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Throw a Movie Theme Birthday Party Based on Your Favorite Movie

movie theme birthday party idea

Thinking about having a movie theme birthday party?

Do you have a favorite movie in mind?

Take a look at the ideas we've come up with for a movie theme birthday party centered around one of our favorite flicks, The Big Chill.

All of these ideas can be applied to your favorite movie too. It just might take a little extra imagination ... but hey, that's part of the fun!

For a Movie Theme Birthday Party, It's All in the Details

It (almost) goes without saying that if you're going to base your theme on a particular movie, you should know the movie well and get the details right! As you're planning your party, start by asking yourself these questions for inspiration:

  • In what time period does the movie take place, and where?
  • Is there a scene that stands out in your mind on which you could base the decorations for your party?
  • Do the characters dress in a particular style? (For example, are they aliens? members of organized crime? college kids on spring break? southern belles and gentlemen? You get the idea.)
  • Was there a memorable meal in the movie or type of food a character was fond of? (I'm thinking of Reese's Pieces in E.T., a spectacular gourmet dinner in Babette's Feast, an Italian meal followed by cannoli in honor of The Godfather, a lobster dinner from Annie Hall, oh I could go on and on.)

How The Big Chill Became Our Big Party

the big chill party The Big Chill is Is a coming of (middle) age movie and centers around a weekend reunion of college friends. One of us has seen it more times than she can count and has hosted her own Big Chill parties.

One of the reasons we chose this movie, besides the fact that we love it, is that it translates so effortlessly into a party. The characters do things at their reunion that we can easily do as well. This movie theme is also a great choice for destination and weekend (overnight) parties.


These are the ideas we decided on:

  • Invite a group of friends who were already adults back in 1983 (the year the movie came out)
  • Ask the guests to wear jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, sneakers (remember the football game?)
  • Prepare a big spaghetti dinner with a tossed green salad and garlic bread, and ice cream for dessert (along with birthday cake)
  • Buy wine coolers (anyone remember Bartles and James?), and mix up batches of Kamikazes and Jelly Beans for shots
  • Make a CD of The Big Chill soundtrack for party music
  • Set up a video camera on a tripod in the corner and forget about it (the results are best watched with your guests the following morning for full effect)
  • Have a football handy for that impromptu game of touch football

A Movie Theme Birthday Party Demands Organization!

Make a List and Use It

Having a written party schedule or checklist helps keep you and your party organized. This is particularly important if you have several activities you want to fit in, as is often the case with theme parties. Because the details are really what make a movie theme birthday party, you'll want to make sure you don't forget a thing.

And yes, I really know what I'm talking about here. When I haven't bothered to make a list, I've been known to forget to hand out party favors, defrost a huge lasagna for a dinner party, and on one occasion, forget to buy birthday candles. It wasn't pretty.

You can get as detailed as you want in your schedule. For large parties where I have many things planned, I will often get very specific and write in everything down to the smallest detail. Ok, maybe I lost some brain cells in childbirth, but the list really helps!

Here's a brief example of a schedule for The Big Chill party.

  • 4:00 p.m. get your guests outside to start a touch football game while you and your closest friends (handpicked by you of course) dance and prepare dinner.
  • Make sure your most charming male guest tests the spaghetti by throwing a cooked piece at the refrigerator. If it sticks, it's done.
  • Serve dinner at the dining room table and have loads of witty conversation.
  • Move the party into the living room.
  • Set up the video camera.
  • Spend the rest of the evening drinking Kamikaze and Jelly Bean shots, talking about the past, and gossiping about those friends who weren't able to come to the party.

Last but not least, for a very cool party favor, make copies of the DVD for each of your guests. Write your thank you note right on each DVD with a Sharpie pen. Don't forget to mail them out!


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