Looking to have a lowkey evening with the whole family? Have yourself a movie night—right at home. It's the budget-friendly and most comfortable option. You won't have to wait in lines, and you can make as much popcorn as your heart and stomach desire (with the added bonus that you won't feel like your money is falling out of your pocket.)
First, round up the kids and the snacks, select a family-friendly movie, put on your matching family pajamas, and get cozy. Let's get DIY movie night all ready to go:
When we're contemplating a movie night, we might just put all the pressure on the movie itself. But you can make the hours leading up to it just as fun. Play some trivia or charades to see who knows the most about movies and TV.
For trivia, you can look up movie-themed questions online or make up your own. Here are a few examples:
Who says that matching family pajamas are destined for that one photo around Christmas time? That's definitely not the case. Besides what's more unifying than watching the best movie of the year with everyone matching? Great minds think alike, and on nights like this, and look alike too.
Family movie night PJs come in many styles. There are Christmas pajamas in festive colors and prints for the holiday season, along with pajamas in other colors that can be worn all year. Look for cotton flannel PJs for winter and a lighter weave like cotton poplin for spring and summer. Movie night PJs don’t even have to match—each family member can dress in the loungewear they like best, whether that’s comfy sweats or flannel pants and a tee.
You know your kids better than anybody else. Choosing a movie before the movie night will quell any arguments between the kids. We've all witnessed first-hand what terrible injustice there is in the world when it comes down to an older sibling choosing the movie that the younger sibling does not want to watch. Diffuse the situation before it happens! Tell everybody "Hey, we're all meeting up on Saturday at 8 pm in the family room. We're watching _." Any legal disputes can be settled in a family meeting leading up to movie night. Or, let everyone cast a vote. Create makeshift ballots with three to five movie choices, then have each family member mark their favorite. The movie with the most votes wins…if there’s a tie, flip a coin to settle things fairly.
We don't remember our parents being on their phones the whole duration of the movie. Simpler times, sure. But we can instill that same discipline now. Make a no phone rule! The best part about no phones during a movie is the same as being in a dark movie theater. There's nothing more annoying than seeing a bright glow of somebody trying to get in touch with the outside world when everybody else is trying to escape it for just a moment. If people have questions about what actor that is, or who wrote this movie, or who was the auteur behind the lighting…well, that can always wait. Write it down on a notepad, and when you guys wrap up the movie, you can look it up. You can also add those questions to the next movie trivia night to make things educational and fun.
What's a movie without popcorn and butter? Break out that popcorn popper, make it old-school on the stove, or get your favorite microwave popcorn. There are all kinds of popcorn seasonings that you can shake onto the popped kernels, ranging from classic butter flavor to nacho cheese and kettle corn. You can even throw in a couple of interesting snacks that you know the kids would never eat at the movie theater. Ants on a log can become the new default movie snack. Or caramel and apples. It's a ripe time to create a little snack tradition. Put a new twist on a classic favorite—instead of nachos with the typical Mexican toppings, try melted mozzarella cheese and pepperoni on tortilla chips for pizza-inspired flavor.
While the couch and chairs are perfectly acceptable, who doesn't love a big floor area that's filled with comforters and throw pillows? Give your kids personalized pillows and cozy blankets to cuddle up with while they enjoy the film. Even the adults can enjoy a cuddly faux fur blanket. Be careful, though, since you're already suited up in matching pajamas, this might lead to some early sleepers.
That's right. You're in charge of your own life, and that means you can bring intermission back too. Your teenagers can text all their friends for ten straight minutes. There will be a line to the bathroom just like it's a real movie theater. This is also a perfect time to break out the ice cream for the final act of the movie. Packaged ice cream bars are a frozen treat that’s virtually effortless—just open the box and hand them out. If you’re in the mood for traditional cones, let the ice cream sit out for a few minutes before serving and break out the old-fashioned ice cream scoop.
At the end of the night, take suggestions for the next movie. Maybe next time, you can get a projector and sit outside on your outdoor furniture (if it's not too chilly) and then you can have a matching neighborhood pajama party. Men’s, women’s, and kids' fleece jackets are good for cool outdoor movie nights and don’t forget ambient lighting like outdoor string lights.
These are just some of the family movie night ideas to consider. With a little creativity and planning, you can make family movie night a new tradition that everyone looks forward to.