5 Surprises for a fun family movie night

Between work, practice schedules, homework and playgroups, the schedule most families keep can be hectic to say the least. What better way to reconnect and enjoy time together than by having a family movie night, complete with all the fixings and even a surprise or two!

Family on couch

Turn off your cell phones and all the other TVs in the house and get comfortable for the debut of family movie night at your house!

Surprise #1

Pajama time

Even if family movie night is actually family movie day, having all the members of your family wear pajamas is comfortable and fun. Darken the rest of the house and the room where you’ll be viewing the movie and set the scene for a cozy, family affair.

Surprise #2

A different way to eat dinner

Whether you eat dinner before or after the movie, change things up and eat dinner a little differently than usual. Surprise the family by eating dinner on the floor of the living room or outside on the patio. How about a backwards dinner where dessert actually comes first? You can even serve breakfast for dinner by having bacon and eggs and maybe even some pancakes! The family will come to look forward to and remember the unique dinners they enjoy on family movie night.

Surprise #3


Popcorn the old-fashioned way

Popcorn and movies go hand in hand, but instead of popping a bag in the microwave, enlist the help of the family and make great tasting popcorn the old-fashioned way in about 10 minutes. Here are easy directions from NY Times columnist Mark Bittman that yields 4 to 6 servings:


  • Popcorn
  • Oil, to film the bottom of your pot
  • Popping corn, to cover the bottom of same pot, usually around 1/2 cup
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons butter, optional
  • Salt to taste


  1. Put the oil in the bottom of your pot – a 12-inch, heavy-duty pot four or five inches deep is good – and turn the heat to medium-high. Add 3 kernels of corn and cover.
  2. When the 3 kernels pop, remove the cover and add corn to just about cover the bottom. Cover and shake the pot, holding the lid on as you do so. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping sound stops, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter if you choose to use it. (Here’s something the microwave is good for!)
  3. Turn the popcorn into a large bowl, drizzle with the butter, and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately.

Surprise #4

Everyone’s a critic

Keep the family engaged in the movie by encouraging them to take notes on what they liked or didn’t like. Afterwards, have a discussion movie-critic style about their thoughts and sum it all up with a family “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” The added bonus of critiquing the film is that you gain insight and learn more about each other when different ideas and viewpoints are discussed.

Surprise #5

Double feature

When the family movie is finished, put the little ones to bed and put in another movie that’s catered toward the older kids in the house, just the two of you, or even just you! Take advantage of the surroundings and the leftover snacks and extend the benefits of family movie night for more time together or time just for yourself.

Quick TipTips for family movie night: Be sure to plan an intermission at some point in the movie to take care of needed bathroom breaks.

The best surprise of family movie night is how fun spending time as a family can be without the distractions of phones, schedules and chores.

More tips for family movie night


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