to pull questions from to build the perfect holiday Trivia show. Whichever holiday you choose to celebrate, the Trivia world is your oyster.