Celebrate your kid’s birthday with a fun movie theatre themed birthday party.
I’m excited to share the details for my son’s Movie Theatre themed birthday party. When we first decided to do a movie theatre I was pretty excited!
I knew we could take up most of the party time with a movie. And what kid doesn’t love watching a movie. So we kept the party pretty chill this year, well as chill as you can when you have a bunch of excited 7 years olds around!
Because of the crazy rain storm that forced us to move our Carnival birthday party indoors last year, I planned for an indoor party. May in Utah is so finicky. One year it was 80 degrees and the next it was 50 and rainy.
This year Mother Nature was not going to have me scrambling at the last minute. And the Movie Theatre theme was the perfect way to have a fun indoor party.
Movie Theatre Party Invites
To start off the fun, we needed Movie Theatre themed party invites. I thought about going with the classic stripes and a ticket stub on the side, but that was way too similar to last years carnival invite.
So I decided to go for the classic neon light movie theatre marquee. I tried to print these at home, but found they needed the high gloss of a photo printer, so I printed them at my local Sam’s Club as 4×6 cards. They turned out awesome and cost me less than $3, bonus!
Movie Party Decorations
Once the invites were out, it was time to plan the party.
We scoured the Redbox to find a new(er) movie for the kids to watch and my son settled on the new Lego DC Super Heroes one. So to keep the neon marque theme from the invite going, I made a Now Showing marque with the movie title to display in the house.
I printed the sign extra big (over 6 sheets of paper) on glossy photo paper. Then using my trusty spray glue, I mounted the sign to a piece of foam board I bought at the dollar store. To secure it to the ceiling, I used super fancy packing tape 🙂
Then to really bring back the classic movie theatre look, I made a red curtain at the top of the stairs to the basement (where they would be watching the movie) and taped the marque to the ceiling above it.
To make the curtain, I used two red tablecloths from the dollar store. I hot glued them together to make one long table cloth, then I used an extra shower curtain tension rod in the stairway and draped the tablecloth like a curtain.
Then I secured it with tape and zip ties (super, super fancy). It’s funny how the kids loved this super simple little decoration.
Movie Themed Party Treats
Next was the concessions table. Popcorn and treats are super important to give the kids that authentic movie theatre feeling.
I considered buying $1 boxes of candy. But then each kid would have to settle on one kind of candy. And what if I ran out of the flavor that everyone wanted. I was sure I wouldn’t buy the right ones cause I am not in tune with what the 7 year olds think are the cool candies (I am Junior Mints all the way).
So instead I bought a huge bag of Sour Patch Kids, because my son declared them as his absolute favorite the week before, Reese’s Pieces, because his name is Reese, and Red Vines, because it isn’t a movie theatre without lots of Red Vines.
I figured between the 3 options the kids would get plenty of sugar and I was right! We even had some left overs for the kids who wanted seconds and the grown ups to much on.
I used some jars I had on hand (okay, one jar, an empty peanut butter container and a vase) to hold the candy in. Super cute and easy!
I knew we needed lots of popcorn, so I bought a big party tub at Walmart for $5 and filled it to the top with popcorn.
I found these bright colored popcorn containers in the Dollar Spot at Target (I am soooo addicted to that place). I bought enough for all the kids and they used them to hold their popcorn while watching the movie.
Then the kids got to take their popcorn container home (most took them with a second filling of popcorn)!
And finally, I bought a variety of soda in small cans for the kids. In hindsight, we should have went for the small bottles with caps that could be screwed back on. I am certain there would have been less spills that way, but after a good carpet cleaning I am sure the basement will be back to normal.
Movie Treat Carrying Tray
Now they were loaded with sugar and treats, but how were they going to be able to carry all their treats to the basement and keep them (slightly) contained during the movie?
I found some lingerie gift boxes at the dollar store. They came in a 3 pack, so when separated, each dollar got me 6 “trays”.
To make it easier to hold the tall popcorn containers, I cut an X in the top corner of each box. Then we could slip the popcorn container into it, load the rest of the tray with candy and a drink and the kids were able to carry their concessions to the movie. Yeah!
Concession Stand Sign
Of course I needed somewhere pretty to display our concessions (cause the kids really care about that). I wanted a striped background, but couldn’t find anything.
I did however find solid red and white wrapping paper at the dollar store. So I figured I could make my own striped paper. My husband thought I was crazy, but with about an hour of uninterrupted time and my trusty rotary cutter, I was able to piece together those two rolls of tape into one big roll of beautifully striped paper for the background.
I would not recommend cutting the paper into strips with scissors, but a rotary cutter makes super fast, clean cuts. Then on the back I taped the stripes together with basic wrapping tape.
I used some fabric weights to help me hold the strips down while I worked and then I rolled it back onto the wrapping paper roll when it was all done.
I made a super simple banner for the concessions table, the yellow papers were just cut in half so they were each 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. I cut out the letters to CONCESSIONS out on my Silhouette and glued them on top.
Then to make the DRINKS, POPCORN, and SNACKS signs I cut them out on my Silhouette and glued a piece of yellow cardstock to the back. To secure them to the paper background, I used hot glue. It dries fast and holds perfectly.
Popcorn Bucket Birthday Cake
And finally, the movie theatre themed birthday cake was added to the concessions table.
Even though the execution of the cake wasn’t perfect, I want to share a tutorial of how I did it with my notes for how I would do it better because the idea of this movie theatre themed birthday cake is awesome. At least I think it’s awesome 🙂
I wanted to make a 4 layer cake to make it nice and tall, but I’m cheap, and that is where my first mistake came in. I thought about buying a 6 inch square cake pan (it was only $7) but I figured I could just make a 9×13 cake and cut it in half and it would be just fine.
Then I angled the sides in so they were a little smaller on the bottom to look like a popcorn bucket. And things were going okay, until I tried to frost it. The cut edges of the cake were too soft and the cake just kept falling apart.
So I would definitely invest in a cake pan and then the edges of the cake would be sturdy enough to withstand the frosting. The cake would have been much easier if I had just done 4 layers of of cake in a 6 inch square pan.
After you get your cake cooked and cooled, you want to put a layer of buttercream frosting on the cake plate below your first layer to help keep if from moving around on you. Then start stacking your layers with a layer of of buttercream frosting between each layer.
Once all the layers are stacked, frost the outside of the cake with a nice layer of buttercream. It doesn’t have to be totally perfect (you can see mine was very far from perfect).
Then it’s time for the fondant. I bought a 24 oz box of white fondant and it was plenty for my cake. I rolled the fondant into log and then cut it into 4 pieces, one for each side.
I decided to not add fondant to the top of the cake, and just put on it each side with a little over the top. If you know how to use fondant, you could probably do it the other way, but this was my cheater way.
I rolled out each piece of fondant and cut a straight edged on the bottom. Then I lined it up on the side of the cake with the bottom on the cake plate. It stuck nicely to the side of the cake with the buttercream. I cut the excess fondant off the sides of the cake and then repeated on the next side.
To seal up the corners, I dipped my finger into a cup of water and rubbed it on the corner then rubbed the fondant smooth with the back of a spoon. Super fancy and it didn’t work perfectly, but it worked good enough for me at 10PM the night before the party.
Once the four sides were all covered with fondant, it was time to add stripes. I used a gel food color to paint bright red stripes on the fondant.
Then to make the top of the cake look pretty, I covered the top with thick layer of buttercream frosting! You can never have too much buttercream. And then I covered it with a layer of mini marshmallows.
For a few “popcorn” marshmallows to place around the base of the cake, I cut some of the marshmallows in half and stuck 3 halves to the bottom of one marshmallow. The cut side was sticky enough to just stick to the marshmallow without anything. Then I secured them to the cake plate with a dollop of frosting.
As I was finishing up the cake and getting ready for bed, I noticed that the back of my cake was starting to squish down. The cut cake was just too soft to hold up to the weight of the cake and frosting. My popcorn bucket was starting to look like a paper bag instead.
I was honestly worried that it would just fall apart as I slept, but luckily it was fine until the birthday party or this post would definitely be a DIY fail! But again, I wouldn’t recommend cutting a cake and then stacking it and covering it with fondant.
Luckily the cake turned out perfect enough for my son and the party was a huge success. But next year, I’ll probably go back to cupcakes! Ha ha 🙂
Movie Party Games
Now the stage was set, but we needed a few games to play. I knew we would need to keep the kids entertained until everyone got there and it was time to watch the movie.
We started with some movie charades.
Then we played movie quote hot potato where we filled balloons with movie quotes. The kids had to pass the balloon around like hot potatoes until the music stopped, then they popped the balloon and had to guess where the quote came from. If they couldn’t, they were out.
We were going to go until there was one winner, but the kids were getting a little crazy and so we just took turns popping the balloons (for some reason they really love to pop balloons) and guessing the quotes.
And that was the whole party! Lots of fun, a whole hour of quiet while they enjoyed their snacks and watched the movie, and then a whole lot of craziness while they played like boys 🙂
If you want to throw your own Movie Theatre Themed birthday party, I am sharing all the cut files for the party in my subscriber library. Click here to subscribe to my newsletter and gain access to all the freebies. If you already have your password, click here to download them.
Until next time…