Today, we’re celebrating simple summer movie night ideas. In this post you’ll find tips and tricks for movie night success, food and drink ideas, decorating ideas as well as patriotic movie night suggestions and yard game suggestions too! This event is one that can easily be pulled together and enjoyed with friends, neighbors or family members. It’s also perfect for those relaxed and lazy days of summer.
A few weeks ago, one of my sisters asked if we were ready to kick off summer movie nights and of course, we all said yes. She’s been hosting this event each summer for a while now and we always have a great time.
Each week she picks a different movie complete with coordinating menu and invites family, friends, neighbors and coworkers over to her house to enjoy. No matter what movie we screen, it’s a relaxed summer night with plenty of food, entertainment and fun.
Tips & Tricks for Movie Night Success
I asked my sister the key to making summer movie nights a success and she had three tips:
- Plan out as many details in advance as possible and keep a running to-do or to-buy list so you don’t have to remember everything.
- Make sure the meal and dessert menu are easy to create, prep or pick up in advance because it’s a big time saver. Also, if people want to help, let them!
- Keep extra drinks and paper products at the ready because you always need more of those than you expect. In addition, keep resealable bags and trash bags on hand to make clean up a breeze.
Food & Drinks Ideas
Given the 4th of July is in a few days, we thought a patriotic movie night theme would be the perfect way to kick off this annual summer event. To help anchor the food table, I brought the First Aid Cabin Sign I made from home because we went to the same sleep away camp growing up. To help create height, we placed the sign on a tall white box. Thankfully, we chose to serve almost all the food in white containers, so the box blended in seamlessly!
On the menu we had hungry hippies,
pizza dip with blue corn chips,
fruit, cheese, meat and nut nibbles,
a tower of crackers and chips,
and finally a spinach and arugula salad with strawberries, blueberries and goat cheese.
For dessert, we kept it super simple with bags of popcorn and patriotic M&M’s.
We also made these patriotic party cones filled with treats including Snickers and Twizzlers. They were so easy to create you can literally buy all the treats and make the party cones in the same day.
Patriotic Decorating Ideas
Gathering the party decorations was a breeze because we knew we wanted to use red, white and blue in advance. I found the cutest vintage paper fans on sale for $.25 each while out treasure hunting with my mom a few weeks ago.
To give the tables a festive feel we layered them with white napkins, white tablecloths and the patriotic inspired grain sack table runners I created last year.
Then we used blue and white mismatched dishes and mason jars at each place setting.
We chose to keep it simple for the kids using red, white and blue melamine plates and red gingham napkins.
As far as flowers go, we used a mix of red and white Vinca and buckets of hydrangeas in galvanized containers. I should mention here, it was slim pickins at our grocery store’s flower section and at the garden center too.
It’s been super hot and very humid in Florida lately so keep that in mind if you also live in a hot climate. Flowers might not be readily available in all areas especially if you’re looking for something specific.
Patriotic Drink Station Ideas
For the drink station, we hung up bunting and flanked the drinks with hydrangeas.
The adult drinks were kept inside in the wine cooler. These drinks are a mix of strawberry and cherry limeade water, as well as blue raspberry and cherry kool aid for the littles. Those of you with kids know they’re all about the grab and go!
Most of the time you can find the patriotic straws at big box or craft supply stores.
Patriotic Movie Night Suggestions
I’ll be honest, choosing a movie that’s family friendly was not nearly as easy as we all thought it would be! You guys know your families and guests best so I’ll just offer a few suggestions and let you check out their rating and decide which ones fit your specific audience…
- Independence Day
- Band of Brothers
- Saving Private Ryan
- The Patriot
- Hamilton’s America
- Forrest Gump
- Rocky IV
- Hidden Figures
- Top Gun
- Yankee Doodle Dandy
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
- The National Parks Documentary from Ken Burns
Summer Yard Game Ideas
I hope this post has given you guys lots of last minute ways to not only celebrate the 4th of July but to also celebrate simple summer movie nights. We know all too well how easily the lazy days of summer can slip away and be replaced with sports practice, homework, to-do lists and prepping for the upcoming seasons. We plan to squeeze every possible moment out of summer and we hope you will too!