Whether you have just moved to a new neighborhood or have lived there for years, it is always a good idea to reach out to your neighbors. They are the people who surround you; the people who will keep an eye out on your house while you are gone or let you borrow their snow shovel. Great neighbors often become good friends, but even if the relationship is a casual “hi” from across the lawn, it is good to know the people in your neighborhood. One of the best ways to bring people together is food! When you add a movie, you have a surefire party on your hands. How do you host a movie night for your neighborhood?
Summer or early fall is the perfect time to host a movie night because you can use the great outdoors instead of cramming people into your home. The first step is to set a night – it won’t work for everyone, but try to pick a time that is most convenient for most people. You can type up quick invitations on your computer, call the neighbors, or go door to door to invite them. It is a good idea, though, to have a flyer or note so they know the date and time. If your community participates in the Front Porch forum, this may be a great way to introduce the idea and set it up. Facebook can also be a great tool.
Choosing the movie is next; since it’s a neighborhood movie, and there are likely to be children, choosing a G or PG rated film is probably the best idea. There are several kids’ movies that can appeal to adults as well. If you have children, ask for their input. Or you could choose three or four movies and have your neighbors vote for their favorite.
Coordinating it is really the difficult part of this process. After you do that, all you have left is to set up the “movie theater” itself and think about food. First, food. You can include a note on the invitation, asking your neighbors to bring movie theme gift basket for a potluck type of event, or you can have a variety of chips, veggies, dips, and other finger foods available. You don’t have to feed the whole neighborhood a meal, so just go light. People can always bring their own snacks and beverages, too. Ask for help; you’ll probably find a few people who are willing to grill or help you coordinate dishes. When someone asks what they can do or bring, be honest!
You can use your garage door or an exterior wall of your house as your movie theater. Invite people to bring lawn chairs, camp chairs, or blankets so everyone will be comfy. If your garage door or house isn’t white, hang a large white sheet up so you can project the movie onto it.
You will need a projector that can be used with a laptop. Many schools have these – so if you have a teacher or principal in your neighborhood, make friends with them! Your work place may have one or you may be able to rent one from an office supply store. Connect your laptop to the projector via the included cables, and plug regular speakers into the headphone jack of your computer. All that’s left to do is press Play and enjoy your gourmet popcorn with the neighbors.