Worst Event Idea Contest Winners!

Elizabeth Bluemle - August 2, 2013

In July 25’s post, we asked you to do your worst – or at least, to come up with the worst event idea based on a book. You delivered! We got chuckles and/or shudders from all of your creative entries. Before we announce the Grand Prize Winner and two runners-up, we want to give honorable mentions to some truly wonderful terrible entries.

Violent Offenders

J. Smith-Borne: “A Life of Pi event – get your photo taken in a row boat, with a live tiger!”

Becky’s “Come help us celebrate the debut novel by Kate Allcott, The Dressmaker. Join us in our very own wave tank as community members fight to get on board lifeboat number 1. Watch the life and death struggle through the clear tank walls as contestants beat each other to death with oars and push one another under the water to conserve the most space in the boat! Excitement for all ages!!

Stacey Graham’s “How To Kill a Mockingbird hunting competition. Those who bag the most of those little suckers win — and get a nasty note from the authorities.”

Lizzy’s “[A] battle for the Iron Throne like in Game of Thrones. Sure, that means probable beheadings, poisonings, and a station will have to be created for battle planning…what person doesn’t want to strategize offensive/defensive war plans while needing people to taste test their food from the snack table? Although, it would be fun to come up with house sigils and mottos…

Linda Marshall’s Swamplandia Alligator Pool Party. Bring the Family.

Heidi Sinnet’s “Calling all twins aged 10 – 20! Drop by and kill your twin*! We’ll be holding a Dualed event at the library, celebrating Elsie Chapman’s debut YA book. We’re officially “activating” you now. Bring your favourite weapons or borrow one of ours. Hide in the stacks, under a table or tuck yourself away in our storage closet for the best assassination point possible! Just think, you’ll never have to share a room again, never be called by another name, and never have your sentences finished by someone else! One is definitely better than two. (*cleanup costs apply)

Miranda Paul’s “A revenge party in honor of Klassen’s I WANT MY HAT BACK and THIS IS NOT MY HAT. Invite siblings, friends, etc. who have ever stolen something or had something stolen and let them work out the justice food-chain style and get their stuff back.”

[ShelfTalker Note: Are we getting the sense that people have been spending a titch too much time with their families this summer?]

Hilariously Gross

Meredith B’s “Inspired by the wonderfully funny picture book, Richard Was a Picker by Carolyn Beck, the library will be hosting a booger-flicking contest. Open to children of all ages – and parents, too – join the competition to see who can flick their booger the furthest! Grand prize will be a copy of the book and a box of Kleenex. Sign up today!

Martha Simpson’s “A contest based on Your New Potty. Hey, toddlers! Show us how you use your new potty chair!
You can bring your own potty, and we will also have an assortment of bowls, saucepans, oversize hats, flower pots, and other containers for you to try out. Prizes will be given for the first to pee, the biggest poop, demonstrating wiping skills, and to the boy with the best aim. Fun for the whole family! Parents – bring your cameras to catch all the action!”

Events You’d Almost Want to See, Just for the Crazy Fallout

Amanda D’s “Harriet the Spy contest: the kid who brings in the best true story about their friends and neighbors wins a prize!”

Bethany B’s “Ramona Roulette! In honor of Ramona Quimby, we invite children to participate in a high-stakes game–with eggs! Some of the eggs are hard boiled and some are not. And the only way to find out which is which is to crack them against your head!”


Lisa Yee’s simple “The Hunger Games.”

A.L. Luring’s “Contest announcement! As of tomorrow all staff members and customers are here-by adamantly requested to wear something, each day, in any shade of grey or gray, for the next 50 days. P-R-I-Z-E-S will be given to those people wearing the best conservative oufit while smiling in the most provocative way. This should make us #1 in the world of books for weeks and weeks and weeks. Don’t forget to sign the rules agreement and the promise of non-disclosure when you complete the contest application. Regardless of the anticipated success of the contest, no rights are yours.”

Events Most Likely to Traumatize the Kiddies

Kelly’s “Parents, have your children been naughty? Teach them to love reading–and behave–with our special Matilda night, complete with a full size replica Chokey! Make reading come alive and give the kids an experience they won’t forget.”

Meredith B’s “Get your jammies on and come to our special Sleepy Storytime! We’ll be reading the classic picture book, Go the F*** to Sleep. Parents will be invited to join in on reading aloud that classic phrase with our storyteller as it appears throughout the book. Our promise: you’ll never have trouble getting your kids to bed again!”

Ill-Advised Events Kids Would TOTALLY Attend

Jennifer Oleinik’s “Celebrating the completion of Michael Grant’s YA series, a “Gone” party! Kids aged newborn to 15-years old only. For a full day of store operations, no adults will be present, and it is up to the partygoers (kids) to run the Fallout Alley Youth Zone (FAYZ). What could possibly go wrong?”

Suzanne Warr’s “Come celebrate H.I.V.E with us by unleashing your inner diabolical genius! We’ll hack into national security sites, take hostage any visiting dignitaries, and give out prizes for the best self-built bombs!”

C. Hernandez’s “The Divergent amusement park survivor event- jump from tall buildings, climb a moving ferris wheel, try to board a roller coaster as it goes by, moving target shooting competition, and of course knife thowing along with a martial arts wrestling match.”

Too Sweet to Win Worst Event

Miranda Paul: “A Wet Cement Graffiti Party – in honor of MICK HARTE WAS HERE by Barbara Park. Invite readers to the nearest construction site and have them write giggle-worthy words in the freshly poured concrete.”

Kathy E: “Books & Paints Storytime & Crafts at the book Store, featuring:
I Ain’t Going to Paint No More! By Karen Beaumont
Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
Purple, Green, and Yellow By Robert Munsch
Craft: Each child will be provided with 5 buckets of paint to re-enact their favorite scenes from each of the books.

Margo Jantzi’s “[My mom’s] funny that way, celebrating special occasions with blue food. I think it’s her way of saying anything is possible. Percy can pass seventh grade. Waffles can be blue. Little miracles like that.”
― Rick Riordan, The Sea of Monsters
How about all the refreshments for the Sea of Monsters movie edition book party featuring all BLUE refreshments.”

Sue Morris: “Join the Summer of Peyo Event and celebrate all things 3 apples high. Wear your favorite blue top and white footed pants. Special contests include the first to explode something in Papa Smurf”s lab. Forget real dolls, steal Gargamel’s Smurfette formula and make your own Smurfette. It will delight your child when your Smurfette speaks, no pull-string needed. Ride atop Puppy throughout the Smurf village, wrestle with the littlest ghosts, try to match wits with Brainy Smurf. See if you have enough grouchiness to be the new Grouchy Smurf. Trade you baby in for a real Smurf Baby or join in on a special Smurf talent show–no instruments larger than 2 apples allowed. End the day’s festivities sleeping under a small mushroom, hay beds are extra, of course.”

Creepy-Cool Events We’d Almost Want to Attend

Helen Platts-Johnson’s: “A Coraline-inspired event which includes:
– How many black beetles can you eat in 60 seconds (pie contest style) – winner receives a brand new set of eye buttons
– The never ending garden maze – where you just keep going round the same bit because the maze was never completed beyond the first 100 yards
Also highlights such as: the small room with no light (based on the cupboard Coraline gets locked in), terrible amateur acting hour and the foggy mirror (based on the mirror at the end of the hall where she sees her parents) would be featured.

Linda Marshall’s: “Charles Dickens Halloween House of Horrors. Convicts leap at you from behind tombstones. Be chased by thieves, cutthroats, pickpockets, and hags in shredded wedding gowns. Be haunted by ghosts, old and new., large and small. Be spooked by hunger and ignorance. For the grand finale, the Best of Times, the Worst of Times Exit. Choose the correct exit and you are out free. Choose the wrong exit and…don’t lose your head.”

Also Linda Marshall’s “Hunger Games ‘The Capitol’ Costume Contest. Come dressed and coiffed as if you lived in The Capitol!”

Most Likely to Get Booksellers Arrested

Kathy E’s “Celebrate the Movie Opening Night of 50 Shades of Grey at the Book Store
Re-enact your favorite scene from the book. Handcuffs will be provided, and a free book given out to each participate. The book store will be decorated with prints of Georgia O’Keefe’s famous flower paintings, while intimate mood music plays in the background.”

Impossible to Arrange but Very Funny

Charlesbridge’s “Charlesbridge published a book called The Great Molasses Flood. But, no.”

Game-Enders for a Bookstore

Trish K’s “Come one, come all and celebrate the great literary masterpiece that is The Book Thief. We’ve stolen pizza from Cucina Antica and some fabulous chocolate mousse cake from Harrington’s for this sure-to-be-popular event. Make sure you bring a big backpack that can be easily.filled with our inventory when management is distracted. Feeling a bit tuckered out after the festivities commence? Hop on over to the Next Door Cafe and help.yourself to some coffee.” (Bonus points to Trish for mentioning Shelburne, VT, hangouts!!)

Linda Young: “Newspaper headline: ‘Local Bookstore Closes After Incredibly Successful Themed Event Based On Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book.'”


Ha! You people are sick, and we appreciate it.

And now for the prize winners! Winners: please contact me to arrange your prizes, via ebluemle @ publishersweekly . com (no spaces).


Runner-Up #1 – because it is a book lover’s and bookseller’s worst nightmare:

Shauna R’s “How about a fireman party, FAHRENHEIT 451 style? Bring your favorite — or least favorite — book!” Jennifer Oleinik adds, “I also like the previously recommended Fahrenheit 451 idea, although to make it truly authentic the firemen party would need to include burning ALL the books in the store. (Special prizes for being able to hide or protect a book from incineration without getting caught!)”

Runner-Up #2 – because it is so simple, clever, and funny:

Linda Mowry’s “Let the Pigeon drive the bus!”

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER (drum roll please!) – because it makes us laugh out loud with its ultimate awfulness every time we read it:

Kelly’s “Come one, come all! Celebrate a beloved classic with our ‘Put Down Old Yeller’ contest! Test your aim and win the game! (Fine Print: Toy rifle, not real. Moving target is cardboard, not actual dog. No (live) animals will be harmed in the course of this event.)”

CONGRATULATIONS, and thanks to everyone for playing along!


2 thoughts on “Worst Event Idea Contest Winners!

  1. mark s.

    I’m too late with “The Very Hungry Kindergartner” contest. Imagine classrooms full of 5-year-olds gorging on apples, sausages, and chocolate cake to see who got the biggest belly ache!

    Terrific contest…


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