An outdoor movie night birthday party for kids

This year I wracked my brain trying to plan my 10-year-old’s birthday party. What do you do for a 10-year-old’s birthday these days? Something cool, fun and accepted by the birthday boy — and all his friends.

But what?

Seeing as more than half of my son’s friends have no problem verbalizing when they do or do not like something — and seeing how I love the challenge of planning a party that appeals to all — I had my work cut out for me.

Lucky for me, my parents attended a charity event to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital and bid on (and won) an outdoor movie package. Being the generous and thoughtful parents that they are, they offered the evening to us as an option for the birthday party.

Suddenly, it was a no-brainer.

We planned the entire evening around the movie, of course. Somehow timing worked out perfectly and we were able to get The Avengers the night before the party. We planned to start the movie around 7pm with a pick up time at 9pm (the first “drop your kids off” party we’ve had), but this particular movie is longer — so 6:30pm became the new start time. At 6:30, the sun was still setting, but the picture quality was amazing so it didn’t really matter. (and I wanted to make sure the kids went home at 9pm, which was the original plan).

Once we decided on the theme, Pixie Party Shop stepped in and supplied us with the invites. We based the entire color theme around the Movie Night Birthday invites and I hand-wrote each one (due to a broken printer).

The party guests arrived at 5pm and had an hour to swim (aka get the sillies out — or as much as possible). The pizza arrived at 6pm, which made dinner and clean up extremely quick and easy.

The concession stand was put together as part of the party package — and it was perfect. I decorated one side of the table¬† with a reel of old school tickets and three plastic Popcorn boxes, which were in the $1 bins at Target. The table also hosted personalized water bottles, coordinating stripped paper straws, dipped birthday cake Oreo cookies with “It’s been reel fun” printed on the front and a candy bar filled with some of the more popular movie theater candies in mini sizes.

Pixie Party Shop supplied the red chevron favor bags and they were a perfect addition to the candy bar. I invited two kids at a time to select eight pieces of candy before the movie started and then again half-way through the movie to pick four more pieces.

The popcorn machine and gigantic blow up movie screen were provided by FunFlicks and were the highlight of the evening — obviously. We popped the popcorn as the movie previews began and each child had their own personalized paper popcorn box in their hot little hands once the movie started. We encouraged the party guests to bring outdoor blankets and warm clothes and supplied everyone with beach chairs — and I kept bug spray on hand for those that wanted or needed it.

A huge thank you to FunFlicks, Lesa at Rady Children’s Hospital and my parents for “the best birthday party ever” according to my son and all of his friends.



  • If you’re viewing the movie on a lawn, turn off your sprinklers at least two days before the party.
  • Keep bug spray on hand and/or layer (although, I got a mosquito bite through my pants).
  • Supply or request that each guest bring his or her own outdoor blanket and/or outdoor chair.
  • Personalize the popcorn and candy bags to help keep track of everyone’s items (and to avoid added disruptions once the movie has started).
  • Serve or offer the candy prior to the movie starting so no one misses the movie.
  • Serve the popcorn to the guests as the movie starts to avoid unnecessary popcorn messes.
  • Skip a cake if you’re offering a candy bar. You’ll be thankful you did and the parents will be, too.
  • Do something active leading up to the movie — swimming, soccer, scavenger hunt, etc.
  • If the birthday party is for kids, don’t expect to watch the movie in peace and quiet. Especially if there’s candy involved.


Disclosure: The movie and concession stand were provided as part of the charity auction package. Pixie Party Shop supplied us with the invitations and favor bags for the party.

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