Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Private Movie Theater

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 7, 2015

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, a new technology changed dating and group gatherings forever. The first movie theaters were being built—and a whole new way of spending time with friends and loved ones came into existence. Throughout the 1920’s the presence of movie theaters exploded—and by the 1950’s they were the spot to take a date. Today, that still rings true—but we have a few things they didn’t have back then: laptops, TVs, VHS, DVDs (and BluRay!), the internet, and Netflix.

Here in the wonderful world of 2015, you don’t need to go to a theater to have a wonderful movie-watching experience—and quite frankly, you can watch a movie just about anywhere you want! Check out three of our favorite spins on the private movie theater for this Valentine’s Day:

This one is very easy, and can really take place anywhere (on a hike or at the beach!). All you really need is a laptop, and your movie (DVD or pre-downloaded—there may not be wifi where you go! Check out Goodwill for some of your favorite titles. Grab a blanket, some pre-popped popcorn, your favorite movie snacks (Milk Duds!) and some drinks and hunker down up against a big tree or in an open field. Be sure to charge your laptop fully, first!

The backyard theater is great for groups! You’ll need electricity and somewhere to anchor a makeshift screen—so staying close to a building you have access to is important. Grab a bright white sheet from Goodwill along with some computer speakers, and borrow or rent a projector (be sure to get the right cords/adapters for your laptop!). Use the sheet as a screen on the side of a house or building—and set up your theater! You can invite friends to bring camping chairs, or even go as far as moving a couch outside (ask any college student about this). Be sure to make some popcorn, have some candy, and drinks!

If the weather isn’t cooperating with your outdoor movie plans—or you just want to spend a cozy night in—this is the best option! If you don’t have enough blankets at home to complete the feat, grab a few dark-colored bed sheets from Goodwill—and some lightweight rope if you don’t have any. Use things like doors, shelves, and furniture to create a web-like structure that converges on the TV area. (Pro-tip: Do NOT anchor your web to the TV, unless you really want an excuse to buy a new TV after yours falls off of its platform. Trust me on this.) Once your web is constructed, begin draping your sheets/blankets over it. Fill it with heavier and cozier blankets, pillows, snacks, you, and your date!

Want to get fancy with the popcorn? Try some chocolate popcorn or Pad Thai popcorn! And if you’re trying to keep it nutritious, grab some veggies and fresh-made hummus to replace the candy!

Keep in mind as you prepare your private movie theater for Valentine’s Day, Seattle Goodwill has new movies in nearly every format (even VHS!) hitting the floor every day—some very popular titles—and less expensive than the average rental!

This is part of a series on Thrifty Valentine's Day Date Ideas. For more ideas, click here: Valentine's Day


Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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