Today is my middle son’s 6th birthday – happy birthday, sweet little P! Usually we have a family celebration and a separate “friends party”, but as his birthday is on a Friday this year and we have friends visiting, we’re wrapping it all up together with an outdoor movie night.
As I posted last year, usually we have a last day of school party for both our older boys classes to celebrate their late spring/early summer birthdays. Both boys love the year-end party, but as time has gone on they have also asked to do something small with just a few of their closest buddies. This year strep cancelled the last-day party at the last minute anyway, so their “small” parties have become more important in celebrating their big days.
Because we live in a warm (to put it modestly) climate, I’ve looked with longing at various articles in magazines and pins on Pinterest about outdoor movie night parties. We even went to a Christmas party last December where “Elf” was shown on an inflatable screen in the backyard. Even in the dead of Arizona winter, cuddling up with blankets and fleeces on a blanket is a pleasant way to spend an evening. You can rent the equipment – I found rates starting at $95/night for just the projector, up to $250/night for the whole inflatable-screen setup – but we figured our backyard is essentially an outdoor living room, so we might as well gear up.
So after a little research, last month the Little Papa and I invested in an outdoor movie arrangement of our own. My husband poked around on Amazon and we ended up acquiring an outdoor screen, a small A/V table, an Epson HDMI-ready projector, and a pair of simple speakers. Sadly, the iPad does not have a proper audio output (meaning we can’t stream reruns of “Friday Night Lights” off Netflix – yet), but the portable DVD player works just fine, as does our laptop.
Our outlay has already paid itself off, in that tomorrow night will be our fifth movie night in just a month. Our first was a showing of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” for our oldest son’s 8th birthday. I found adorable movie-themed party printables from Typewink online at Etsy.
We laid out a tarp, covered it with blankets and pillows,
served popcorn, movie candy from the dollar store, and soda in the small old-fashioned shaped bottles, and a good time was had by all.
Since then we’ve put up the screen (which breaks down into a flat case that fits perfectly in the front hall closet) for movies every time we’ve had friends over for dinner so the kids can chill and run amok at the same time as the mood strikes. For a smaller group we may even do a “float in” and view from the pool.
Tonight we’ll have cake and ice cream, followed by “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”. May the force be with us!