The kids were coming and we had thought of taking them to the actual drive-in, but there was nothing to see...so we created one at home. Most of the items are from the Dollar Tree, but I'll share how we put it together. We hope to make it a fun idea often, maybe with each holiday! (Well, probably not, but it's great fun.)
For the seating, we had once used boxes and made cars out of them (google that - so fun) but I had no boxes available. We did, however, have our beach chairs which are low to the ground and perfect (I got them at Target when I bought them.) Those display boards that kids use for science fairs (Dollar Tree) are perfect for the backs to make the chairs higher, and feel like a theater - and we used stickers to put their names on their seats. Also, I wanted them to have little caddies for their candies, and a blanket. Caddies - Dollar Tree, and blanket - Big Lots ($6 each). So now, the theater was set!
For the concession stand, a red plastic cloth draped a small table we had, and another one of those boards for the menu/prices. I had seen on line and copied the idea of hot gluing clothespins (I already had) to hold the chips, I got candies (and some retro ones from Big Lots), cotton candy, drinks, etc - and set it all up - using a few paper movie props I also had on hand. We added a few price stickers as well. And next...we needed a way for them to get their tix and pay!
For the cashier stand, I found a money drawer at Big Lots and printed out movie tickets (free printable), and we used the drawer like a bank . When they arrived, they all got some dollars and change and put in their caddies then came to pay for each item as they were hungry. (We did have sandwiches made, so they at least had something good!) They really loved paying and using their fake dollars - this was a big hit!
For the screen, it was our TV, but we wanted a big sign so used a poster board and lined it with red duct tape. I printed out (with Word) a Drive In Cinema sign with clip art, attached the poster with poster stick (Dollar Tree), and added twinkly lights (I had from Christmas).
Finally, we chose 48 Christmas Wishes as our movie, and the kids loved it.
I think they wished we had decorated the entire house...but that's not happening. This took a bit of work but was so worth it - and next time it will be a cinch! Dollar Tree is amazing for all sorts of ideas for set ups, tablescapes, decor, etc. for family night at home - even a drive-in cinema!
As a side note, one of our patrons (age 7) mentioned that there is a kiosk of toys near the concession stand at theaters and asked if there were toys available... So I did have a few in my closet, so they also got that at the end of the movie - a stuffy and a book - and read their books aloud to us!
I say make every regular event (like watching a movie) fun. And I forgot to mention that of course we had popcorn, but i forgot to snap a pic!