Family Movie Night at Home? Here’s How to Make It Amazing!

You can always watch a movie together as a family, but there’s something really fun that happens when you choose to have a special family movie night at home!

Are you ever surprised by how little things can make your kids feel so excited?

It’s amazing how the smallest detail can transform something ordinary (like watching a movie) into something really special.

That’s why we love the idea of a family movie night at home! There are so many simple ways to create a fun and lasting memory for your kids, all centered on a very ordinary activity.

That’s what we’re all about here at Jen Bradley|MOMs: helping you find easy ways to have fun with your kids and enjoy being a mom!

Keep reading to check out our best tips and ideas for creating a special movie night for your entire family.

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Benefits of a family movie night at home

There are so many reasons to enjoy movie night at home with your kids! Here are just a few we came up with:

Cost

Taking a family to the theater these days is no joke! In 2020, the average price for a movie theater ticket was $9.37 – that’s a 65% increase in price since the year 2000!

When you add tickets that include 3D effects, movie theater popcorn, candy, and drinks, the cost definitely goes up fast!

If you choose to rent or buy a new movie to stream at home, it’s highly likely you’ll be spending less than the cost of three tickets to the theater. And supplying your own fun snacks, popcorn, and drinks will save you more too!

Coziness

Many theaters have invested in more comfortable seating, like heated recliners and moveable armrests.

But even still, nothing beats curling up in your pajamas with your kids on the couch, with your favorite fluffy blankets and pillows scattered all around.

Choose time of movie

If you have little kids, you know that sometimes the showtimes that movie theaters offer aren’t super convenient.

When you have your own family movie night at home, you can cater the time to work best for your kids’ bedtimes too!

No previews

Have you ever taken your kids to see a family-friendly movie at the theater and felt appalled by the previews that were shown prior to the film?

Yes, so have we!

This is yet another reason why we love family movie night: we stay in charge of what media our kids consume before the movie too!

movie night for kids

Less exposure

In today’s post-pandemic climate, it’s common to still feel a bit strange about crowded places. While some theaters still promote social distancing, many parents are still more aware of how quickly germs spread from person to person.

Just one more reason to snuggle in for movie night at home as a family!

Two words: Pause button

One of the great things about a movie night at home is that you can totally tailor your movie-watching experience to the needs of your family.

If your four-year-old needs to go to the bathroom, simply pause the movie until they’re ready to resume!

No more missing the most important part of the film during trips to the bathroom or concession stand.

Tips for your family movie night

Okay, so you’ve decided to have a special family movie night at home, not just watch a movie together.

Here are some fabulous tips to make this special night a big success:

1. Choose the movie in advance

This tip is number one because it’s super important!

When you decide to have a family movie night, be absolutely sure to choose the movie in advance!

It’s generally not a lot of fun to scroll through movie after movie, trying to decide on a movie that everyone feels like watching at that specific moment.

That’s why it’s so essential that you pick the movie before everyone heads into the living room.

Also, when you choose the movie early, you have more opportunities to theme the entire event, from the meal you eat before to the snacks you provide, or the clothes you choose to wear (more on these soon!).

2. Schedule your family movie date and time

To make your movie night a success, make sure everyone in the family is aware of the date and time.

Of course, weekend evenings are usually the most convenient, but choose a date and time that works for you.

You can use the printable Movie Night Invitations from our Free Printable Library to make this super easy!

movie night invitations

3. Use a projector

To really get that movie theater feel in your home, you may consider using a projector to stream your movie!

There are lots of expensive projectors out there to choose from, but we’ve really enjoyed this one from Amazon that comes with an included screen and was much less expensive!

movie projector

For some reason, there is nothing like being able to turn around and see the beams of light moving across the room that can make your home feel like a real theater!

4. Provide movie snacks

Movie snacks are pretty much a given, right?

Whether you choose to go with the traditional popcorn, candy, and soda or want to branch out to healthier snacks or themed snacks is totally up to you!

For more great ideas about each of these tips, keep on reading!

Free movie night at home printables

To make your family movie night at home extra special, we’ve got some great Movie Night Printables in the Jen Bradley|MOMs Free Printable Library!

You’ll get a printable flyer, movie tickets, invitations, and the perfect movie theater popcorn container labels too! Click right here or on the image below to get access!

movie night at home printables

For best results with these printables, we highly recommend printing them on white cardstock in full-color print mode.

Ideas for creating an amazing family movie night at home

To make an at-home movie night extra special for your kids, check out these great ideas:

Pass out invitations

Even though your movie night will be at home, why not give out invitations to your family members to help them really feel excited about it?

Plus, this will let everyone know the date and time of your movie night so they can plan for it.

You could put these invitations on your kids’ pillows, in their school backpacks or lunchboxes, or on the table before breakfast or dinner.

Set up the space

To make your home feel as theater-like as possible, think about what you could do to set up the space.

Print out our “Now Showing” sign and tape it to the door frame of your living room.

Maybe that means you set up rows of camp chairs in the living room. You could also use masking tape on the floor to mark out some “aisles” where your kids can walk in your theater.

Consider setting up a ticket booth and a concession stand on folding tables in the corners of or just outside the living room.

Or if you want to go for maximum comfort, pull in tons of extra pillows and blankets and appreciate the fact that having family movie night means you get to snuggle together!

cozy movie night

Additionally, you might consider mixing things up and having an outdoor movie night too! (We’ve got tips for outdoor movies at home a little later!)

Create theater “tickets”

Your kids will get a kick out of “buying” their own movie tickets as they enter the kitchen or living room area.

All you need to do is give them a handful of play paper money from a board game, and tell them the price of admission.

Your kids then need to pay the ticket attendant (typically you or your partner) and will be given a ticket instead.

(Don’t forget: we’ve got some really cute “Admit One” tickets for free in the Movie Theater at Home Printables download!)

movie tickets

Name tags for theater “employees” 

Speaking of ticket attendants, your kids will love it if you and your partner act as if you are movie theater employees.

You can both dress similarly (black shirt, khaki bottoms, anyone?), and wear a little nametag that says “Ticket attendant,” “Usher,” or “Concessions.” Of course, your kids might get a kick out of seeing you quickly switch from one role to the next.

Make a special meal

Before you begin your movie night, you could make a special meal that is themed to go with the movie you’ll be watching.

Here’s a quick list of some fun movie night meals and movies they could represent:

  • Spaghetti and meatballs – Lady and the Tramp, Tangled, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  • Pizza – Toy Story, Enchanted, Wall-E, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Roast turkey or chicken feast – Beauty and the Beast, Brave, Harry Potter movies
  • Waffles – Elf, Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Pancakes – Short Circuit
  • Pulled pork and pineapple – Moana, Lilo and Stitch, Cool Runnings
  • Mexican food – Coco, Encanto
  • Lasagna – Garfield
  • Gumbo – Princess and the Frog, Forrest Gump (for teenagers and up!)
  • Asian food – Mulan
  • Indian curry – Aladdin
  • Cereal – Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Salmon, tuna, or other seafood – The Little Mermaid, Dolphin Tale, Flipper, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory
  • Jerk chicken – Pirates of the Carribbean
  • Mummy dogs – Monsters, Inc., Ghostbusters

Themed pajamas or costumes

If you really want to go all out, you could gift your kids some cute pajamas that match your movie night theme.

Or, to keep costs down and let your kids use their imaginations, encourage them to come up with their own costumes to match the movie you’ll be watching! (Just make sure they can see the movie and sit down comfortably in their costumes!)

Set up a concession stand

Setting up a concession stand for your at-home movie theater is really simple! All you need are a folding table, snacks, and some drinks.

To make your concession stand feel extra special, we highly recommend some red and white striped open-top popcorn boxes like these or some grease-proof retro popcorn bags like these.

concession stand

You can find the full-size movie theater candy boxes on Amazon really easily too! We like this 24-pack of candy that includes movie theater favorites like Swedish Fish, Mike & Ikes, and Twizzlers.

For drinks, make sure everything has a lid to prevent spills!

Make a “theater announcement” before the movie begins

If your kids love when you get a little goofy and theatrical, you may consider making a typical movie theater announcement before the movie begins.

Hearing them giggle about silencing their mobile phones and making note of the exits will be a sweet memory for you too!

Intermission

You may want to pause the movie halfway through and have an intermission.

This will give you a chance to reopen your concession stand or give your kids an opportunity to take a potty break too.

Double feature

If you’re really up for something special, consider having a special double feature!

Whether you watch an original movie and its sequel, or two holiday-themed movies back to back, or two totally unrelated movies is completely up to you!

Related post: Yes Day Challenge for Kids – The Pros and Cons

Tips for an outside family movie night

If you choose to have your family movie night outside, here are some important tips to remember!

1. Bug spray!

You’ll probably need to have a lot of bug spray on hand to keep mosquitoes and other pests away during the show.

Additionally, think about setting up citronella candles around the perimeter of the movie-viewing area.

2. Think about environmental noises

Before you decide to host an outdoor movie night, think about the outdoor noises that surround your backyard.

Do you get a lot of car noise? Or have really active birds? If so, you’ll need to be sure that your family will be able to hear the audio soundtrack of the movie above those noises.

3. Accomodate for weather

Depending on the weather, you may need to consider what you can do to keep your family comfortable.

If it’s really hot, bring out some extra fans to help everyone stay cool. (Or if you have a pool, have them jump in and relax on a pool float!)

If the weather is chilly, bring out extra blankets, heaters, and bundle up or light a fire!

4. Set movie time for 20 minutes after sunset

For an outdoor movie, it’s really important that you start the movie AFTER sunset.

You can always have the concession stand open and let everyone get their snacks while it’s still dusk, but don’t plan on starting the movie until at least 20-30 minutes after sunset.

5. Use a projector

A simple movie projector and screen is the easiest way to set up your outdoor movie.

As mentioned before, we’ve really enjoyed this movie projector from Amazon that comes with an included screen!

Final thoughts about family movie nights

As with everything we recommend here at Jen Bradley|MOMs, we encourage you to keep your family movie night simple!

Don’t feel that you have to try ALL of the ideas here at once!

Instead, just choose a few that stand out to you and that you think your kids would really enjoy.

There’s no need at all for Pinterest-perfection! Remember, the entire idea of a family movie night at home is to help you have a memorable time relaxing with your kids in the first place!

Related articles about family fun:

The Ultimate Winter Bucket List for Kids

5 Fun Winter Scavenger Hunts for Kids

50 Awesome Boredom Busters You Need in Your Back Pocket

101 Amazing Harry Potter Would You Rather Questions for Kids

The Step-by-Step Guide to Having an Unforgettable Screen-Free Week

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How do you make family movie nights at home special? 

Family Movie Night at Home? Here\'s How to Make It Amazing!Family Movie Night at Home? Here\'s How to Make It Amazing!Family Movie Night at Home? Here\'s How to Make It Amazing!Family Movie Night at Home? Here\'s How to Make It Amazing!

Jen Bradley, the founder of Jen Bradley|MOMs

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom who believes that meaningful connections with our kids can happen in small and simple ways. Read More …

 

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