6 Tips to Help You Host Great Trivia Nights at Your Parish

Suggestions for a fun church event, with hundreds of questions in 78 categories to help get you started.

A photo of the winning team of the first Trivia Night at St. Paul’s Parish in Bloomer, Wisconsin.
A photo of the winning team of the first Trivia Night at St. Paul’s Parish in Bloomer, Wisconsin. (photo: Father Victor Feltes)

With our world happily returning to normal again, hosting Trivia Nights in your church hall is a wonderful way to bring people together and fundraise. Before the pandemic, I held five Trivia Nights over nine months between my two rural parishes. People absolutely loved these events and the parish netted an average of $1,200 each evening — quite good for a town of 3,500. Here are my tips and techniques for hosting great Trivia Nights at your parish:

Tip #1 — Prepare Great Questions
Trivia questions should be neither obvious nor impossible. Remember that the goal is not to stump your competing players, but to entertain them. A head writer for the game show Jeopardy! has said of crafting categories, “We love a fact that makes the viewer say, ‘I didn’t know I knew that,’ or ‘I should have known that,’ or even ‘I’m glad I learned that!’” Creating fun, engaging questions can be the most time-consuming part of planning a Trivia Night, but see the end of this article for a helpful resource.

Tip #2 — Promote an Evening
We hold our Trivia Nights on Fridays. Since most people do not work the following day they can relax and thoroughly enjoy an evening out together. Teams pre-register by calling a volunteer whose number we include in our bulletins and Facebook posts advertising the event. Registration ensures we will have enough tables and answer sheets ready for everyone. We also advertise in the announcements at Mass and contact previous players to invite them back again.

To best use our limited space, we now require teams of four to eight people so that the whole team fits around a single folding table. Our doors open at 7pm and admission is $10 per person. Players check in and sign their names on slips for door-prize raffles. Then they enjoy refreshments until the game begins at 7:30pm. We provide some free snacks and drinks but players often bring food and beverages to share as well. Our standard 10 rounds of trivia take a little more than two hours to play.

Tip #3 — Provide Grand Prizes
Have grand prizes ready for the big winners of the game. At the end of our nights, each person on the first-place team receives a gift certificate (donated by a local restaurant) for a free pie or pizza. To help keep things interesting for everyone wherever they may be in the rankings, we raffle door prizes between each round. After a round’s answers are read, a name is drawn and that lucky winner choses something from the door prize tables. At recent Trivia Nights parishioners have spontaneously donated additional door prizes, so we began drawing two door prize winners between each round.

Tip #4 — Secure Scorekeepers
Some people fear a Trivia Night will require them to be quick on their feet or put them embarrassingly on the spot in front of others. But Trivia Nights involve no bells, buzzers or shouted answers. Answer sheets are handed out to teams’ tables at the start of each round. Participants write answers to the questions printed on the sheet or announced by the Trivia Night emcee. When finished they turn these in to our two or three scorekeepers (non-players, who also serve as judges when needed). Teams’ answers are checked and their scores are posted upon a chalkboard (or on a TV screen connected to a laptop or Kindle). Here is how a mid-game scoreboard might look:

Trivia Night 2
In this example, the “Saints” team is leading after scoring 10, 9, and 7 in the first three rounds for a running total of 26 points.

Tip #5 — Sell Stickers
Yes, stickers. About 40% of our Trivia Nights’ revenue (more than $2,000) has come from selling yellow stickers. During any round, a team may buy our yellow stickers for $10 apiece and place these on individual answers to guarantee scoring that point. The competitive spirit and the fact that it’s all for charity encourages many players to buy them.

Tip #6 — Have a Host
A Trivia Night needs an emcee — preferably one with a microphone. At the start of the evening the host welcomes the players, leads a prayer and explains the rules (for example, no stealing answers, no internet use, and no yellow stickers allowed for any tie-breaker question in overtime). During the game, the host hands out sheets, reads and repeats questions, collects sheets, reads answers, draws door-prize winners, and occasionally announces the top-leading teams.

Organizing and hosting Trivia Nights has been lots of fun for me, and I encourage you to begin them at your parish.


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Trivia Question Archive

You are welcome to use these original question categories I authored at your own Trivia Nights. If you do, I ask that you considering sending some donation to my parish (St. Paul’s Catholic Parish, 1222 Main Street, Bloomer, WI 54724) and tell me how your event went.




Literature & Language

Movies & TV


Object Identification



Science & Tech




Note: Answer sheets tagged above with an asterisk (*) may need updating with the passage of time. Click here to find additional Trivia Categories in the future.