How to Plan a Kids' Movie Night

Movie nights captivate audiences of every age with comedy laugh-fests, chilling fright flicks, thoughtful relationship dramas or animated adventures. If it's your turn to play host to a child audience for an evening of home-based movie-going, you can make the occasion special in every aspect of your preparations. Let your style come through each part of the event, from invitations that set a thematic tone to tasty food and a blockbuster viewing experience.

Invitation Style

Whether your movie-night plans will entertain your own children or their guests, you can make a gala event out of a home-based screening with special invitations you create on your home computer and printer. For a tween or teen audience hosted by your child, suggest that she create invitations for smartphone distribution instead. Use the title of your movie as the center point of a theme that extends from your invitations throughout the evening itself, including its decorations, which can emphasize the humor or seriousness of the movie's subject matter in ways that appeal to the ages of your expected audience.

Food Selection

Movie-night fare can range from bowls of snacks to an actual sit-down dinner. If the party includes a sleepover, you may want to add a real meal in advance of the screening, including a baked or roasted main dish that shows off the cooking prowess of your range's convection oven. Prepare-ahead veggie snacks can stay in the flexible temperature-controlled drawer of your refrigerator until it's time to serve.

Popcorn forms a perennial movie-goer favorite, which your microwave oven can produce throughout the evening to keep serving bowls filled. Look for fat-free, unsalted corn and add your own touch of spices as a garnish. For beverage fun, turn your refrigerator's through-the-door carbonated water service into the basis of a make-your-own drink bar complete with flavorings and fruit garnishes.

Movie Sources

A Blu-ray equipped home theater system—especially a smart setup that can access your home network and the Internet—makes your movie choices virtually unlimited. You can play back films from optical discs, including DVDs as well as Blu-ray titles, or stream a movie from an online subscription service. You also can access content stored on other devices in your home, including your computer, tablet, smartphone or media player. With 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, your home theater setup produces an immersive experience in which dialog and sound effects seem to emanate from a multidimensional audio field, instead of the stereo effect produced by two-speaker systems. If your HDTV includes 3D playback features as well as a big, bright picture, your home theater setup can reproduce a corresponding audio picture.

Cleaning Up

After your guests depart, you can tuck dishes and serving utensils directly into your dishwasher without wasting the water to rinse them first. Your dishwasher's thorough cleaning cycles put an end to the "wash-before-you-wash" phenomenon that responded to older appliance generations' inability to remove surface soil effectively. Its quiet operation means you can start it and still enjoy a cup of tea and a movie of your own on your kitchen's HDTV. If you really want to get ahead of thorough cleanup, break out your HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner and give your home theater room some tidying attention, too.

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