Weekend How-To: Host A Movie Night At Home

What’s not to love about going to the movies on a Friday night? Plenty. Once you shell out big bucks for the gas to get there, the full-priced tickets, the honkin’ huge popcorn, the giant-gulp sodas, and the king-sized candy, you’re left with a measly chunk of change that might be enough to pay for parking. Bummer. When did this simple pastime get so expensive? Maybe you should just stay home—and host your own fabulous movie night! Why not? You can keep it on the cheap and enjoy your favorite flick with friends and family in the comfort of your own home—no elbow-bumping, seat-kicking strangers to deal with. Perfect. Need some ideas to get started? Read on…

Pick Your Flick

The movie you choose will definitely make or break the party, so pick your flick wisely. Who is your audience? Family, friends or both? Will kids be watching? Goodbye adult language and sex scenes. Is it a girls’ night? Hello chick flicks! Or more of a couples thing? Think drama.

Once you’ve answered this important question, consider the following options:

  1. Check out your channel guide a few days in advance and set your DVR or TIVO to record your chosen film.
  2. Put your Netflix subscription to good use and add some must-see movies to the queue ahead of time. Then consider letting your guests vote for their favorite flick.
  3. Dust off an oldie-but-goodie from the shelf. Everyone loves a sure-fire classic.
  4. Visit the Redbox at your local grocery store and pick up a crowd-pleaser for just $1.50 per day, leaving you plenty of money to stock up on yummy snacks.
  5. Browse your On Demand channel for the newest releases. Sure, they’ll be a little pricier, but you can always split the cost with your guests if they REALLY want to see it.

Invite The Right Guests

Be sure your guests are true movie enthusiasts who will watch the entire screening—no Chatty Cathys or Big-Mouth Bobs allowed. Does everyone on your list get along? Offscreen drama would instantly spoil a fun night, right? And how many people should you invite? Jamming too many people together for a 2-hour (or more) movie is a show spoiler for sure, so figure out who fits and invite accordingly.

Comfort Is Key

You don’t need rows of La-Z-Boy recliners to make your guests comfortable. Simply set up additional chairs in front of the screen and stack pillows and blankets within reach, so your guests will be perfectly comfy whether they’re seated or stretched out on the floor.

Don’t Skimp On Snacks

To make your movie night even more memorable, you MUST serve sweet and salty munchies. Think movie theater goodies—no veggie trays, please. Of course, having plenty of popcorn is a no-brainer, but don’t forget about the candy and sodas. Ask everyone to bring a small bag of candy to add to a big bowl that can be passed around during the movie. Here are a few homemade snack and soda recipes that are super-easy and inexpensive to make:

Perfect Popcorn
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There won’t be a single burnt kernel in the batch.
Perfect Popcorn
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There won’t be a single burnt kernel in the batch.
Servings
2people
Servings
2people
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Peanut Oil
  • 1/3 cup Popcorn Kernels
  • 1 tbsp Butter more never hurt anyone
  • Salt to taste
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Peanut Oil
  • 1/3 cup Popcorn Kernels
  • 1 tbsp Butter more never hurt anyone
  • Salt to taste
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in the saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Put 3 popcorn kernels in the pan and cover. When all 3 have popped, add the rest in an even layer and cover.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and count to 30
  4. Return the saucepan to the heat, still covered
  5. Once popping begins, shake the saucepan back and forth with the lid slightly ajar to release steam
  6. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove from heat
  7. Remove the lid and immediately dump into a big bowl
  8. Add as much butter and salt as you dare
  9. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

For more great popcorn recipes, visit babble

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Caramel Corn
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This super-easy caramel sauce is made in the microwave, so it’s ready in a matter of minutes. Sweet!
Caramel Corn
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This super-easy caramel sauce is made in the microwave, so it’s ready in a matter of minutes. Sweet!
Servings
2people
Servings
2people
Ingredients
  • Popcorn
  • 3 tbsp Peanut Oil
  • 1/3 cup Popcorn Kernels
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lite Karo Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
  • Popcorn
  • 3 tbsp Peanut Oil
  • 1/3 cup Popcorn Kernels
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lite Karo Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
Popcorn
  1. Heat oil in the saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Put 3 popcorn kernels in the pan and cover. When all 3 have popped, add the rest in an even layer and cover.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and count to 30
  4. Return the saucepan to the heat, still covered
  5. Once popping begins, shake the saucepan back and forth with the lid slightly ajar to release steam
  6. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove from heat
  7. Remove the lid and immediately dump into a big bowl
Caramel Sauce
  1. Mix caramel sauce ingredients (no popcorn yet!) in a medium microwave proof bowl
  2. Place in microwave 1 ½ minutes on High
  3. Remove and stir
  4. Microwave 1½ minutes more
  5. Remove and add 1 tsp. baking soda, then stir
  6. Pour over popcorn and toss until coated
Recipe Notes

Check out other popcorn recipes, at babble

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Baked Mozzarella Sticks
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These are baked, not fried, so they’re sort of healthier, right?
Baked Mozzarella Sticks
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These are baked, not fried, so they’re sort of healthier, right?
Servings
24sticks
Servings
24sticks
Ingredients
  • 12 sticks String Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 5 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • Cooking Spray
Servings: sticks
Units:
Ingredients
  • 12 sticks String Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 5 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • Cooking Spray
Servings: sticks
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut each cheese stick in half, making 24, and freeze
  3. Beat the egg in a bowl
  4. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese
  5. Dip each frozen cheese stick in the flour, then egg, and then breadcrumb mix
  6. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray or oil
  7. Bake for 4 minutes or until crispy. Don’t let them melt!
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Cherry-Vanilla Soda
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You can save a lot of money if you make cherry-vanilla soda yourself.
Cherry-Vanilla Soda
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You can save a lot of money if you make cherry-vanilla soda yourself.
Servings
6drinks
Servings
6drinks
Ingredients
  • Flavored Syrup
  • 2 cups Cherry Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Bean split and scraped
  • Soda Mixture
  • 1 cup Seltzer per drink
  • Ice
Servings: drinks
Units:
Ingredients
  • Flavored Syrup
  • 2 cups Cherry Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Bean split and scraped
  • Soda Mixture
  • 1 cup Seltzer per drink
  • Ice
Servings: drinks
Units:
Instructions
  1. Simmer 2 cups cherry juice, ½ c. sugar and 1 split, scraped vanilla bean (seeds and pod) over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain.
  2. Let cool completely.
  3. For each drink, mix 2 to 4 tbsp flavored syrup of choice with 1 cup cold seltzer; add ice (soda mixture)
Recipe Notes

Here are other great soda recipes from Food Network.

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Grape-Almond Soda
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There has been an explosion of homemade soda recipes. Try this new grape-almond recipe.
Grape-Almond Soda
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There has been an explosion of homemade soda recipes. Try this new grape-almond recipe.
Servings
6drinks
Servings
6drinks
Ingredients
  • Flavored Syrup
  • 2 cups Concord Grape Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • Soda Mixture
  • 1 cup Seltzer Water per drink
  • Ice
Servings: drinks
Units:
Ingredients
  • Flavored Syrup
  • 2 cups Concord Grape Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • Soda Mixture
  • 1 cup Seltzer Water per drink
  • Ice
Servings: drinks
Units:
Instructions
  1. Simmer 2 cups Concord grape juice with ½ cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in the juice of ½ lemon and 1 tsp. almond extract; let cool completely.
  3. For each drink, mix 2 to 4 tbsp flavored syrup of choice with 1 cup cold seltzer; add ice (soda mixture)
Recipe Notes

Here are other great soda recipes from Food Network.

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Pina Colada Soda
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Everyone's favorite drink and song as a soda.
Pina Colada Soda
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Everyone's favorite drink and song as a soda.
Servings
6people
Servings
6people
Ingredients
  • Flavored Syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Rum Extract
  • Soda Mixture
  • 1 cup Seltzer per drink
  • Ice
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
  • Flavored Syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Rum Extract
  • Soda Mixture
  • 1 cup Seltzer per drink
  • Ice
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Simmer 1 ½ cups pineapple juice with ½ cup each sugar and coconut milk over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Let cool completely.
  3. Stir in ½ tsp. rum extract and ¼ tsp. coconut extract.
  4. For each drink, mix 2 to 4 tbsp flavored syrup of choice with 1 cup cold seltzer; add ice (soda mixture)
Recipe Notes

Here are other great soda recipes from Food Network.

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