May 23, 2012

The Hunger Games, Party Style

The Hunger Games isn't exactly a cheerful book. Controlling government, starvation, kids fighting to the death. Not so much party fodder. Unless you're my friends or myself. Sarah, Autumn, and I were joking one day about how funny it would be if we held a Hunger Games party and ate a lot of food. Then it became a serious thing and lo and behold, we hosted the Fake Hunger Games in my backyard last weekend.

We sent out a Facebook invite simply announcing the 74th Annual Hunger Games. I think a lot of people were too scared to RSVP. We did end up with about 20 or so attendees, some of them were tributes but most of us were just residents of the Capitol stuffing our faces and watching the games. It was perfect.

As we started talking about the party, it seemed to make the most sense to split up the Gamemaker responsibilities. I claimed food because I'd been drooling over a website with lots of Hunger Games inspired recipes, Sarah played Haymitch and brought all the beverages and formulated some specialty drinks, and Autumn planned the games (she's maniacal, it was perfect) and also rounded up all the plasticware.

The Drinks & The Food
I am incredibly boring when it comes to obtaining beverages and never know how to plan for the right amounts of alcohol, etc, so I was thrilled when Sarah volunteered for this responsibility. She discovered that Martha had a Hunger Games cocktail and another list of themed drinks from the series and went from there. She experimented and tested them (someone has to do it) and came armed with bottles and bottles of booze and mixers.

In the end, guests could choose from The Girl on Fire and Haymitch's Hooch. I tried both... for science. Haymitch's Hooch was a spritzer of sorts and it was just the sort of cool, light drink I needed while sweating in my stupidly hot kitchen. After I'd consumed more food, I experimented with The Girl on Fire (the recipe from Martha's site). I probably added a lot more mango juice than I should have because I'm a wus, but it was a wonderfully fruity and delicious drink. In fact, I could use one now.

Though it's a book with a lot of starving people, food is mentioned. Especially in any area of the book discussing the Capitol. Not a ton but enough to go on. I had options though. I got all my food inspiration and recipes from Fictional Food (not The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook) except the District 11 bread which I found here. My menu included: District 11 bread, raisin and nut bread (like Peeta gave Katniss), Prim's reaping day gift, the orange chicken from Katniss' lunch with Cinna, dandelion greens, goat cheese and apple tarts, lamb stew with dried plums, and wild rice.

I had so much fun prepping everything! I made everything from scratch except for the wild rice which came in a box. I dutifully wore my Mellark Bakery apron while baking on Friday night, and I listened to the soundtrack from The Hunger Games film on repeat.

I set the table with some plain linen and rustic-y colors. Thom was kind enough to design the placards with the quotes I provided (I almost got sucked back into the book while looking them up), and he also went on a hunt for dandelion greens for me. They were harder to find than I anticipated.
Anyways, it was several hours in the kitchen but the recipes from Fictional Food were spot on and I had a great time cooking and then eating. The lamb stew was my favorite.

I also recruited (read: asked politely) the awesome justJENN to make cupcakes for the party. She brought some beautiful mockingjay treats! That link shows just how she made the molds and painted the mockingjays. The black sprinkles are to represent coal, and the cupcakes themselves are chocolate. She chose chocolate because chocolate cake is mentioned in the series in regards to a Capitol meal. Huzzah research!

The Games

What's a Hunger Games party without a battle to the death? I'm glad Autumn was willing to take this on because I think both Sarah and myself would have been happy with just stuffing our faces. Autumn brought a giant punch bowl for the reaping and had all the attendees' names typed and ready to enter. Participation was thankfully voluntary.

Every tribute chose or was assigned a district. They each wore a streamer around their waist with flags, and the last tribute standing with a flag won the games. Tributes had my backyard, the sidewalk beside my house, and the front yard to play - it was tight quarters.
You may be wondering what they battled with. Water balloons and guns of course! We counted down (yeah, there's a video) and the tributes had to dash to grab these weapons from the cornucopia:
There was running, inadvertent tackling, alliances, fake love reenactment, fake death - all of this happened in five minutes or less. Oh yes, more video of that. It was probably the fastest Games on record.
Chrissy emerged victorious!! Her prize wasn't wealth and food for her district, but a mockingjay necklace.
After those games, some folks played board games inside and I amused myself with tiny bows and arrows made from this tutorial (Jenn, Jeff, and Thom crafted the little bows before the party).
I'm biased, but I think we managed to create a pretty amazing time. Granted, none of us had Seneca Crane's fancypants beard, but as it turned out we didn't need it (even though I was tempted to make this one from leather). The tributes had such fun that I think they're willing to come back for the Quarter Quell next year.

You can check out #FakeHungerGames on Twitter for some commentary from the day and see more pics of food, tributes, etc. here.

Though I had a BLAST at the party, the best part for me was trading emails with my fellow Gamemakers about  the party. Dividing tasks up made the whole party easier to plan, and so many of the emails made me laugh and all of them reminded me that I'm lucky to have such awesome friends.

May the odds be ever in your favor!


  1. That's awesome. I want to do this but I don't have enough friends and the friends I do have are way too violent to be trusted. Although, that could make it interesting too. Also, I love stuffing my face.

  2. Stuffing my face was my favorite part!

  3. Say whaaaaaa...??? That is so rad! I need to make cooler friends so I can do this kind of stuff. :)

  4. Cool! Tried doing one but not enough girls wanted to and about 30 guys wanted to.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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