Movies used to be a social occasion for all ages, from packs of kids piling into a Saturday matinee through first dates for young sweethearts to date nights for busy moms and dads. These days movies are just as likely to be watched at home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be social.
- Cast of Characters. It’s important to ask dinner guests about preferences before a dinner party, and movie night is no different. Some people can’t handle suspense or gore, while others are bored if there’s not an explosion in the first five minutes. Invite people with similar tastes, values and senses of humor so no one gets an unwelcome surprise. It’s also best to keep it light unless you’re sure that everyone is up for a tear-jerker or tough drama.
- Set-up. Whether you serve dinner before the show or during, do as much of the prep work beforehand as you can. It’s hard to concentrate on a good conversation or a twisty plot if you’re jumping up every few minutes to check what’s on the stove. Toss a small tablecloth over the coffee table or set up a folding table near your home theater seats for extra napkins, condiments and drinks to help keep the interruptions to a minimum if you’re dining in front of the screen.
- Main Theme. Keep it simple. One-dish meals, sandwiches, pizza and other finger foods are far less trouble if you’re eating during the film. Avoid anything that requires a knife to keep the noise level down. Coordinate the meal with the movie for a little extra fun. Cowboy flicks are complemented by chili and all the fixin’s, while classic French farce goes well with quiche and hot baguettes.
- Twist Ending. Serve fresh fruit and cheese along with simple cookies for dessert. It’s not only healthy; it’s easier on your home theater seating to serve mess-proof treats like pear and apple slices or grapes. Or move the party to the dining room where you can talk about the movie over coffee and cake.
With a little planning and a bit of preparation, you can have all the fun of movie-going without the hassle of crowds, high prices or those clueless few who won’t turn off their cell phones. More movie party ideas can be found in this article.