When you’re looking for a way to get your friends or family together for an evening, a movie night at home is fun and affordable. Instead of spending a small fortune on tickets and concessions at your local theater, you can save money and be comfortable while watching your favorite movies together at home.
When you are the host, there are several things you can do to make your home comfortable and the night perfectly memorable. Before the guests arrive, be sure to check the lighting and sound so you know the room is ideal. If there is too much light from windows or the sound isn’t to your standard, pick a different room and move your furniture and electronics there for the night. Don’t forget that you can also show a movie outside with an inflatable movie screen and portable projector.
An indoor movie needs to be shown on a big screen TV and the movie should be worthy of everyone’s time. Hopefully, you have the biggest TV of your friends and family, so they all want to come to your home to catch the latest flicks. If you do not have surround sound, it might be worth your time to invest in speakers before the event.
Know your guests
When you invite your friends and family over, consider what they like to watch. If you know that everyone loves romantic comedies, then your night will be easy to plan. But, if everyone has different likes and dislikes, then picking the movie might be more challenging.
You also have to consider food preferences for your guests. If you have guests with food allergies or sensitivities, it is important that your food selections for the night meet their needs. For example, if you have friends who are vegan or who have dairy allergies, then you probably don’t want to have real butter on your popcorn.
You can make the event truly fun by sending out invitations to your guests. Include all of the necessities, so if you want people to bring their favorite pillows or bean bag chairs, let them know.
Pick a movie your guests will like
This might be the most challenging part of the night. Picking a movie that everyone will like can be tough. When you start the decision-making process, consider how you can use a theme to create your movie night. Is there a food that fits with the movie? Can you decorate according to the movie? Are there thematic games you can play?
Don’t forget the ages of your guests. If your guests are bringing children, a rated-R movie might not be the best choice. You will also have to consider what movies you have access to and whether or not the movie is available in a format that will work on your TV. Can you rent it or stream it? Or, do you already own it?
Consider choosing classic movies that many of your guests have never seen. You can also consider what emotions you want your guests to experience. Are you looking for a night of laughter from comedies? Or, are you looking for sighs of relief from the catharsis of a horror or suspense movie? Or do you want people to feel nostalgic after watching a movie from their younger years? The opportunities are endless and picking the movie can be the most challenging part of the whole night.
Create an online poll
People like to be involved, so when you plan a movie night, let your guests have a say in the movie you will show. Use an online poll app to let your guests vote for the movie. Choose three or four movies that you really want to show and let them decide. Your guests will appreciate that you included them in the decision-making process.
You could also set up a poll about food and games, too. Online polls make it easy to get everyone involved in the action. You could even ask if they want to watch the movie indoors or outdoors – weather permitting, of course.
Set up your room with comfortable chairs
This is often an afterthought but is actually rather important as your guests will want to sit throughout the movie. You might have to move furniture or borrow furniture from friends. Check out some of the creative chair ideas for your home so everyone can be comfortable. You will want to have enough seating for everyone. Some guests might want to cuddle up with throw pillows and blankets, too. Recliners or bean bag chairs are often the best choices as people can get comfortable in their favorite positions.
When you set up the room, don’t forget a few important details. Consider the view of every seat, so that no one is sitting directly in front of someone else. And, think about the best place for surround sound so everyone can have an outstanding experience through the night.
Rent a popcorn maker
Popcorn is a must-have for any movie night at home. But, microwave popcorn just won’t cut it. Instead, make the night memorable by renting a real popcorn maker. These usually come on carts or they can be set up on a countertop. Party supply shops sell popcorn buckets so your guests can load up and feel like they are really at the movies. Use the best oil and get a bunch of toppings so your guests can fully customize their buckets.
If are serving popcorn, make some ahead of time so your home smells like a movie theater. And, if you want to keep your home neat and tidy, move the theater to a part of the house where spills will not create major problems. Some hosts ask their guests to keep all food in the kitchen and dining area and only allow popcorn in the viewing room.
Figure out something fun to do with phones
You don’t want your guests on their phones throughout the movie. This special night is about being together and phones can be an unwanted distraction. Movie theaters have clever videos about silencing phones. You can do the same thing by making a video about not using phones. Or, take it a step further and create a place to put phones for the night. Put phones in lock-up and have a superhero guard them, or have your friends make a phone coffin out of a shoebox. If you can make it fun, friends will be more accepting of the idea and they will be fully available to be engaged with the people at the event rather than distracted by their phones, social media, and constant notifications.
Decorate with a movie theme
Even though the lights will be out for most of the night, you should still take time to decorate your home with a movie theme. You could base the theme on movies in general, or you could create a theme based on the movie you choose. For example, if you show a sci-fi movie, decorate with space ships, planets, and twinkle lights. Most party supply shops sell thematic decorations like plates, cups, and wall decor.
If your guests know what movie you are showing, they could even dress up as their favorite characters. Imagine how much fun it would be to watch a movie with a room full of Avengers, Harry Potter, or Princess Bride characters! You could even create a theme around Oscar night or specific award categories and not just about a specific movie.
Arrange an intermission
Because this is a night with friends, you will want time to spend with them. The best way to do this is to set up an intermission. Let them know in advance that there will be an intermission, so they can plan bathroom breaks.
You can have fun setting up the schedule for the night on a marquee board. Include the times and plans for the night.
Set up pre-movie and intermission activities
Movie night doesn’t just have to be about movies. It can involve other activities like games and conversation. Why not plan some fun events before the movie, during intermission, and after the movie. If you do decide to plan games, be sure that they are not games that take too long to finish because the main event is the movie.
There are plenty of quick board games that you can play and there are websites that offer ideas for thematic games. You can even organize your games around food and beverage or come up with quick trivia questions about the movie, the actors and actresses, and the time period that the movie was set or was released. If you ask trivia questions, you can make them two-part questions. The first part asks the actual trivia question, the second part asks thoughts about the answer, like was the actor good at the role and why or why not, would you have cast someone else,