Guide to the Holiday Forest

Welcome to the Holiday Forest! When Setec Astronomy created Molasses Awareness Day to help people understand the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, it unwittingly prompted a new flood that spread a wave of puzzles throughout the Holiday Forest. Now Jack Skellington and Santa Claus need your help to return things to normal. By solving puzzles and finding the manhole cover, you can undo the damage so the Townsfolk can get back to celebrating, commemorating, and spreading good cheer throughout the land.

Hunt Schedule

Hunt began with kickoff on Friday, January 18, at noon in Kresge Auditorium. (Video of kickoff is available here.) Puzzles became available at 1:00 p.m. Headquarters of the Administrative Division of the Holiday Oversight Council, or AD HOC, remained open until the manhole cover was found by Team Left Out on Sunday, January 20, at 5:49 p.m. Wrap-up was on Monday, January 21, at noon in 26-100. (Video of wrap-up is available here.)

Santa and Jack

Santa and Jack will deliver puzzles to you. Santa has a fixed schedule, so you can expect to get new puzzles periodically as he searches the Holiday Forest and delivers them to you. If your team is solving quickly, Jack will deliver puzzles early, ensuring you always have something more to work on. This doesn’t affect Santa—getting a puzzle early from Jack won’t change Santa’s delivery schedule. You can check the NORAD tracker to see what’s coming soon and what you received recently.


Some towns in the Holiday Forest were far enough away that they’re unaffected by the flood. These towns are researching a solvent to clean up the mess. They’re also hosting events, which offer chances to meet their Townsfolk and earn some solvent. Further details about each town and its event will be available on the Holiday Forest map. Events will occur at the following times:

  • Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Please send two team members willing to learn from experience.
  • Saturday, 10:00 a.m.: Please send two team members who are physically flexible and comfortable in close spaces with teammates.
  • Saturday, 2:00 p.m.: Please send two team members to help Boston’s Science Club for Girls with a special event.
  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m.: Please send two team members with a love for songs.
  • Saturday, 10:00 p.m.: Please send two team members. Participation is limited to teams that have completed all previous events.

Solvent helps clean a puzzle of molasses, which reveals the problem with which the puzzle is associated. It takes 10 drops of solvent to clean a puzzle. To use solvent to clean a puzzle, go to its Check Answer page. Remember that solvent is nonrefundable, so be sure your team agrees! You are limited to holding a maximum of 120 drops of solvent at a time.


Features of this site have been tested primarily for Chrome. Most things should also work with Firefox and Safari. In particular, printing may have problems in these browsers.

Contacting AD HOC Headquarters

For anything puzzle-related, get in touch with AD HOC through that puzzle’s “Check Answer” page, which has three options:

  • Answer submissions. Use this to submit an answer for the puzzle. AD HOC will call you to confirm or reject your answer.
  • Request submissions. Use this to arrange to bring something to AD HOC, have AD HOC judge something, schedule an activity, or report errata—anything puzzle-related that isn’t an answer submission. You’ll hear back from AD HOC shortly.
  • Solvent. Once your team has earned some solvent, use this to apply it.

If you need to contact AD HOC about an issue not connected to a puzzle, call us directly at 617‑324‑7732 or email us at Any emergency, medical, or safety incident must be reported to AD HOC headquarters as soon as possible. Please also refer to the Health and Safety information.

Good luck and have a wonderful Hunt!