Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Host a Hunger Games Party

Last night was our Hunger Games Movie Release Party, and it was AWESOME! We had about 75 people which was the perfect size for our space, number of activities, staffing levels, and timeline. I thought I'd share with you what we did and how we did it in case you're planning to host your own party.

I set up almost all of my teen programs in a carnival-style setting where there are multiple activities going on at the same time. This helps reduce congestion and bottle necking because teens can do the activities in any order and come back to the ones with long lines. We kept the d├ęcor pretty simple by blowing up the District symbols and taping them up across the room. I did everything else (table cloths, plates, cups, etc) in shades of red, orange, and yellow. When teens first walked into the room we had a registration table where they picked up their score cards already pre-printed with District #s.

They then filled out Reaping slips with the name and District # and dropped them into their corresponding District’s bag.

Then I had everyone gather at the tables which divided the room between the survival stations and the arena where the Cornucopia Challenge would be held. This gave everyone a chance to get in the door and allowed me to have their undivided attention to explain how the day would work.

Once I explained all of the stations, I let them free to have fun. The different survival stations where teens could earn points were…

  • Knot tying
  • Edible Plant Identification
  • Wii Archery

We also had Cinna's Makeover Station where teens could get their faces painted and temporary mockingjay tattoos as well as Project Runway: Katniss where teens could design an outfit for a paper doll version of Katniss.

I gave the teens about 45 minutes to work visit each station, and then I got on the microphone to announce “Attention in the arena! You are being rewarded for your skills and good behavior with parachute snacks. Help yourselves!” and we tossed individual snack bags that we had attached homemade parachutes to into the room. The teens ran around collecting them and LOVED it. I call this the Snack Bomb.

Then we went right into the Reaping where I selected 2 names from each District to compete in the Cornucopia Challenge. I got the Cornucopia Challenge off the ya-yaak listserv (sorry I can’t remember who specifically posted it) but I modified it in order to have two rounds so that 24 teens could compete instead of just 12. Before starting, I laid down the ground rules of “no pushing, shoving, or stealing” and then I released them to race in and grab 1 item from the pile of survival necessities. Then I read the survival scenarios and whoever had the items I read off earned points. The points they earned were then rewarded to everyone in their District. Everyone came away from this unscathed and with no major injuries so I was happy about that. The other teens enjoyed cheering on their Tributes and/or continued to visit the stations they hadn’t made it to yet.

After the CC, we cut the cake and in exchange for their piece the teens had to turn in their orange score cards and their green plant ID forms. While we were tabulating scores and the teens were eating, we showed the movie trailer and some other interviews with cast members on a projector screen at the front of the room. That, combined with our background Hunger Games soundtrack, really added to the atmosphere.

The only area where we didn’t quite stick to our schedule was at this point right before the program was scheduled to end. There were teens who came in later than the 4:00 PM start time and therefore took longer to complete each other stations. In order to make it fair, we had to wait for their score cards before handing out the prizes, so that pushed us about 8 minutes over schedule, but I always end my programs at least 30 minutes prior to closing so that we have leeway and still have time to clean up and get everyone out of the building.

Once the scores were tabulated, we awarded prizes. I had 12 total prizes including 7 giveaway readalike books, a copy of the special edition People magazine that was devoted to the movie, a Hunger Games notepad that a colleague brought back from PLA, a boxed set of the trilogy, and two movie ticket bundles (tickets, gift cards to the theater for snacks, and movie sized boxes of candy.

In addition, everyone who participated got a mockingjay pin (we made these in-house) and a bookmark that I got for free from Scholastic (that’s where I got the mockingjay tattoos as well).

All-in-all it was one of the most successful programs I’ve run to date, and everyone who helped out said they really enjoyed it. I also got some great comments from parents thanking me for putting on such a cool program to encourage teens to read. *pat on the back…job well done* J

If you would like more detailed info, copies of any of the documents I created, instructions for making the snack parachutes, or anything else just comment here with your email address. I’m more than happy to share! You can view all our pictures on the Escondido Public Library Facebook page: /escondidolibrary

Monday, March 19, 2012


Listening to Jerry Pinkney talk about his latest book Twinkle Twinkle Little Star made me want to use it in my PJ storytime tomorrow. Although he is one of my favorite authors/illustrators and his work is amazing, I have never read one of his books during a storytime. Hope it goes well, any tips? I am seriously fan-girling in this picture, but I had to share.