How to do movie night right: 4 suggestions for a fun family night at home

Almost nothing beats a really good movie night with the family! Level up your family movie night with some of these ideas and create a lasting memory with your kids!

By Kristen Winiarski

Family Fun


movie night popcorn and 3d glasses

Why just watch a movie when you can make it an entire event?

Instead of just putting on another movie for the kids, you could make it a special movie night. Whether incorporating it as a family fun day or just taking a night to do something different, movie nights can be so much more than just watching a movie.

Adding elements outside of the film but film-related can make for an even better night. It’s no longer just a movie, but an entire experience. From film choice to food, crafts, and decorations, there is so much you can do to make your family movie night even more memorable.

Pick a Movie

Something new

Be sure to screen new movies if you’re worried about them being family-friendly. You know your kids’ triggers best, so make sure that the film will go over well. After that, you can show the movie without fear. It could be something your kids are excited to see or something that just came out.

An old favorite

Instead of going completely new, you could put on one of your kids’ old favorites. You can have fun with something you know they’ll enjoy and add a different element with snacks or some of the ideas below to make it unique.

Parent’s favorite childhood films

We all have those films we loved as a kid. You could pick one of those to introduce your children to for movie night. It can be a lot of fun to show your kids something you enjoyed as a kid. Be sure not to get your hopes up too high, though. They probably won’t love it nearly as much as you do.

Rotate who picks

To help make things fair, you can rotate who picks the movie for movie night. Be sure to give all kids a turn and even parents. Doing this will help everyone feel like they get to participate and mix up the movies that you watch.

Movie Suggestions

Lego Movie

Legos are big with kids, so this movie is a fun one to add. You can even make lego-shaped foods to go with your film.

The Karate Kid

As a fun throwback, you could throw on this one for your pick. Add some ninja-related treats, and you have a party!

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

For a movie night that focuses on treats, this is the ideal choice. The original is the best version, so load up on the chocolate treats and enjoy this old classic.

Freaky Friday

There are two versions to choose from here, but I’m partial to the Jamie Lee Curtis/Lindsay Lohan one since I saw it as a kid. There’s even some fun music.

Homeward Bound The Incredible Journey

There are two versions of this one also. My kids didn’t like the part where Shadow almost didn’t make it, but thankfully, it turns out to be a happy ending.

Harry Potter

For younger kids, the first few films are great to watch. As the series progresses, it gets darker, so you’ll need to watch out for that, depending on the ages of your kids.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

This is another great series sure to churn up some nostalgia. Watch as the kids are shrunk and must venture their way back to their house. The saddest part of this one is poor Anty.

Star Wars

If you want another series to work your way through, you can dive into Star Wars. Most of it is fine for kids, but you may want to monitor some of the scenes.

Indiana Jones

This series is for older kids, but can be a lot of fun when they’re ready for it! The scariest thing is when Donovan basically decomposes before your eyes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Disney animated films

You could set up so many movie nights with these, so I’m not going to list them all. From classics that you loved as a kid (Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid) to more recent ones (Encanto or Frozen), you can fill many movie nights and make corresponding treats.

Prepare the Space

Build a fort

Instead of just sitting together on the couch, you could build a fort for the kids to sit in (and maybe parents until our hips start to hurt!). This can add something special for your kids to enjoy. You could also set up sleeping bags on the floor for them to be comfy.

Hang decorations

Have your kids make decorations that fit with the theme of the movie you’ll be watching. You can hang them up to help make the space even more fun.

Use a projector

For a movie theater experience, consider getting or borrowing a movie projector. You don’t need to go out to get the fun huge screen experience.

Add some cool lighting.

Christmas lights aren’t just for Christmastime. We always have them in our living room, so when we have a movie night, we turn off the rest of the lights and turn those on. It makes for a cozy ambiance. You can also get the lighting for the back of the TV and change that to different colors to help set the fun movie mood for the room.

Take it outside

If you plan your movie night and have some nice weather, you can take it outside. You’ll need projection equipment for this one, along with lawn chairs and other items to keep everyone comfy outside. Growing up, my friend and I would watch movies in a tent outside, too, so that’s an option. It’s even easier now since you won’t need to run extension cords to the tent!

Make Movie-themed foods

Special dinner

To go along with your movie night, you could order pizza or make a special dinner that goes with your movie. Have something that you don’t usually have.

Popcorn or treats

What’s a movie night without special treats? Pop some popcorn or make cupcakes that fit your movie theme! You can have a lot of fun with this one to add something different.

Movie nights can be so much fun when you take the time to set things up and make special treats for the evening. Which ones will you choose?

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