Midnight showings have a bad rap for attracting crazies, but these Hunger Games costumed fans know the secrets to a successful life

By Kelli Bender
Updated November 22, 2013 03:00 PM
Credit: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/People

Grab your bow and braid your hair, because The Hunger Games is here again. Thursday night was the first chance for true tributes to take in the glory of Catching Fire, the second film based on Suzanne Collins’s dystopian but oh-so-trendy book trilogy.

The midnight showings, squealing mayhem and opening night lines may seem overwhelming to some, but plenty of Panem aficionados turned up for a first look. Hoping to discover the special sauce behind The Hunger Games frenzy, we arrived at a New York City theater several hours before the first showings to see why these diehards don’t mind spending a whole evening camping out in a movie theater lobby.

We expected costumes and excited chatter, but what we didn’t expect from our night with Catching Fire‘s midnight warriors was a slew of life lessons. See what wisdom the Katniss-loving masses imparted on us.

Don’t Overthink Your Look

Sarah Blum was right on target with her Katniss hunting ensemble. That enviable braid was weaved together in seconds at the booth of a nearby diner. Ladies, spend less time in the mirror and more time kicking butt.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make An Entrance

For the first Hunger Games film, Carol Datura Kane and Jennifer Durcker arrived with a costumed posse of 75 people. While the group couldn’t get together this time, that didn’t stop the pair from donning their Katniss and Peeta opening ceremony costumes and glowing in their own awesomeness.

Love What You Love

All superfans can get some flak, but don’t let another’s opinion diminish your love. Own your obsession. We asked Kayla Jones why she showed up over an hour early for her screening, and she simply said, “This is my moment.”

Be Prepared

Ok, maybe we took this one from the Boy Scouts, but Hunger Games fans know how to show up ready to boldly fight boredom, backaches and bathroom lines. This group arrived two and a half hours early with reading material and an eagerness to meet new District 12 devotees.


Flaunt your passions through the little things. Ashley Bryant wore her Hunger Games heart on her feet. These standout shoes were a “geeky Xmas gift” that Bryant was proud to pair with her flame leggings. A true girl on fire.

Best Friends Make Everything Better

Seeing Catching Fire before the rest of the world is a treasured gift, made even better when shared with a group of friends. Macy Shrum, Brooke Darling and Liz Caggiano started their celebration early, spending hours crafting their shirts for a night of intense arena action.

Different Perspectives Keep Things Exciting

In the battle of Peeta vs. Gale, the baker beau Peeta was easily the victor, trumping Gale 42 to 2 in our fan poll. That doesn’t mean tweens were clawing each other over which boy is best; instead the question led to clustered debates. The results of these civil exchanges? We should all be Team Katniss and Jennifer Lawrence is so wonderful that she should just date herself.

Work With What You Got

This group of girls, who know each other through their church group, wanted to construct a group costume with minimal expense. When the spirited squad realized that several of them had fishnet stockings and an actual fish net, the answer was simple. Go as a group of Finnicks! The friends admitted they thought about pulling a Johanna and showing up nearly naked, but figured their minister wouldn’t be a fan of the idea.

We Can All Be Friends

Finally, if Peeta admirers and Gale oglers can gleefully wait in line side-by-side, and the Capitol’s upper crust can giggle with District 12 citizens, then we should all be able to put aside our differences and get along.

Happy Hunger Games: Catching Fire weekend and may the odds be ever in your favor.