Since Brantley’s and Grayson’s birthdays are only 3 weeks apart, for the past four years we have combined their birthday parties, and had one big party for them together. I offered them each the opportunity to have their own much smaller parties this year, but instead of two small ones, they wanted one big one again. No problem by me, I said, and we started brainstorming! I had been wanting to try an outdoor movie, and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. So I proposed it to the girls, and they loved the idea! So the planning began!
We have been busier than ever before this year, so I really (like really, not just saying it) wanted this to be pretty low maintenance and simple as far as party prep goes. I was happy to keep the food easy (and outsource most of it), use things we already had, and not go overboard on decorations. And for the most part, we did just that!
I designed the invitations myself using PicMonkey, and printed them at home using cardstock. The girls were able to take them to school to hand out to their classmates, and then I emailed them to the rest of my friends and family because
I am a horrible procrastinator and got lazy time just got away from me and I was so busy that they weren’t going to arrive in time if I mailed them! Ooops.
I also waited until the last minute and made the girls dresses and Ben’s shirt the night before the party (typical me), but I thought they turned out cute! I used the Molly Dress pattern from Made for Mermaids, which I have used over and over again. One of my favorite go-to dress patterns.
At first when I started thinking about the food, I was thinking of all the yummy concessions you find at the theaters. Popcorn (DUH), nachos, hot dogs, candy, slushies, and on and on and on…and all of a sudden the planning train was running off the tracks. But the girls wanted pizza, so I kept it super easy and we picked up 10 Hot and Ready Little Caesars pizzas about an hour before the party. BEST IDEA EVER!! It was so easy and the bulk of the food was done. I made bags of popcorn for all of the kids, bought mini bags of chips and tons of mini candy bars, and the food was done! Easiest party food of any parties I’ve hosted yet. And everyone was happy (me especially!). For the signs, I just used black posterboard and wrote on it with chalk. Easy!
On our deck, I hung a couple of cute buntings that I made waaaay back and called it a day. I also set the favors out on the deck for the kids to take home with them. I bought cute little plastic popcorn containers and stuffed a movie-size box of candy inside. Cute and easy!
And for the outdoor movie part!! Scott has a projector that he uses for work presentations, so that’s what we used to project the movie. I rented Minions from Amazon for $4, and it played directly on my computer. We hooked the projector up to it, and plugged a portable speaker in, and we had a MOVIE! For the screen, I was planning on building one myself out of PVC pipe (so many tutorials on Pinterest), but I actually borrowed one from a friend of mine who already had one! Score! It is about 12 feet tall by 9 feet wide. I bought a canvas drop cloth from WalMart (in the paint section) which, conveniently is 12 feet by 9 feet! I draped the drop cloth over the top of the frame, and used heavy duty clamps to fasten the screen to the frame. We tethered the screen to a few tree branches to stabilize it, and it worked PERFECTLY! I draped another bunting across the top, and we were good to go. I had a few little chairs set up for the kiddos, and plenty of blankets and quilts to spread out on the grass.
Since our party-goers were all still pretty young, we had to start the movie by 8:00 if we wanted to finish at a decent hour (poor Ben didn’t quite make it)! It was still light out, but since we had the screen under some pretty shady trees, you could see the movie pretty well. Once it got to be about 8:30-8:45, it was great!
By the end of the movie, some were still watching, others were getting seconds on the snacks, and others were playing on the swingset and running around the yard! I didn’t get as many pictures of this party as I usually do, because I was really trying to enjoy the party rather than just document it! We all had a great time, but I think the girls really had a ball. It was so fun to watch them socialize with their little friends from school, and just run around and be kids.
I think the girls had a great 7th and 5th birthday party! And I can’t wait to have another Outdoor Movie Party…maybe one for our friends with an open bar next time!