'Hunger Games' Summer Camp Toned Down Because Teens Wanted To Fight To The Death

Children at a summer camp based on the hugely popular books and movie 'The Hunger Games' got so carried away with the theme that they talked about doing serious harm to each other.

Organisers got wind of the away-from-home teenagers talking about dying in sword fights or being shot with arrows and became so concerned they had a re-think about the event.

In the books, written by Suzanne Collins, the teen heroine – played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie – has to fight other teens to the death in a warped type of Olympic Games in post-apocalyptic America.

The books are so popular that Country Day School in Largo, Florida, decided to host a Hunger Games-themed week-long summer camp and quickly filled all 26 slots.

But organisers admitted they were surprised by the expectations of the children attending the event.

The Tampa Bay Times interviewed participants who spoke of relishing competing in a real-life Hunger Games tournament with a fight to the 'death'.

"If I have to die, I want to die by an arrow,' one participant, Joey Royals, told the newspaper. "Don't kill me with a sword. I'd rather be shot."

Susan Toler, a clinical psychologist specialising in children's issues, said: "When children read the books or watch the movie they're observers and removed from the killing.

"But when they start thinking and owning and adopting and assuming the roles, it becomes closer to them."

Camp organisers initially believed they could cut out the violence by having the kids pull flag belts from each others waists rather than hurting each other.

But they admitted that once the event was underway they grew concerned about the violence that the kids were expressing.

Half-way through the week-long event the organisers decided they needed to change and focus more on team-building activities.

Instead of 'killing' each other by taking flags, the campers would instead 'collect lives.' Whoever had the most flags would win.

When head counsellor Lindsey Gillette told the campers about the rule change she explained it was so that no one would get out early and have to sit on the sidelines.

In the end the event proved a success and great fun for the kids who took part in four different events to test their intellect, accuracy, balance and teamwork.

The Hunger Games trilogy of books has sold more than 36 million copies in the U.S. alone. The first movie grossed nearly $700 million worldwide. The next movie 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' is out later this year.