My good friend Marni enlisted my help for her daughter’s 5th birthday party. As the mom of two boys, it was so much fun to be involved in the planning of a GIRL party! Since her birthday is in the summer we wanted to find something fun to do outdoors, and we landed on doing an outdoor movie night. Her daughter loves movies, especially at movie theaters, so we wanted to bring that experience to their backyard.
We found the perfect invitation, Glowing Affair Photo Trifold Party Invitations, which gave us the flexibility to change colors, fonts and text so we could make it fit our theme. We changed the main text to read, “IT’S SHOWTIME!” For the photo we had a little mini photo session with the perfect prop, popcorn. Pretty sure Gwyneth had a great time, and it really helped set the stage for the party! Turns out the invitations inspired a lot of our outdoor movie party ideas, including the decorations, colors and activities.
Even before choosing the invitation we knew we wanted lanterns and lights hanging around the yard. Pinterest had LOTS of ideas for this, some not so realistic, but we threw some up here and there, and it definitely added a little element of ‘party’ to the backyard.
We stretched the movie theme a bit so that we could include a little fun with photos. (Think: red carpet night at a movie premiere.) This was our way of making everyone’s entrance to the party special, and it turned out to be one of my favorite outdoor movie party ideas. We laid out a pink carpet and had a backdrop printed featuring pink and purple stars with Gwyneth’s name. These can be printed pretty inexpensively at your local printing store. We made two and just taped them together. Good thing kids are little, so we didn’t have to make them very big!
We simplified our menu by starting the party about 7 p.m. so that the kids actually ate supper at home (read: less stress!). The invitation spelled out that we were going to provide snacks and dessert and, of course, our snacks consisted of popcorn and movie theater candy! We had a little snack bar set up with treats and goodies for the kids to spoon into the treat boxes, shaped just like vintage popcorn bags. What a hit with the kids! We set out the snacks on a dresser found at a local thrift store, and made a fabric strip backdrop featuring lots of bright colors pulled from the party invitation and other party décor.
The beverages were a big hit with the kids as well! We turned mason jars into drinking glasses, based on this tutorial. We drilled holes in the lids the same size as the straws (which prevented spilling!), cut circles out of different colored glitter paper and glued them to the lids, then created name tags out of our Sip Something Cool Kids Birthday Favor Tag. Instead of ordering the tags with the suggested text, we left some of the text fields blank so we could hand write the child’s name on it. That way they could keep track of their own jars all night.
For dessert we had cupcakes made with the movie theme in mind, decorating them with marshmallows to look like popcorn, clapboards and, of course, big number 5’s for the birthday girl!
Then came the main event. The movie. Lesson learned: watching a movie outdoors in the middle of summer is possible, but not until 9-9:30 p.m. If you have young children, you know that’s just a little too late to start a movie. Still, the kids had a blast. There was silly string and a playset and bubbles–just good old fashioned fun in the backyard on a beautiful summer evening.
We opened gifts. We opened up the snack bar. We’re not even sure the kids noticed that the movie wasn’t starting yet! Then, when it was finally dark enough to see the movie, the Minnesota State Bird (read: mosquito) decided to crash the party, and that was about the end of that.
The birthday girl had so much fun taking star-studded photos with her friends, enjoying popcorn and snacks, and having a great night playing with all her friends. To make the party last a little longer, with every thank you card we inserted a 3.5 x 5 print of Gwyneth and the guest on the pink carpet. A fun little surprise for each guest to get in the mail!
Our recommendation would be that an outdoor movie night party is a great idea for Fall. As the days get shorter, you can start the movie a little earlier and you can cozy up with blankets and sweatshirts (and no bugs!). I think I might steal the idea just for a neighborhood get together! We would love to hear about your outdoor movie night party ideas!
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