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


Unknown said...

Hi Joanna - This event sounds awesome!! I work in a high school library and think the students would LOVE participating in something like this. I'd love to have a look at your documents etc. Thanks so much for sharing! Shanna (

Joanna said...

Thanks, Shanna! I'm happy to send you everything I have when I get back to work on Monday. Have a great weekend, and look for an email from me on Monday.

Jenny said...

Hi Joanna - The whole night sounds amazing. I work in a public library in Australia and am sure our young people would love an event like this. I'd love a copy of your documents as well. ( Thanks for sharing your event with everyone. - Jenny

Marianne said...

Hi Joanna! Thank you for sharing your successful event! Congratulations! I would appreciate a copy of your documents, especially your instructions for preparing the Snacks with Parachutes.
All the best!
Youth Librarian from Palm Beach County, Florida

April said...

Thank you for sharing! This looks like an awesome program! If you could send instructions for the snack parachutes and the Project Runway: Katniss figure, it would be wonderfully appreciated. (

Joanna said...

Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for reading our blog and posting your comments! I've sent you each emails with all of my materials, so let me know if you haven't received it. Good luck with all your parties!

Anonymous said...

You are so talented, what a great idea! My library is having a Hunger Games party this summer. May I ask you for the directions on how to make the parachute snacks and how you made the decorations for the different districts? I would so appreciate any suggestions and advice you may have. Thanks so much in advance.
Thanks again,
Verna Austen

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, I wasn't able to receive your email because we changed formats and weren't able to read outside mail. May I ask you to send again? Thank you so much
Verna Austen
Stickney Forest View Public Library

Cranston Public Library said...

Hi Joanna, your program sounds awesome. I would also love access to your materials. How much time did your program take? We are planning a similar program for the summer. Thanks so much! My email address is

Katherine Thomas said...

Those are such great programs! I would also love to take a look at some of your documents. My email is

Anonymous said...

How cool!! I would love your materials. Do you have the copy of the drawing of Katniss you used to do the tribute designs? my teens would love this.

Heather LaBau said...

Hi, I was hoping you could send me the Scenarios you read where they got points for what they chose in the cornucopia challenge. Any other documents would be great too! Thanks,

Candice Blazejak said...

Hi, thanks for this great information! I work at a library in Maryland, and we are doing a Halloween Hunger Games. If you could send any of your documents that would be great! Plus any tips you might have after doing this event. Thanks,

Becky said...

Hi! I would love a copy of your Katniss paper doll if you could share it. I'm planning a program with the release of the Catching Fire movie. Thanks!

Emily V said...

Hi Joanna,

Your program sounds so awesome. We are planning a Hunger Games Survival Challenge to go along with the Catching Fire release (SO EXCITED.), and I would love any of those documents/instructions, but mostly that Katniss paper doll.

My email address is

Thanks in advance!

Andrea said...

Hi Joanna,

I'm a teen librarian and we are planning a Hunger Games party to coincide with the release of Catching Fire. I was searching google for ideas and came across your blog. I love it! If you see this, I would love any of the documents/instructions you'd be willing to share! My email address is

Eileen Scroggin said...

Your party looks like a blast! I would love to have a look at your materials to help prep for my library's Cathing Fire release party! My email is

Elise said...

Wow! This sounds like an amazing party! I'm having a Catching Fire Movie Release Party next month at my library, and I would love to include the Cornucopia Challenge and Project Runway: Katniss at my party. Could you please send the survival scenarios and the Katniss template to I would really appreciate it (and so would the teens!). Thanks!!

Laura Beutler said...

I would love to use your Project Runway: Katniss template at our library's Catching Fire movie release party. Would you be able to send me a template? lcbeutler(at)gmail(dot)com

cfreita2 said...

Hi Joanna,

I love what you did for the program! My library is planning a Hunger Games Party as well and I was really hoping you could send me the documents for yours.

Thanks so much!

Ouachita Parish Public Library said...

I would love Project Katniss Templates and the scenarios (or all the info you have on the Corn Chal.)

I'm going a HG program this summer at my library. Please email me at


PN said...

I am planning a Hunger Game event this summer during our Summer Reading Program. I would appreciate any documents from your event. I am especially interested in the directions for the snack parachutes and the template for the Project Runway: Katniss. My email is

Jenifer Webster said...

Hello, I love your ideas, I am thinking about doing this for the Mockingjay release in November. Could you send me copies of documents and anything else you have that details this activity? My email is Thanks in advance!

Jenifer Webster