So this summer for our summer reading wrap-up party, we’re doing a giant after-hours lazer tag party in the library that is Hunger Games themed. Pretty awesome, right? Only teens who have completed the summer reading program are invited to come–it was loads of fun last year (and it wasn’t even Hunger Games themed then, just laser tag after hours in the library) so the fact that they don’t get to come if they don’t do summer reading is a huge incentive for a lot of teens to read.

We’ve rented a giant inflatable laser tag arena to set up in the auditorium (I know, doesn’t just renting the laser tag guns and having it be a free-for-all in the entire libraries with everyone hiding between the stacks sound like the most fun? But considering that this is at the library I’m pretty sure that our insurance company would not be too happy with that, plus the basic fact that letting a billion Mountain Dew-feuled teenagers run around the library after hours with laser tag guns through the entire giant library is a horrible idea. However, the part of me that is not a responsible adult disagrees.) Since only ten or so teens can play laser tag at once, we have a bunch of other things going on too. Some of those things are Hunger Games-ified versions of stuff we did last year but we’re also trying to come up with some new ideas.

We’ve just decided we are going to do this thing that involves having the teens make bows out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands and using q-tips as arrows to shoot some sort of target. They will win candy for hitting the targets (because Katniss hunts with a bow and arrows to feed her family, right?)

We’re also going to have a cupcake decorating station which will be Peeta’s family bakery. Peeta does all the cake decorating for the bakery so there’s the Hunger Games tie-in. Last year we did cupcake decorating and prior to that I spent the entire day baking a billion cupcakes using this just-add-water cupcake mix. It was fun and all but I think we’re going to purchase pre-made plain cupcakes this time.

We’ve been talking about other ideas though. I found this list of games, most of which are probably not that cool and geared towards younger kids, but there’s one that I think sounds really fun. It’s called “Tracker Jacker Sting” and is basically like tag, only 3 people are tracker jackers and 3 people have the anecdote to tracker jacker venom. From what I can tell, when you get tagged by one of the tracker jackers, you have to spin in circles. Then the people with the antecdote come find you and hand you some leaves (the antecdote) and you are then immune from being stung. I’m not quite sure what the goal is once you’re immune but the spinning around part sounds kind of fun. Another one I found on the same list of games involves accomplishing some sort of obstacle while pretending to have a broken leg (like Peeta does at some point) which sounds kind of interesting.

We’ve also got a polaroid camera and a ton of film and are getting a bunch of costumes and face paints and other stuff so that people can dress up like they’re from the Capitol and take pictures. A lot of teens are coming dressed up as characters from the Hunger Games so this will be a good opportunity to get fun pictures of their costumes. The teens have decided that I have the option of dressing up as Seneca Crane or Cesar Flickerman. I have told them that I wish I was talented enough at growing facial hair to have Seneca Crane’s beard but that I’m just not. They offered to draw it on my face with a Sharpie and I told them they are not drawing on my face with a Sharpie. They are now obsessed with the Cesar Flickerman idea. I guess this is all they know how to do to process the fact that they think I’m probably gay (I’ve never told them one way or another because I tend not to want to make my interactions with them about me, although I am outspoken enough about LGBTQ stuff and I also just can’t really turn off the fact that I’m really effeminate so I think they just know. I have told teens who have said they were LGBTQ themselves so maybe everyone knows but doesn’t say anything about it.)

We’ve talked about doing some sort of edible plant identification but all we’ve really come up with for that is putting out a glorified vegetable tray so that idea needs some work. I also think it would be neat to put out a bowl of blueberries or something and label them “Nightlock” but I’m not sure whether that would be giving the teens the message that it’s a good idea to eat poison (?).

Does anyone have any other cool ideas for a Hunger Games themed after hours teen party at the library?

  1. Alexis says:

    The target for the “archery” contest should be an apple in a pig’s mouth. Or, you know, a picture of one. 🙂 It sounds like you’ve already got a good costume idea going, but an alternative could be to design the costume their “district” would wear to the opening ceremonies. (No actual fire allowed.) Ummm… I have this half-thought about how the resistance supporters hid mockingjay symbols on stuff like cookies and watches, but I can’t think of how to incorporate that into a program. Maybe a “find the mockingjay” type game? I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

    • Jackson says:

      Oh! The find the mockingjay thing would be a great thing in terms of having them hidden around the library–like how many can you find/who can find the most! Or like a scavenger hunt. We ended up having the targets be different sized buckets with pictures of different animals on them–a squirrel, a boar and a bear. It was fun!

  2. Evelyn N. Alfred says:

    Wow, after hours laser tag at the library. I bet your teens will love it.

    • Jackson says:

      They had so much fun! We did this for summer reading wrap-up last year too and it was a big hit. It’s a lot of work to coordinate but the laser tag is this giant inflatable thing we rent and they set up in the auditorium and the company sends their own person to run that which makes it a lot more doable/safe than if we had actually rented the laser tag equipment and let them run free around the library (even though that sounds so fun!)

  3. Nora Olsen says:

    Wow, laser tag! I wish my local library did that, even if it were teen only and I couldn’t do it.
    It sounds like your plan is perfect already, but for your cupcake decorating station you could do Hunger Games toppers and wrappers. (Decorated paper wrappers to encircle the cupcakes, and little decorative circles to attach to a toothpick and plunge into the top.) If you look on Etsy, a lot of people sell Hunger Games cupcake topper and wrapper patterns to cut out but it’s not hard to make your own. I made these for a middle school writing class that I volunteer with so they could have Hunger Games cupcakes, and they were big into it.

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