- Sophie &Friends
Recently, I helped create a “Hunger Games”-inspired party for a dear client. If you know me at all, you know that I am thrilled to create new parties on themes we’ve never done. Earlier this spring I came up with a bunch of ideas for activities and games you could do at a Hunger Games party, but now I was finally going to bring them to life and test them out! Thankfully, I had an amazing family who had wonderful ideas of their own.
In our early planning discussions, we decided that we didn’t want to focus on the morbid “to the death” aspect of the book, and instead go with a “kids against the machine” feel. Hence, the kids would not be out to try and kill one another, but instead work together toward a final goal. In our case, they would race through this incredible wooded area at the back of the family’s property to find their District-numbered backpacks. The backpacks would each contain one item that was necessary for the creation of s’mores. That way, the girls would have to work together to get their ooey-gooey treat. The only thing oozing in our party would be melted marshmallows and chocolate!
With this notion in mind, we focused on some of the fun aspects of the book. Here’s a brief rundown...
There were two parts of this party in particular that blew me away. The first was the bow-and-arrow making during our “training.” The detail, time, and ingenuity behind the girls’ work was awe-inspiring. We spent an hour on this activity alone, and long after the last s’more had been eaten, the girls were still shooting their arrows at the neighboring hillside. Our birthday girl, Sammy, must have been channeling Katniss Everdeen, because she took to that bow and arrow like a true champion.
To make your own bow, you’ll need...
For your bow, all you really need is a sturdy-but-flexible branch about 3 feet long. You’ll also need a nice, heavy weight elastic cord (which you should be able to get from a fabric or crafting store; you want cord elastic 1/16” round or thicker, not flat elastic), similar to these.
To construct your bow, here’s what you need to do. (Note: it may help to have two people, one to bend, one to tie.)
Your arrow needs to be at least two times the distance between the string and the center of your bow’s bend. 2 ½ times the length might even be better. Again, I used the bamboo stakes for the base of the arrows, but you could probably use dowels or nice straight branches too.
To make your arrows, you’ll need...
To make your arrow...
Pringles cans make great quivers, although you could also use a cardboard mailing tube; both have that nice, rounded shape.
To make your quiver, you’ll need...
To make your quiver...
After we made our bows and arrows, the second part of the party that brought a huge smile to my face was the great challenge. Now remember, I mentioned that we wanted to stay away from the death aspects of the game, but that didn’t mean that the adults weren’t up for a little mayhem!
While the kids were testing their bows and arrows and playing other games, my assistant Jen ran down to the wooded area with a marked backpack for each district. Jen hung them from tree branches throughout the woods.
Now here’s where it gets really fun. The adults armed themselves with Nerf bows and arrows and hid themselves throughout the woods. When the players entered the woods, they were bombarded by flying missiles from all directions! Immediately the players scattered, trying to avoid becoming targets. The adults were ruthless, which added to the challenge and the fun. It was so much fun watching the kids work together to try and outsmart the adults and claim their bags. Truth be told, the adults did an awesome job, and probably would have been able to take the kids down had it not been for one thing: stamina. Kids just have a lot of energy; they run and leap like gazelles!
Once all the backpacks were secured and the end of the Hunger Games declared, the girls headed back to the patio for s’mores. Two of the guests expertly started a fire in the firepit -- much to my relief, since I’m no camper! I had expected to send them a silver parachute with a lighter, but they didn’t need it! They were pros.
As Jen and I cleaned up, the girls continued on with the fun, using their bows and arrows for target practice until they were called in for dinner.
This was one of the most thrilling parties I’ve done in a while. It was so fun to be out in nature and playing in the woods -- it was a blast! I can’t wait for Sammy’s next birthday... maybe we can do the second book, Catching Fire...
Please note that as with any weapons, real or fake, construction and play should always be under the supervision of a responsible adult, and all necessary safety precautions should be taken.