Watching a movie is a great way to spend time with your family, friends, and those you love. It makes for a fun date night or bonding session with the kids.
The best part is, you don’t need to leave your doorstep to enjoy a nice movie. You can stay comfy inside, dressed in your pajamas, and have your pick of films thanks to streaming platforms.
But if you feel like movie nights have become too routine and basic, this article will help spice up your experience. We have 11 creative, family-friendly ideas to make movie night something you’ll look forward to all week long.
Benefits of a DIY Family Movie Night
Why skip the movie theater and have movie night at home? The main benefit is the choices.
When you’re home, you get to choose absolutely everything. You can pick the snacks, the movie, where you sit, and even who you watch with. You can even pause the movie if you need to go to the bathroom or head to the kitchen for some ice cream.
Plus, serving your own snacks will make it much easier for anyone with allergies or dietary restrictions. It’s worry-free and casual, but still super fun. A completely customized experience is the best way to watch your favorite movies.
A home movie night is also a much more economical option. The cost of watching a movie at home is significantly less than paying for movie theater tickets. All in all, a DIY movie night at home will save you money, give you lots of options, and be loads of fun.
11 Family Movie Night Ideas to Bring More Fun
Ready for 11 great ideas to make your family movie night even better? Let’s dive right in:
1. Print Movie Tickets
Movie tickets are part of the fun of going out to the movie theater. It’s exciting to get a souvenir to take home and it just adds to the overall experience.
Printing your own movie tickets is a fun way to bring your home movie night to the next level. You can make the tickets by hand or design them on the computer. You can also find a lot of free printable templates.
Hand the home theater tickets out to your family in the morning to build excitement throughout the day. You can even send them as part of a birthday invitation.
This is such an easy and personal way to elevate your home movie night.
2. Set up a Concession Stand
Everyone loves choosing snacks before a movie. There’s something about all the options at a concession stand that makes going to the movies so fun. You get to have snacks you typically wouldn’t have at home.
So for your next home movie night, why not put up your own concession stand? You can use cardboard boxes to make the “stand” and have the kids come to the counter to order.
Stock your stand with your family’s favorites — hot dogs, nachos, candy, and of course, Oh Sooo Buttery popcorn. Think of the drive-in movie snacks you like and add them to your concession stand, too.
3. Use a Projector
One reason why going to the movies is thrilling is the intensity of watching on such a big screen. The oversized movie screen immerses you completely and makes you feel as if you’re part of the story.
Luckily, you can replicate this experience right at home by buying, renting, or borrowing a movie projector and putting it in your living room. This will instantly improve your home movie night and make you feel like you’re in a movie theater.
4. Create Movie Posters
When you walk down the hallway of a movie theater, you pass lots of movie posters advertising current and upcoming movies. You can recreate this setting by making your own movie posters. You can even create a movie theater time board to show the screen time your home movie will be playing.
Look for free printable movie posters online or make your own. This can be a great activity for kids. Have them create their own posters to hang on the wall. This is a sure way to build their excitement and make them feel like they’re part of the special night.
5. Design Your Own Movie Night Snack Bar
Movie theater snacks are always overpriced. Many of us skip the snack bar at the local cinema because of the high prices. However, when you have a home movie night, you can create your own snack bar at a fraction of the cost.
You can choose all of your favorite foods to add to the snack bar, giving you and your family exactly what they want to enjoy during the movie.
You can try a baked potato bar with everything from sour cream to bacon bits. You also can’t go wrong with an ice cream sundae station with tons of toppings for everyone to pile on.
One non-negotiable, though, is freshly popped popcorn. It’s the ultimate movie essential. Now you can always pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave, but if you truly want an experience for all the senses, you’ll want to use the Popsmith Popper. This stovetop popcorn popper makes movie theater popcorn in minutes!
6. Backyard Movie Night
When the weather is nice, try moving your movie night outside. Set up an outdoor movie screen (or just use a big, white sheet) and a projector and you’ll be ready to go!
You can put up some string lights to really set the scene and grab some cozy blankets to stay warm after the sun goes down.
This also gives you the opportunity to enjoy outdoor movie night snacks. Light a fire pit and roast marshmallows for delicious s’mores (which you can also combine with your popcorn).
7. Wear Coordinated Outfits
When you watch a movie in the comfort of your living room, wearing your coziest clothes just makes sense. You can turn your movie night into a family pajama party. The whole family can wear matching PJs and get comfy while watching a fun Disney movie.
You can also dress up and match your outfit to the movie’s theme. If you’re watching Star Wars, for example, a Darth Vader costume would be on point (though you can just wrap a blanket around your body and call yourself a Jedi).
8. Throw a Themed Dinner
Speaking of theme movie nights, why not match your meal to your movie? You can easily do this when you’re having a movie marathon at home. Have a dinner party before the movie starts and make the food match the upcoming movie.
There are an endless number of meals you can prepare based on the movie you choose. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Jurassic Park - Serve dino nuggets with some dirt pudding for dessert.
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding - Make a roasted lamb, a Greek salad, and for dessert, a bundt cake.
- Lilo & Stitch - Pixar movies are often great for themed meals since they take place in specific locations. Lilo and Stitch goes well with Hawaiian food like Kalua Pork or a Hawaiian pizza.
- Harry Potter - Make a huge Christmas feast complete with butterbeer and chocolate frogs. Be sure to eat in your house robes!
- Elf - Make Buddy’s favorite meal — spaghetti with maple syrup.
A great movie and a great meal are the recipes for a perfect family movie night.
9. Have an Intermission
One reason why family movie nights at home are the best is that you’re spending time with your loved ones.
Take a break from the movie halfway through to refill your snacks, go to the bathroom, and also to talk to each other about the movie so far. Is the movie scary? Who do you think is the villain? What do you think will happen next?
Being able to talk during the movie will help you and your family bond. It’s not just about staring at a screen. There’s so much more to family movie nights that makes them special.
10. Marathon Your Favorite Movies
Is there a common franchise your family loves? If so, you need to dedicate an entire day to watching the series. This is perfect for when the weather is rainy or when someone is feeling a little sick.
It’s a great way to introduce your kids to classics like Indiana Jones, Jaws, and Back to the Future. You can also try watching popular movies and their modern remakes to see which version the family likes most.
11. Keep a Movie List
Our last tip for planning the perfect family movie night is to select the movie in advance. Picking a good movie under pressure is never easy. Also, not everyone in the family may agree on what to watch. It can help to keep a running list of family-friendly movies that you can choose from when movie night comes around.
Be sure to include some theme night movies on your list. Add a few Halloween movies for October and some Christmas movies for December. This way, you have a good movie in mind for every season and occasion.
Have the Best Movie Night with the Right Snacks
A family movie night at home is such a great way to spend time with the people you love in a fun, comfortable way. Give some of our movie night tips a try to make your next movie night a blast.
Our favorite way to set the mood for movie night is to pop a lot of popcorn. Since you can make your own, you can customize it to your liking — stick with good old butter or try different flavors and candy-popcorn combinations.
For more inspiration, check out our favorite sweet and savory popcorn seasonings!