Ultimately, the DH and I planned to keep it outdoors and purchased a fire pit that hopefully everyone could huddle around. As a backup, we cleaned out the garage in case we needed to move everyone in there. We thought about setting up the movie screen in the living room, but considering we had 19+ kids (mostly boys), quickly vetoed that idea.
We were blessed with beautiful weather but after the sun set, it cooled down quickly. Most of the parents ended up huddled around the fire pit while the kids made it through half the movie, then ditched it to play glow in the dark tag. Who knew a group of nine year olds would fall in love with such an old school game?!? Rounding out the night was a grown up vs kid dance off where I quickly learned I am totally out of touch with pop culture and therefore one of the uncool parents. But, I do know how to "dab" now so that must count for something.
Anyway, here's how it all came together. We started off with the Walk of Fame. This was accomplished with chalk art and stars spray painted lightly on top of the grass. (When the grass is mowed, the stars will magically disappear.)
We had a mish mash of chairs, blankets, pillows and inflatable loungers.
For the photo booth, I taped a black, plastic table cloth over a window and included an assortment of props. This was a hit with the girls. The boys, not so much. Still, it made for super cute photos.
I'm especially proud of the snack table. Normally, my tablescapes fall a bit flat. Not the case with this one. Each kid got a popcorn bucket filled with popcorn, a Hershey's candy bar and a bag of gummies. The parents munched on chips and dip and roasted peanuts.
I decided to make the birthday cake this year. The idea was to have movie reels (Oreos) around the sides of the cake and film strips (Candy by the Foot) on top with a director's clapboard.
This was a fun, low-key party and something we've never done before. Of course the major expenses were the projector, movie screen and outdoor speaker, but those are items we plan to use for many years to come.
Is there anything I would change? Perhaps. We showed Minions and most of the kids had seen it already. Maybe a new release would have held their interest to the end. It's ironic because I thought most of them would have already seen any new release I would have chosen which would have been fresh in their minds and not held their interest like an older movie.
Also, between the number of kids we invited and their siblings, there were 19+ kids between the ages of 4 and 11. I lost count. That may have been too many to reasonably expect to sit through a PG movie.
Still, the kids had a grand time! We have great memories and are planning to set it up again this Friday night. But just for the four of us.