Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Outdoor Movie Par-tay

One of our planned "summer fun" activities was
to host an outdoor movie night for Andrew and a few friends.
Since summer was winding down and a certain someone was celebrating
turning NINE, we decided to make the birthday party + movie night one in the same.

Having just finished the book, Andrew chose the first Harry Potter movie
and invites went out to 15 friends...

We had a theme, without being TOO themey 
(they are 8 and 9 year olds after all...
AND to be honest, this Mama had fabric scraps that kind of dictated the colors scheme... 
AND I didn't want it to feel like Halloween.)

(see that little book page banner?  ummm, yeah, that was supposed to have "happy birthday" on it.  whoops. ran out of time! )

We figured out the seating - using some of our indoor furniture
and utilizing my plethora of fabric scraps to sew a few big throw pillows.
Baskets were filled with big quilts + blankets.
(Though I keep saying "we", it was a bit more like "me")

We had plenty (or so I thought) of snacks + drinks...
they ate and drank EVERYTHING!!

We had "Harry's" favorites -- Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans + Chocolate Frogs.
Andrew wanted to make a little Hogwarts Castle out of paper towel rolls.
Such a cute idea.  

Before the movie the kids used the "sorting hat"
to determine which "house" they were in
and they competed for the "House Cup."

The games included:
A Magic Hoop Spell
A Three Legged Enchantment Relay
A Transfiguration Test - Turn a "housemate into a toad"
A Game of Quidditch
{you'll have to read Harry Potter if this all sounds a bit odd}
{and for those that have, yes there was "broom flying"!}
{and to my friend and fellow DI manager, Heather -- our training came in mighty handy!!}

We had "wizard hat cupcakes" and then everyone got all snuggled in
and settled down for the 2.5 hour long movie.
Watching a movie outside, under strings of white lights (didn't get a good pic of these!! 
but they made everything more festive), with your buddies was a fun way to celebrate!

Now that we've got all the technical logistics figured out
we hope to do this weekly in the summer.
not with 15 children, but as a family, and maybe with adult friends too.

A few lessons learned...
We had a number of parents ask how we projected the movie...
we used a laptop + projector + speakers
We did a test run the night before to work out kinks.  There were a few.
Plenty of bug spray + citronella candles is a must to keep the bugs at bay.
 Next time I'm buying bagged popcorn or popping ahead of time.
 I ran around like a maniac for the first 30 minutes
of the movie trying to make mass quantities  of "fresh" (birthday boy request)
 popcorn with an air popper.
I had kernels, salt, and butter ALL OVER MY KITCHEN.
It wasn't pretty! :) But it was worth it!


  1. TESSA! THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!! My birthday is coming up in two weeks - is it weird I want to recreate this entire party?!? It looks like the most perfect thing ever!!!! You are such a talented and great mama!!! Love, love, love!

  2. This is amazing!!!! Absolutely magazine worthy! Well done mom :)

  3. It looks like you all had so much fun! It's so funny you posted this now, I just finished watching the first Harry Potter with my oldest, neither of us had seen it before. You did such a great job incorporating everything into the "themed" party! We'll have to try the outside movie when it gets cooler down here. Thanks for the great ideas!


  4. Tessa, this is amazing. We have an outdoor movie night on our list too but haven't made it happen yet. That just may be the best birthday party ever!!! Seriously, so cute!!!!!!

  5. What an amazing party! Your son is one lucky boy. Hey, can you plan and cater my next birthday party? It's in January ...

  6. This may be the most precious party that I have ever seen. I am an ObGyn in Chapel Hill and adore your bog. I have used three recipes (this week!) and they were all amazing. Taquitos = heaven. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oops. Meant to say "blog." :)

  8. This is so cool! Love this idea!

  9. Love Harry Potter and LOVE your party! You did a fantastically good job with the theme. I know that was a lot of work! Now go take a well deserved nap.
    Oh and thank you for all the lessons learned for next time. I wish everyone who posts about parties would do that. Great info!!!!

  10. Hi Tessa! Your son's party looks like so much fun! You planned everything out so perfectly! Love all the details! I think watching movies outside is so much fun, and home parties are all the better - so much more welcoming and personal! The boys will most likely always remember your son's party! I was just talking to my family earlier today about having a nightswimming party and playing a movie outside while they swim. Sound fun to me! I took a blogging break, but hope to return back to it this week! Your Michigan photo's are really nice - looks like the boys had so much fun on the beach!

  11. wow. thanks for all your sweet comments! it was fun party and i'm glad i get to share a glimpse of it with all of you! xo, Tessa

  12. This is the cutest party ever! I love the color scheme, all the details, etc. I've always wanted to do an outdoor movie night - I love that you actually did it (and shared how).

  13. This is the cutest thing EVER! Oh my gosh! I think I want a Harry Potter party for myself - I'm totally obsessed. You're the coolest mom and I love all the details!

  14. What a perfect party. All three of my kid are Harry Potter fanatics. They would love his. I might even show them your post today. Everything looks so fun and cute at the same time.

  15. Hello,

    Looks like they had a blast. Love all the details and the fun games. We are hosting my first ever boys sleep over after we come back from vacation. Can't wait!! Thank you for sharing.
    They are lucky to have you....
    Take care,

  16. That is the cutest party ever! I want you to plan my next birthday party...or maybe I'll just come to one of your children's because they look super fun! And great pictures to boot!

    By the way, the key to the fish is seasoning it enough to taste actually taste the flavors. Once you're sure all the components have enough flavor, you should be good. And I think I forgot to add shredded cheese to the list but what's a taco without a little cheese?! Good luck, I know what it's like to have a restaurant favorite and not be able to duplicate it in your own kitchen.

  17. Hands down, one of the best party ideas ever! I'm so impressed with the details of this party - looks like the kids had a blast. We had friends do an outdoor movie night at their house and it was such fun. We're happy to do one as well.

  18. Would you mind sharing your source for the chevron fabric in that colorway?

  19. sure...the chevron fabric is from premier prints in zig zag. here is the link

  20. Holy smokes...what an amazing party you threw! Everything looks awesome! Did you make the ice cream sandwich bags? Off the topic, but you live in the cutest neighborhood ever! LOVE the houses on your street!

  21. thanks, kerri!! the ice cream sandwich bags (which were filled with two chocolate chip cookies + vanilla ice cream), the popcorn containers and the polka dot paper straws were all purchased from etsy. The seller is called "hey yo yo".

  22. Thanks Tessa! I'm headed to check them out!

  23. ask me how impressed I am with you?

    SO, SO, SO impressed.

    you killed it with this was p.e.r.f.e.c.t.

  24. You are such a great mom Tessa! My boys would have loved this. My 15 year old has been into Harry Potter since the beginning and seeing the final movie this summer was a huge highlight for him. Love all of your cute details - must have been a fun night for all.

  25. I just said out loud to my husband, "I love this blog friend! LOVE her!" What a fun, creative, all out fun party!


  26. WOW, Tessa - this is absolutely incredible! You're such a wonderful mom and your son must've been so happy! I have to show this post to my husband; he's the biggest Harry Potter fan out there and probably would want me to do something like this for his b-day!!! :)

  27. Tessa! Can you come host my next birthday party???? I've always always wanted to throw an outdoor movie night. Everything turned out perfect!
    xo Melissa

  28. *love* this, Tessa! If you don't mind I want to post a link to my business facebook page. I will tonight when I can log on....with your permission.

  29. Wow this is one adorable it, found you through Lovely Little Parties on FBook

  30. Love it! Gonna save for my daughter. She'll be 15, but with the right girly movie this could be killer!!

    Ok, this doesn't have anything to do with the party, but where did you get your ivory shirt? Super cute and I just got some mules that would look great with it! Thanks.

  31. Oh my goodness! What a perfect party! I know he had a blast! Too bad we don't live closer-you could have borrowed our big popcorn maker! I think I may need to borrow this idea for Max's next birthday. Too fun!

  32. This is fantastic - love everything about it....the black flower pots holding paper cones of bertie botts - the ice cream sandwich bags - the linen/burlap fringed table cover - the tray holding the popcorn boxes - the book page banner (even without letters - very cool, and one step ahead for your next project). Such a great theme - looks like everyone had a wonderful time.

  33. So dang cute I can't stand it!!!! I am sure people are going to be doing this all over blogland!!!