Sure, you're spending yet another night in the house—but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Lauren Wicks
March 27, 2020
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Many of us are weeks into social distancing at this point, and we're trying to keep our families—and ourselves—entertained (read: sane) while hunkering down at home. We've come up with 10 ways to help jazz up movie night so that it's an event to look forward to, instead of just another night on the couch.

1. Make a Concession Stand

Making your own popcorn and picking up some candy from the store is a cost-effective and easy way to jazz up movie night. (Pro tip: the dollar store sells the same-sized candy you get at the movie theater for one-third of the price.). You can scoop the popcorn into brown paper bags and make a little baggy of sweets to enjoy during the movie. Check out our tips for how to make the most delicious popcorn every time.

2. Dress Up Like Your Favorite Characters

I am a firm believer that you are never too old to enjoy dressing up, and this can help make watching yet another movie feel more like an even than the only option. Get creative with whatever's lying around the house and see what everyone comes up with. (Think: Sandy and Danny from Grease, or your kid's favorite Disney character!)

3. Served a Themed Dinner

This could be more or less difficult depending on the movie you're planning to watch, but making a themed dinner together is a fun way to help make the night feel more special. Did the family vote to watch Coco for the 700th time? Make tacos and guacamole (and maybe a margarita for the adults) to get in the mood. Check out our editor's favorite food shows and movies for inspo.

4. Build a Fort

Just like with dress up, I am also a firm believer that you are never too old to enjoy building a fort. While you may not fit as comfortably in a fort as you used to, letting kids bring their blankets, pillows and mattresses to the living room helps them expend some energy—and keeps all their snacks (read: mess) in one spot.

5. Take It Outside

If you have a projector, bringing your movie night to the yard is a fun way to mix things up and enjoy the outdoors at night. You could even invite your neighbors to watch (from a safe social distance, of course).! If it's a date night, a laptop and a blanket is all you need to make staying in more exciting.

6. Weave In Some Themed Activities During the Day

Watching a movie with a musical component could be a fun way to initiate a dance party before or after the movie. You could even get up and dance to your favorite songs together as they come on.

If the characters play a sport or activity during the movie, you could get the whole family involved with your own spin on it. Watching Remember the Titans? Play a game of flag football in the backyard together before watching. If you're watching The Wizard of Oz, making up your own choreography to a favorite song is a fun way to pass the time.

7. It's All About the Ambiance

Turning off the lights and putting on your coziest jammies makes even the third movie night in a row feel a bit more special. One of our editors loves pushing the couches together in her living room to make one giant couch bed! Bring out your best blankets and pillows to turn it into a sleepover if you know your family members are likely to fall asleep in the first 30 minutes. (Looking at you, Dad!)

8. Put Your Phone Away

Putting your phone away is a good idea any time you're doing a family activity. It's easy to make sure everyone stays focused on the movie and enjoys family time when the phones are in the other room. Plus, it helps keep the movie theater ambiance!

9.Make a Game out of It

There's nothing like keeping your chatty family members quiet during a movie like a good incentive. Playing themed Bingo or trivia throughout the movie helps keep the little ones focused and the older ones from playing on their phones. Whoever wins gets to pick the next movie!

10. Splurge on Something You're Excited About

One of our editors says renting something the family has been waiting to come out for months feels much more fun than settling on whatever's free on Netflix. There are over a dozen movies that are making their way from the theaters to streaming services in the coming weeks, so it's worth seeking out a movie you actually want to watch.