With all the big movie releases having streaming debuts, it’s so much fun to put together an At Home Movie Night with snacks, seating, homemade movie tickets, and more.
For more ideas to have fun when you can’t go out, check out the rest of our staycation series.
Movie theaters feel like a thing of the past and big theatrical releases are happening on streaming services.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a big to do about the latest blockbuster movie. You just have to have a movie night at home. Which is better, honestly, because then you’re not missing anything when you go to the bathroom. Just pause it.
Michelle recently threw an at home movie night just like this for a big streaming release. Did she use our post to help her? No. But did we use her photos of the event to help our post? You betcha.
If you’re planning a DIY movie night at home because you’re planning a staycation, check out all of our Tips For Planning The Perfect Staycation.
How To Have An At Home Movie Night
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Set up movie seats
If you’re having a movie night, you want to make it special. You don’t just want to make it feel like you’re watching a movie in the living room.
So, instead of sitting where you usually sit, turn it into something special.
If you have Nugget play couches, you know how the modular pieces can be configured into completely different designs. So set those out with blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, anything that will make the set up really special for your family.
If you don’t have something like that, but you want something where you can lounge, set up beach chairs. Those are great for movie night too because they have a cup holder, just like theater chairs. And, your kids never see beach chairs in the living room, so that’s really fun.
If you prefer really comfy seating, bean bag chairs are the way to go. We had some when we were growing up, and we absolutely loved when we were allowed to bring them out from the corner of the living room to sit on them and watch movies.
Having fun seats just makes the night even better.
Get movie snacks
Pete loves when I make popcorn. I make it on the stove top, not in the microwave, and it’s delicious. I add salt and butter to it too. Maybe not as much as movie theater popcorn, but it’s pretty close.
If you don’t want to pop your own popcorn, that’s fine. You can just pick up a bag of buttered popcorn. If you stick it in the microwave (in a bowl, not in the bag!) for 10 seconds, it actually comes out like movie popcorn.
Serve your popcorn in plastic movie theater popcorn boxes. You can use paper boxes as well, but the plastic ones are reusable. And if you have the boxes, you might have an at home movie night again.
The dollar store sells boxed theater candy, so if you know you’re having a movie night, you can pick up some of those to snack on. Plus, they’re so much cheaper at the dollar store than at the movie theater.
And if you want to really make the movie night special, let your kids have a special treat either before or after the movie. If you’re showing Lightyear (which just came out this week, by the way), bake sugar cookies and let them cool. Then, give your kids blue icing and space sprinkles and let them decorate the treat themselves.
With a little planning, you can do this with lots of movies. For Jurassic Park, bake sugar cookies and use a dinosaur cookie cutter to cut them out. For Minions, get yellow icing, candy eyes, and blue sprinkles.
Project your movie
We set up our garage to be a home theater. The main wall is completely bare because we use that as our screen. Across from it is a table that houses our home projector. There’s also room on that table for our laptops. So we hook our laptop into the projector, then project the movie onto the wall.
The movie is so big that it almost feels like you’re in a movie theater.
Side note about the garage. In the winter, ours gets cold. So when we are planning a movie night in there, Pete will turn on our space heater to heat the garage before we go in. We have an oscillating tower heater in the garage that’s fantastic. In the summer, the garage gets hot, so we actually have an oscillating tower fan to run during movie nights in the heat.
If you don’t have a projector, you can just show the movie on your television screen. Do what works best for you.
At Home Movie Night Crafts
What’s really fun is if you turn your home into a theater. It makes you feel like you’re not just watching a movie at home in a different room.
Homemade Movie Tickets
You can’t get into the movies without a ticket, and your movie night at home shouldn’t be without tickets either. This is especially fun if you have younger kids, but you can just be extra and do it as an adult as well.
Cut a rectangle out of card stock. Affix some stickers that have to do with the movie on the top. Then, write “Admit One” with the date and time of the movie on it. It’s fun if you pick a theater number too, just like a regular ticket.
Be sure to hand these out to your family members, then collect them to allow them to access whatever space you’re using as your movie theater.
DIY Movie Theater Concession Stand
Set up a table and drape it with a black tablecloth. Arrange your movie snacks and drinks on the table.
Write the prices of the snacks (not the actual prices, but the inflated movie theater prices) on a piece of paper. If you have kids, give them fake money that they can spend at the concession stand. This is a great way to teach them about money, change, and the value of their dollars.
Don’t forget that concession stands also serve actual food. So, if you want, you can set up the table and have dinner there first. Just make sure to have really fun dinner foods that you don’t usually have and ones that you might find in a movie theater. When Michelle did this with her kids recently, she served them hot dogs, smiley face French fries, and blue Gatorade before heading into the “movie theater” with their movie snacks (cotton candy, Oreos, lollipops, and popcorn).
If you don’t want to make the whole set up, you can actually purchase this Concession Stand Banner online. It’s really nice and you can save it for your future movie nights.
DIY Movie Marquee
Do you have a letter board? Letter boards was so popular a couple years ago, and I swear I’m the only person who didn’t buy one. If you have one, turn it into a DIY Movie Marquee. Spell out the name of the movie you’re going to watch and the showings times.
If you’re like me and you don’t have a marquee, just grab a piece of poster board and some letters to spell out “Now Playing” on the top. Then, grab some colored card stock and use that to write the name of the movie, the time, and the theater on it. Affix those to the bottom of the poster board.
If you stick those to the poster board with a tiny bit of tape, you can reuse the “Now Playing” sign next time you have a movie night at home.
Or, if you want, you can purchase the Movie Night Chalkboard Kit pictured above. It comes with the sign, a stand, and chalk markers to write on the movie marquee with.
More Staycation Ideas:
We have a few other staycation ideas to help you make the most of your vacation at home:
- How To Camp At Home
- How To Have Paint Night At Home
- How To Have An At Home Picnic
- How To Have An At Home Spa Day
- How To Be A Tourist In Your Own City
What other tips for an at home movie night do you have? Be sure to let us know in the comments.