Upgrade Your Movie Night

We get it. Lockdown is hard, especially if you live alone or have a young family! Spice up your at-home movie night - make it an experience with these 6 ideas!

Upgrade Your Movie Night

COVID-Safe Movie Night Ideas

Here are some ideas to mix and match, star-rated for family-friendliness by our friend Jenn, ECE and owner of Those Lil' Rascals:

  1. Build your own pizza
  2. Mixed-up movie popcorn
  3. Movie marathon
  4. Movie workout
  5. Fort night
  6. The movie drinking game

Build Your Own Pizza

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Pizza is a movie night staple! Switch things up by building your own with fresh ingredients from your closest grocery store, or local Ottawa restaurants are offering some delicious options:

West End: Jo-Jo's Pizzeria (takeout or delivery)

The Market: La Bottega Nicastro (takeout) or The Grand (takeout or delivery)

Merivale: Colonnade Pizza (takeout or delivery)

Orleans: Louis' Pizza Express (takeout or delivery)

Old Ottawa South: Life of Pie (takeout on Fridays)

📸 Jo-Jo's Pizzeria

Jenn from Those Lil' Rascals says:

We LOVE building pizzas in our house, as everyone can get it on the action and be creative! Partnering it with a movie night guarantees fun (plus, my kiddos are more likely to actually eat their dinner)!

Mixed-up Movie Popcorn

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Think movie snack buffet! Pull out all of your favourite movie-watcher snacks and toppings, divide them into sweet and savoury, and arrange them on your counter while you pop your popcorn. Then, mix them all into the same bowl! Think of the possibilities!

We like to put out melted butter, dill or paprika seasoning, pretzels, peanuts, almonds, Maltesers, Rolo and peanut M&M's.

Show us your favourite combos - tag us on Instagram @gather.local

📸 Gather Local

Jenn from Those Lil' Rascals says:

My children are all about the popcorn when we do movie nights! We've done Chicago style popcorn (cheese & caramel) before, but adding some more of our favourite flavours would be a huge hit! My sweet tooth would thank me...

Movie Marathon

⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Family Friendliness

What do you think when you hear movie marathon? I used to think it was binging Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but there's so many combos I never considered! Here are some theme ideas for your next movie marathon:


Some directors have a specific style! If you love one film, chances are you'll love them all. Think John Hughes, The Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese!


This category is even more fun if you dress up to fit the theme! Think the 50s, 80s, 90s - what do you have hiding in your closet that could bring those movies to life?


This one is fun because you can see a lot about an actor's range in an evening! Is your favourite actor typecast, like Tom Cruise, or do they have an insane range like Tilda Swinton? Well there's one way to find out for yourself - it's movie marathon time!

📸 thewrap.com

Jenn from Those Lil' Rascals says:

Such a fun concept! I could see my little ones getting antsy with sitting for longer than one movie (that can even be a struggle sometimes), so as long as we break the movies up with some other activities in between or make it a multi-day event, this would be a great time! I'd love to see what creative combos we would all come up with, as well.

Movie Workout

⭐️⭐️ - Family Friendliness

If your main objection to movie marathons is the couch potato part, you can make your marathon more interACTIVE! Here's a great example for a family movie, Frozen, but you can create your own rules for any movie. Repeat the exercises whenever the word or phrase below is said:

Let it go: 5 sit-ups

Do you want to build a snowman: 5 pushups

Ice: 5 jumping jacks

Some People Are Worth Melting For: 1 minute plank

📸 Gather Local

Jenn from Those Lil' Rascals says:

This would start off as a fun activity to do during the movie! I could see it start out with some giggles, but not last for the entire movie. This is definitely one to research the movie ahead of time to know what action to do when (and how often you'd need to get up and move). Plus, adding actions and dance moves that make my kids laugh (hop like a frog, do the gangnam style, etc.) would definitely beat out pushups!

Fort Night

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Is it just me, or is everything better in a fort? Fort-building was my favourite thing to do as a kid and it's no less magical now! It's definitely one way to change up your perspective!

Date Night Fort

Blanket forts can be romantic - it's all about adding atmosphere! Throw down a cozy blanket base and build your blanket fort around it. Finish the look with rose petals and flameless tea lights! You can pick up flameless tea lights at most grocery stores as you get your date night snacks. A charcuterie board would pair really well with a nice bottle of red!

Family Fun Fort

Pitch a tent - really! If you have hardwood, lay down a rug or a few yoga mats and blankets (the yoga mats will help with blanket slippage) and pitch your tent! You can make the whole movie night camping themed with s'mores, flashlights, sleeping bags, and of course, lots and lots of stuffies!

Jenn from Those Lil' Rascals says:

I am a BIG fan of making forts! We enjoy building ones around our couch for the sole purpose of being able to use them for movies... so this one is a clear winner in our household!

The Movie Drinking Game

⭐️ - Family Friendliness

This was a college/university favourite - the movie DRINKING GAME! This game is fun with your spouse or roommate, but if you live alone you can always install Netflix Party (now renamed Teleparty) and watch shows with your friends at the same time!

Let's use Pirates of the Caribbean as an example, but you can get creative with your own rules. Drink when:

You see the Black Pearl

When someone says, "captain"

When someone says "parlay"

When someone mentions a "key"

When someone drinks on screen, drink with them

And finally...finish your drink when you hear, "Why is the rum gone?"

📸 Gather Local - That exact moment when, "Why is the rum gone?"

Jenn from Those Lil' Rascals says:

Of course, your traditional drinking games would probably be saved for the get-togethers (currently virtual, of course 😉) with your adult friends, but we could make it kid-friendly! Using soda or juice, why not have your child take a sip when a character sings or falls down? They'll probably need to be reminded every time, but would be a great way to make sure your child gets their water intake!

I hope you enjoyed all of our movie night tips!