The key to a successful family outing is preparation. When going to a drive-in movie theater, there are some items you may want to bring along. The exact items to carry with you depend largely on your family’s needs and preferences, but a good place to start is with a spacious bag. There are women’s weekender bags and travel bags that can accommodate plenty of items for your night at the drive-in.
When choosing a bag to pack for the theater, look for a roomy one that has compartments. You don’t need a suitcase; a zippered bag or an open tote should be adequate. Even a backpack works when packing items for the drive-in. Here are some ideas for packing your movie-night essentials:
To ensure you and your family stay comfortable, bring a few cushions or pillows to sit or lie on. Even if you stay in your vehicle for the movie, you can increase the comfort level with some extra padding beneath you. Kids can use pillows if they want to lie down during the movie; you can even create a makeshift bed on the back set with a personalized pillow and throw blanket.
Pillows filled with goose down have a lofty, luxurious feel and come in various sizes. If you or your family are sensitive to feathers, opt for down-alternative pillows filled with memory foam or another premium material. There are pillow covers in multiple colors and prints; as mentioned, some can be monogrammed with a name or initials for a custom touch.
It’s a good idea to bring throw blankets to the drive-in theater, especially on cool nights. You may even want a blanket to stay warm in an air-conditioned vehicle. There are throw blankets for kids and adults; they come in different sizes and lots of colors. Choose from materials such as sherpa and chenille—there are also lightweight cotton blankets ideal for summer. Faux fur blankets are another option, or you can opt for a super-soft, luxurious cashmere throw.
Carrying a packable jacket for yourself and/or the kids is also wise. These jackets fold up into a small square, so you can carry them in your travel bag or in a canvas tote bag. If the forecast is calling for rain, you might also want to bring a rain jacket and/or duck boots. An umbrella is another important item that you can leave in the trunk of your car so that it’s there when you need it.
If you have an infant or toddler, consider bringing a change of clothes to the drive-in movie theater. Although you may not need it, it’s good to have a spare outfit in case of a spill or diaper leak. Choose an outfit that’s comfortable and easy to put on. You could pack a pair of leggings for girls with a tunic top. Girls' polos are also a comfortable choice—look for light, breathable fabrics with a stain-resistant finish.
Another outfit idea is one of your child’s favorite graphic T-shirts with girls' or boys' pull-on jeans. If it’s too hot for jeans, you can bring a pair of elastic-waist shorts. Make sure to bring an outfit that your child likes to wear. You might even want to pack kids’ pajamas—especially if you’re seeing a double feature or plan to be out late.
Pack lunch boxes for each family member so that everyone has snacks they like. Finger foods are a good choice, simply because you won’t have to worry about packing utensils. Fruit and vegetables with a sweet or savory dip are always a good snack choice, whether you prefer grapes, berries, carrots, celery, or some other type of produce.
Popcorn is a traditional movie theater snack; pop your own at home and bring it with you in a zippered food storage bag. Toss in some chocolate chips or candies to add the element of sweetness. Other snack alternatives include pretzels and chips. Provide everyone with an insulated water bottle filled with their favorite beverage; the insulation will keep the drink cold throughout the entire movie.
These are just ideas for what to bring to the drive-in; create your own portable kit for movie night based on your needs and preferences. Fill your women’s overnight bag or another type of travel bag with items to make the evening more convenient and comfortable; you might also want to stock your purse or handbag with cards, cash, your identification, and anything else you might need for the evening.