How to Have the Best Family Movie Night at Home

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family movie nightI love movie nights! It has been a tradition in our household to do Saturday night movies for a long time (except on those rare date nights, which let’s be honest, are non-existent. Thanks, COVID!). How can you have the best family movie night ever? Bring the theater to your home! It can be so simple!

Go all out. Make tickets, hand out fake money (I usually take from a certain board game in our house), make a concession stand. Bring the feel of the movies to your home. Here is what I do to have an epic movie night at our house.

First, decide on the theme (listed below) and tell the family ahead of time so they can get their movie options decided. If there is a specific movie that has just been released and we are all wanting to watch it, I will tell the family as well. Then I get my creative juices flowing.

With any theme or any movie, you can build the concessions around it. For example: if the theme is Star Wars, make lightsaber pretzel rods; for Elf, make some Elf party mix or have everything Buddy lists as the “four major elf food groups.” Get creative! For a love-themed movie, all the food items are red or pink. Or for a sports movie, make stadium snacks, or make treats the shape of a ball. Don’t forget the popcorn and your favorite movie theater candy! Most places around town sell the movie theater candy boxes for around $1. And you won’t even have sneak them in!

Once everything is ready and the family has their movies picked out, now what? You hand out the “admit one” tickets and the fake money and let them into the “theater.” I have prices listed for tickets and concessions so a little bit of math is in there too! I usually have everyone grab their snacks and drinks before we pick the movie.

Picking a movie can be tricky as inevitably everyone wants to watch something different. To make it fair in our household, we each write down two movies that we would like to watch (and are available on our streaming service) and put them into a bowl. I reach into the lucky bowl and pull out the movie. The suspense always gets us!

You can even incorporate a game into the movie. Here are some games we have done: In The Princess Bride we took a guess on how many times they say “as you wish” and see who is closest at the end. In Disney movies, there are hidden “easter eggs” (Mickey ears, characters from other movies) so we try to find them while we watch the movie. It also helps keep everyone engaged.

One of my favorite things about movie night at home is….we are at home! You can laugh as loud as you want, yell at the character to not to run up the stairs, or cry when the favorite character dies. We can hit ‘pause’ to get more concessions, or for a bathroom break at any point.

Here are some fun themes for younger kids:

  • Star Wars: There are nine from the Skywalker Series and more from backstories
  • Marvel Avengers Series: If you are passionate, you could do the whole series (I think there are 23 movies…)
  • Harry Potter: Play a round of Bernie’s Jelly beans before you start!
  • Car Themed: Cars, Herbie the Love Bug, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • Musicals: The options are endless! Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, Annie, The King and I, Oliver, Newsies…I could go on
  • 80’s Themed: Back to the Future, The Princess Bride, The Land Before Time, War Games (my husband and I watch this every time we go on vacation)
  • Sports movies: Space Jam, Mighty Ducks, Little Giants, The Sandlot, AirBud, Little Big League

Older Kids/ Adult date night movie Ideas:

  • Modern adaptations of classical books: 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew), Little Women, Les Miserables, The Great Gatsby, Clueless (Emma)
  • Scary Movies: Halloween, Bettlejuice, Poltergeist, Scream
  • Sappy Love Stories: Love Actually, The Notebook, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Sixteen Candles
  • Pick an Actor/Actress: This can be SUPER fun. My husband and I have picked Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez, Will Farrell, Nicholas Cage. The options are endless, and can be surprising based on what is on the streaming service.
  • Sci-Fi: Dune, Contact, Ready Player One, All the Star Wars and Star Treks, The Matrix
  • Horrible Movies: This can also be hilarious. My husband and I purposely look for the movie with the worst rating and then watch it. We have even watched a movie about a murderous tire. True story.

So, snuggle up, grab some concessions, pick a movie, and ENJOY THE SHOW 🙂

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Natalie Wilson
Natalie grew up in Rosemount, MN and moved to Rochester 6 years ago to work as a nurse. She has been married to her amazing husband, Jason, for 12 years and a mom to a vivacious, spunky and strong-willed daughter Gwen (4). Natalie is a postpartum depression survivor and a strong advocate for family mental health. Natalie currently works as a nurse in surgery at Mayo Clinic. She enjoys being a big nerd and embracing her quirky side. When she is not chasing Gwen around, beating Jason in cribbage, or belting out Disney songs, she can be found with a glorious hot cup of coffee or a glass of Salem Glen Moondance and reading a good book. She loves to hike, travel, read, be outside and dance like no one is watching. Her favorite season is fall because it is a reminder that change can be beautiful.

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