POPCORN & A MOVIE PARTY NIGHT ON THE HOUSE {summer edition}:  I LOVE LOVE LOVE unique ways to have family time.  This is something we have done as a family for a couple years now and it turns out to be so much fun.  It’s the summer memory that our kids talk about frequently.  They always wonder when we are going to do it again.   I have posted about this before, but this time it is with little inexpensive embellishments from the dollar store.  Studio 5 asked me to come up with a party for $30 (with a handful of things I had at home) and under so here it is.

POPCORN & A MOVIE PARTY NIGHT with all of our neighbors.
The dollar stores have so many themed items for parties, there were definitely enough things to there to have parties with different themes like: a luau, graduation party, bug collecting party, baby showers, 4th of July, water party and much more, but I wanted to do something a little more unique.  This could be used as a birthday party, neighborhood party, late-over, friend party, 4th of July, holiday or just for fun, which is what we do.
Here are the supplies:
  • bubble gum blowing contest
  • Mad Libs type printable to fill out and take turns reading
  • photo booth with props
  • Glow-in-the-dark bracelet chase
  • movie of your choice
  • Red Tickets:  Each of the kids, upon arrival at the party, will get a ticket bow tie (for the boys) and a tickets bow cuff (for the girls).  The ties on the bow cuff were made from strips of the white plastic tablecloth.  The bow ties and the cuffs were made from the double stripes of red tickets.  There is a small safety pin on the back of the red ticket bow tie to fasten onto a shirt.  Who would have thought that a new fashion statement was tickets ;).
The bow cuff is made from a double strip of tickets (found at the dollar store).  You make a circle then punch two holes in the cuff and string ribbon or in this case, strips of tablecloth through the bracelet and finish with a bow.
  • Plastic Tablecloths:  My favorite project is where I used 1 red plastic tablecloth and 1 white plastic tablecloth and cute them into 108″ long and about 7″ strips and used my ruffle foot on my sewing machine to create ruffles out of these strips. A ruffle foot gathers the fabric as you go, instead of stitching and cinching the fabric.  It really saves you a couple steps.  If you don’t have a ruffle foot, you can also make a ruffle by making a zig zag stitch over a piece of embroidery thread, then cinching it along the embroidery thread.  I used a giant picture frame that I purchased from an estate sale 3 years prior as the the frame to hold the ruffles for the photo backdrop.  The strips were used and layered by color.  To go along with the photo backdrop, I bought the props for the photos, the gag glasses and the fake lollipop.  I love how these look and go together in the pictures.  I also used the ruffle idea for the front of the tablecloth for the concession stand.
I LOVE THESE CUTE PROPS….the lollipop, the glasses and the clown nose.
  • metal trays:  These I purchased from the dollar store and used painter’s tape to tape stripes for spray painting.  I used red and white spray paint to make them fit into our theme and to match our backdrop.  These can be used as treat trays, however, I am using mine as a sign that says “NOW PLAYING……”.  These can also be used as surfaces for filling out the MOVIE LIBS sheets.
  • Movie Libs DOWNLOAD BELOW:  On photoshop, I made printables called MOVIE LIBS.  Theses are like Mad Libs except the story is catered to our movie party.  It’s a short story about a kid that is in a movie that decides that going to the movies is much more fun than being in a movie.  These are so fun to fill out and take turns reading aloud.  I have made these before, and they are such a hit at any party and for any age of person.
  • Cute popcorn containers:  I purchased these for $1 for the big bucket, and 2 for 1, for the smaller ones.
  • Soda pop bottle bubbles:  there is a darling printable attached to the bottle of bubbles that says, “Thanks for ‘poppin’ in!.”  They get this when they leave.
  • Glow-in-the-dark bracelets:  When it’s dark one of the games that can be played is to have each person close their eyes, and after activating all the glowing bracelets, one person throws the glowing bracelets into the grass and everyone scrambles to pick one up.  After each round, one bracelet is taken out so there is always one less bracelet than players.
  • darling yellow baskets:  These will be used to hold the candies that they choose from the concession stand.
  • candy
  • gum
  • popcorn
  • bottle of bubbles
  • glow-in the dark bracelets
  • bubbles
  • each child will get a thank you e-mail with their photo attached
  • ticket cuff & bowtie
SET-UP:  One of our favorite summer things is to get our neighbor’s movie projector and project a movie onto the side of our house.  A special sheet or screen is not needed if the stucco or siding is a lighter color.  If you don’t have access to a projector, use a TV and extension cord to bring the TV outdoors, this creates a magical and out of the ordinary experience that creates fun memories. On the invite, let the kids/friends know that they need to bring pillows and blankets and can even wear their pajamas.  Tarps are great to lay out on the ground, but not needed. When the kids/friends arrive, they receive a Mad Lib-like printable, MOVIE LIBS (print below) that relates to movies and candy, as well as tickets to spend at the concessions table where they can trade those for candy, popcorn, drinks and bubble gum for the bubble gum blowing contest.  They can also spend one of their tickets for the photo booth which is made with ruffles made out of a plastic tablecloth, and has a couple of silly props…gag glasses, a clown nose, and a pretend lollipop.
After the kids/friends do the photo booth and bubble gum blowing contest, and get their treats, they get to get cozy and watch the movie, which can be started at dusk.  After the movie the kids will be able to use their last tickets for sparklers and a bottle of bubbles that are shaped like a soda bottle with a cute printable for the tag, which is available below.  This is fun and magical way to spend a minimal amount of money and create a memory that will forever make them smile, and believe me, this will be a new tradition that you will cherish.  ENJOY and let us know how YOUR turned out.
What is YOUR favorite summertime activity?




  1. Kirsten, that is so cute! Great ideas for such a budget!

  2. This looks like so much fun! I totally wish I was your neighbor. But since I’m not that lucky, I guess I’ll have to throw the party myself. 🙂

  3. Simple and fun…my kind of party! Awesome job Kirsten!

  4. TiffanyS Says: May 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    This sounds like a lot of fun! Our favorite summertime activity was camping in Goblin Valley (Utah) but we have since moved to Washington, so I guess we’ll need to come up with another tradition…maybe the beach or camping in an actual forest! When I was a kid, my parents took us kids crabbing every summer. I would love to share that with my husband and kids.

    Thank you for this great idea!

    • ahhhh crabbing, that sounds SOOO fun! I don’t even know how you do that! I too went to Goblin Valley when I was a kid, and in Washington, that would be super fun to camp on the beach if they would let you…or in a real forest, how cool! Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a fabulous family party idea. Love it and will definitely tuck this idea away for later!

  6. This is SO cute! We often watch movies outside in the summer – just take a projector and show them along the side of the house. The adults sit around the fire pit and the kids lay on the ground in sleeping bags. You really took this to the next level though!!!

    • Really, that’s what we do :), but when asked for a summer party idea, I couldn’t help but embellish this one. We may pull out all these fun things every once in awhile, but the best part is being together 🙂

  7. Great idea!, i am planning on doing a mini playdate for my son’s daycare. This theme fix perfectly my budget and the theme. Thanks!

  8. we are having movie night in a few weeks! I was going to do this last year but we ran out of time! 🙂

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