Creating a Classic Movie Night

by Robin Turnipseed

At the beginning of each summer, we sit down as a family and create a list of fun activities for us all to enjoy. Pool time, baseball games, a beach trip, and copious amounts of ice cream are the usual contenders for top priority. After creating the list, we go around the table, and each person gets a chance to choose which activity they would like to help coordinate.

My daughter’s chosen adventure this year was to take us all to camp. She attended a day camp last summer and wanted us all to enjoy a similar experience. However, certain obstacles thwarted her plans, such as finding enough time in a schedule already laden with football practice and math tutoring. Not to mention the challenge of finding a day camp that accepted middle-aged parents. That being said I knew that creating a magical night at home may be the way to go this year.

Seizing the Opportunity

Once I heard her camping idea, I decided to seize the opportunity to create a movie night focused on a couple of my favorite classic films. I planned the menu and the setup, then enlisted my daughter to assist in making all the decor. It was a huge success and created sweet memories for us all.

With summer ending and the weather ushering in more indoor activities, a classic movie night is a simple way to turn an ordinary night into a special occasion. Our night was camping-focused, but you can tailor this list to any theme.

Four Tips to Create a Classic Movie Night

1. Choose Your Movies in Advance: Details are the key to making this night magical. Choosing your movies in advance will give you the extra time to plan those detailed elements. I started planning a couple of weeks in advance, providing plenty of time. Also, I decided to make it a double feature night, choosing The Parent Trap, the 1963 version, because Haley Mills will always be my favorite Disney princess, and Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown.

2. Pick a Themed Outfit: This is why advanced planning is good. With the movie choices handled, I knew I wanted to duplicate the Camp Inch shirts that the characters wear in The Parent Trap. These shirts have a green leaf on the front pocket, so with the help of Amazon, I ordered a leaf-shaped cookie cutter and green paint. I already owned the white tee shirts, so as soon as our supplies arrived, we set out to make our outfits.

3. Plan Your Menu: Popcorn and theater-box candy are at the top of the list of food choices. However, camping calls for s’mores, but I wanted our s’mores to be a little fancier. So, I put together a charcuterie board offering a variety of cookies, candies, and even fruit, to help build whatever type of s’mores anyone wanted. Have you ever had strawberries or a peanut butter cup on a s’more? Give it a try!

4. Make a Memorable Setting: I set up our “campsite” downstairs in our basement. In my recent cleanout project, I discovered a small tent that I propped up in the corner. I pulled out sleeping bags and an old lantern, but my favorite part of the space was the campfire my daughter and I created together.

First, we cut our old pool noodles into sections, wrapped them in brown paper, and glued them to a piece of cardboard, making sure to stack them diagonally, like logs on a fire. Once the shape was perfect, we placed a few pieces of orange tissue paper in the middle to create the flames. It turned out to be the ideal centerpiece of our setting.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these tips inspire you to create a movie night of your own. Let me know if you do! Below are a few pictures of our night. I can honestly say that the memories are always worth the work.

Our Camp Inch shirts
Happy Campers
The pool noodle campfire
S'more Charcuterie Board
Our Campsite for the night

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