One of my favorite activities for the kids was to take Family Movie Night and make it amazing. I did this because choosing to be a one income family means we lived on a tight budget. Entertainment was usually seeing about $20 in the account for the whole month! I did it because imaginative play is my wheelhouse. I love this stuff, I love life lived this way, and despite my adult secret identity, I am really a kid at heart.
My children, LOVED this. The same night each week of course is Family Movie Night. Ours was Friday. Pizza and salad for dinner. Homemade, store bought and occasionally the splurge for carryout.
After lunch (remember we homeschool) the kids would begin to prepare. They made tickets, movie posters, trivia questions (we usually watched movies we owned) and snacks.
We made homemade popcorn. They decorated brown paper bags and put it in bags. They'd make tea and kool-aid. They'd make cookies and sometimes we'd buy a couple dollar packs of mini candy bars or use halloween or Easter candy.
They would build and set up a concession stand, with pricing lists, name tags, cash registers built from cereal boxes.
They would drag their mattresses into the floor, with pillows and all.
After dinner, Dad and I would purchase our tickets, buy our snacks with monopoly money, and be seated. They took turns being the projectionist (working the DVD player). The movie posters were always the best most elaborate part. We love art, so I saved them, folded them and when the stack got a couple inches thick I would take them to Office Depot and have them spiral bound.
So often they wanted friends to spend the night. To experience our movie night. The other moms would always tell me without fail, that their children raved about it when they got home. Even when you think they might be too old, they will still get into it with the younger siblings, and they are grateful for the chance to be little and play.
We lost all this in Hurricane Katrina, but the memories are still right there in my mind and in my heart.