Family enjoying a movie on the couch

Curling up on the couch with your family for movie night is a wonderful tradition. Why not kick it up a notch with some special personal touches? Here are five fun movie-night makeover ideas that will make the evening memorable even before the opening credits roll.

An Official Movie Premiere

Things you’ll need:

  • Invitations
  • Theater sign
  • Black fabric
  • Red fabric

Host an official movie premiere in your living room. Design and print formal invitations for each family member and hand them out a day or two in advance of movie night. You can even mail the invitations to the kids as a fun surprise. Include a “dress to impress” code and inspire them to arrive like they are nominees at the real Academy Awards.

movie night invitation

Decorate the living room to resemble a movie theater. Make the entrance pop with a sign, like this personalized 3-D home theater sign, over the living room door.

personalized movie theater sign marquee

Tape a panel of black fabric over the door as the theater entrance and lay out a long strip of red fabric on the carpet leading to the door for your grand entrances. Snap photos of the children as they walk the red carpet.

girl walking down red carpet stairs

Decorate Snack Bags

Things you’ll need:

  • Art supplies
  • Brown or white lunch bags
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate chips

Portion control can be fun when your homemade treats can be served up in a DIY decorative snack bag. Get out the children’s arts and crafts supplies. Set the table with art supplies – crayons, colored pencils, markers, glitter and glitter – along with brown or white lunch-sized bags.

Remind the kids they’ll be eating out of these sacks; they should keep these artistic expressions on the outside of the bags. Fill them with a healthy trail-mix of air-popped popcorn, raisins and a small handful of chocolate chips. Hand these out to each family member before the movie starts.

Decorated snack bags

Set Up a Concession Stand

Things you’ll need:

  • Construction paper
  • Tablecloth
  • Candy
  • Raisins
  • Apple slices
  • Pretzels
  • Carrot sticks
  • Chalkboard
  • Pitcher of ice water
  • Cups

Set up a concession stand and issue every family member with tickets to redeem. Design your own tickets on construction paper with colorful markers. Cover a table with a tablecloth and set out various goodies, such as miniature candy bars, boxes of raisins, portioned bags of popcorn, apple slices, pretzels and little bags of carrot sticks.

Family home concession stand

Write out and display a drinks menu and set out a pitcher of ice water with little cups. Encourage the kids to eat healthier snacks as well as sweet ones by making the tickets good for one sweet snack or two or three healthy snacks. Let them redeem one coupon before the movie starts and pause the movie halfway through for an intermission when they can shop at the concession stand again.

Set Up a Popcorn Bar

Things you’ll need:

  • Popcorn
  • Toppings such as sprinkles, candy, chili powder, marshmallows, etc.

If popcorn is your family’s main concession-stand attraction, make it a special feature of movie night by setting up a popcorn bar. Pop a batch and toss separate portions of it with different toppings to suit everyone’s tastes.

girls with popcorn buckets

Keep it simple with one sweet batch and one salty batch or get creative with popcorn recipes and shakers of seasoning blends. With sprinkles of colored food dye you can make rainbow popcorn. Make spicy popcorn with a mixture of chili powder, sugar and salt or warm popcorn with marshmallows until they melt and roll it into balls.

popcorn bucklet

Make your popcorn inspired by the movie you and your family will be watching. For example, mix in fish-shaped candies when watching an under the sea adventure like Disney’s “Finding Nemo.” To make popcorn flavors feel more festive, consider serving them in a popcorn bucket set.

personalized popcorn bucket set

Take Movie Night Outdoors

Things you’ll need:

  • White sheet
  • Duct tape or clothesline
  • Tiki torches
  • Cushions or seats
  • Blankets

If you own or can borrow or rent a projector, take movie night outside to make the most of a warm evening. Hang a large white sheet from a tree branch, awning or wall using duct tape at the corners — white duct tape is best — or string a clothesline across the lawn and use clothespins to hang the sheet taut. Light some tiki torches and set out cushions and blankets for seating. Grown-ups might prefer real seats.

outdoor movie night

One caveat: Your big screen may only be functional after dark. Combine movie night with a barbecue and show the movie after you’ve eaten. Waiting for the sun to go down adds some anticipation that makes movie night even more fun.

Review Your Movies

Things you’ll need:

  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Gold star stickers
  • Pens or pencils

You laughed. You cried. Now it’s time to hear what your little critics think of the film. Create your own review cards on construction paper or cardstock and encourage kids to rate the movie. Give them gold star stickers to indicate their overall rating on the cards. Then have them write about their favorite characters and share what they liked about the show.

home movie review sheet

You could even urge your kiddos to act out favorite scenes if they’re feeling theatrical. It’s all about continuing the discussion to bond as a family, while you finish munching on those delicious snacks you prepared.

little girl dancing with dad

How does your family make movie night special? Share your best popcorn recipes and fun movie-related activities in the comments below.