How to plan a family movie night at home

While going to the movies can certainly provide for a fun escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, allowing you to submerge yourself in a world of fantasy for a short time, this form of entertainment does not come without its drawbacks. For one thing you have to contend with a theater full of other animated patrons, some of whom seem largely unaware of the conventions of movie-watching (the main directive being silence). And of course, there is the cost, which always seems to be on the rise. These days, a family of four could easily blow a c-note on a trip to the theater, what with tickets, treats, and whatnot. So instead of heading to the theater for a couple hours of fun at great personal expense, why not orchestrate a similar experience at home (sans the cost and annoyance associated with going out)? Here are a few tips to create a perfect family movie night at home.

The first thing you’ll need is a movie (or several). So plan ahead by hitting up your local rental house (skip Blockbuster, with their high prices and “editing for content” and support a locally-owned movie rental business instead) or arranging for a kid-friendly delivery from Netflix. Or if you happen to have a favorite that you rent all the time, simply hop on Amazon and order a copy to keep and watch over and over again. Then you’ll have it on hand any time you want to plop down on the couch and watch it on a whim (or take it on a family trip with your portable DVD player).

Next you’ll want to create the feeling of a theater in your home, and a good place to start is with the snacks. Popcorn is a must, and you can find many options at the grocery store, including “movie butter” packages. You can even get specialties like Kettle Corn that the theaters don’t carry. You may also want to include some candy, sodas, or other special treats that you generally reserve for a trip to the theater. But the nice thing about planning your movie night at home is that you can take it a step further by ordering (or making your own) pizza. And if you prefer that your kids have healthy or homemade snacks instead of the heavily processed items you normally find at the theater, you can include those, as well.

Finally, you’ll want to get the setting just right. This doesn’t mean that you have to run out and buy a projector or  theater seating for home use, but you should think about using whichever television in your home has the largest screen and/or the clearest picture, and if you make a habit of having movie nights at home you may want to set up surround sound speakers at some point to really engineer the ambience of a theater. Then turn out the lights, pop in your favorite flick, and get to watching. The kids will have just as much fun as they would on a night out and you’ll save a ton of money (and probably a measure of your sanity).

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