How to Host a Movie Night at Home
Going to the cinema with your friends or family is always fun, but sometimes it's simply not an affordable option. There's an easy solution - host a movie night at home! You can make it as simple or as fancy as you want, and you're in control of the guest list and movie choices. Plus, it's so easy to turn it into a regular event!
No matter whether you want to have your children's friends for a thematic sleepover or whether you are in a fancy film and wine society, stay with us at OneHowTo; we'll show you how to host a movie night at home for all kinds of guests and tastes.
How to host the perfect movie night: The basics
All movie nights have some elements in common, aspects that you ought to take into account no matter what kind of event you're hosting. After all, everybody wants to feel welcomed and comfortable!
- Pick the place: Make sure you have as much seating room as possible. You don't want to be distracted by someone's feet in your face.
- Get the logistics right: Do you have a big TV screen or are you going to use a projector? Check that everything is working as it should (calibration, wi-fi, cables, battery life, etc) and rearrange the position of the speakers and the angle of the screen if necessary.
- Choose the movie beforehand: Picking the right movie can be the most difficult part when hosting a movie night at home. You don't want to impose your favorite, but you also don't want to spend two hours voting, right? It's best to know what movie you're going to show when you start inviting people. Host an online poll, but always have a last-minute second option.
- We have some tips on how to choose a movie to watch, though: Pick an all-time favorite or something that you've been talking about seeing for a long time. Read your guests - are they into musicals or into thrillers? It's better to pick something easy to follow, since a big company can be distracting. Look at lists of classic or award-winning films.
- Decide on a movie platform: Turn to Netflix, Hulu or your favorite streaming device. This is a good option if you're hosting a movie marathon, since you can set up a playlist.
- Establish a policy on phones: Either ask your guests to turn them off, or try liveblogging the experience as a group.
- Prepare some games for your movie night! This might take some time, but drinking games, movie bingos or trivia quizzes can make the experience so much better. You can also host a Rocky Horror Show-like experience and interact with the movie, or even dress up.
What are the best snacks for a movie night?
The answer is obvious - the best snack for a movie night at home is popcorn.
Once that's been said, however, we must point out that there are endless different kinds of popcorn out there. Microwave bags are alright if you don't have many people over, but they can get really expensive if you have more than six guests. Consider big bulk boxes or even a real popcorn maker - it will dress up the movie night experience even more! You can also make your own popcorn; there are plenty of fancy recipes out there, so you can pick and choose.
Popcorn leads to drinks - and lots of them. Stock different choices in the fridge beforehand so they're cool and ready to grab. The best drinks will depend on your guests - soda, juices and virgin cocktails for children and teens, beer, wine or a signature summer cocktail for grown-ups.
However, if you want to know how to host a movie night at home with a difference, go big with the snacks. Consider preparation time and organisation arrangements, as well as your guests' allergies and requirements. Make sure to have napkins to spare and don't be afraid to go overboard with a pretty presentation. Of course, if your guests are grown-up you can ask them to bring something over, and split the cleaning up and budget. You can serve:
- Nachos: Prepare different toppings so that guests can choose
- Hummus and other veggie dips
- Cheese sticks
- Carrot sticks
- Savory crackers
- Salty pretzels
- Pizza, calzone, potato halves, takeaway food
- S'mores and marshmallows
- Chocolate-covered fruit
- Wine and cheese
- Ice cream or healthier ice cream substitutes
How to host a movie night outdoors
Hosting a movie night indoors is very comfortable, since you can use your TV screen and make the most of your furniture. Having lots of people over only requires darkening a room, throwing in some fluffy pillows and putting up some decoration. However, a cinematic outdoors experience can be more complicated - and much more fun!
First of all, count your guests and consider your furniture: Movable sofas, beanbags, throw pillows, blankets, footstools... Do not use normal chairs, though - they get uncomfortable very fast. Ask your guests to bring something if you don't have enough seats. Set them up around the screen, or in rows as in a real theater. Have extra blankets in case it gets chilly - or if you show a horror movie.
The projector ought to have a potency of 2000 lumens at least - this is necessary to overcome other light sources in the environment. It's ideal if it's widescreen (16:9), but in fact the most important thing to take into account when hosting a movie night outdoors is the sound. Go for high-fidelity speakers with as little cord fuss as possible - wireless is your best bet. Check that the inputs fit your laptop or media player and take into account the minimal distance for a big screen. Learn to adjust the resolution and angle of the image.
Project the movie onto a blank wall, ironed white sheet or painter's canvas. Of course, check the weather prediction beforehand, because rain or wind can ruin your party. Have some mosquito or insect repellent at hand, and make sitting on the floor as comfortable as possible. As for health and safety tips, it's best to have a well-lit refreshment area separate from the main event. Keep drinks refrigerated in an ice cube and make sure there are no cords in the way.
Since a movie night in your garden or backyard will look like a much more elaborate event, even if it isn't, it's a good idea to set up extra decorations, especially if you're going for a thematic night. Decorate the entry (what about a marquee?) and put up some bunting. Fairy lights look very fancy, but make sure they don't wash out the projection.
How to host a family movie night at home
A movie night at home is a great chance to keep in contact with your extended family or to get to know your neighbors, especially if they have small children. It's very easy to make your event family-friendly by serving healthy sweet snacks, paying extra attention to cords and safety hazards and, above all, picking an engaging movie that will not bore the children, especially at the beginning.
It's a very good choice to extend a movie night into a sleepover, especially for children and teens. They'll love to watch their favorite flick in their pajamas!
How to host an educational movie night at home
Movie nights are a favorite event of religious, educational or local communities, and it's no surprise. A public event means worrying about licenses, sponsorship and logistics, as well as promotion - which can be done with fliers or social media.
However, you can host an educational movie night yourself in order to help your children understand particular topics and periods in history, or to have a passionate debate with your friends. Prepare some materials beforehand, like information about the movie's context or content, as well as cards with questions and debate points.
Watching a movie in a friendly context is a perfect way to develop critical thought. When the movie is over, do not ask your guests for outright statements. Instead, ask them about their impressions, interpretations and other films they have watched. You'll all be enriched by this experience!
How to host a thematic movie night
Hosting a movie marathon is a perfect choice if you enjoy franchises like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They require lots of food and refreshments, short breaks every once in a while, and thematic decorations - you can even dress up!
However, you can also host a thematic movie night by focusing on a genre and time period: Horror films from the 80s, contemporary French musicals or vintage sci-fi. This will give you a guideline for the decoration and the food to serve. Learn more by reading this article on how to organize a themed party for adults.
Now that you know how to host a movie night at home, give us some tips and ideas in the comments section!
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