Whether you’re doing a little creative research for an upcoming trip or simply escaping for a night, this guide exists to help you create a fabulous movie date night at home.
And don’t feel like this is limited to couples; it isn’t! Invite friends, involve the kiddos—or luxuriate solely in your own company.
It all works.
Here are the 4 simple steps, in case you want to jump right to one of them.
And we’re serious about the simple part. While you can put as much time into this as you like, you can also knock out a themed dinner and movie date night at home pretty quick.
To make it even easier: Sign up for our email newsletter and we’ll send you a free printable movie date night at home worksheet so that you can scribble down your inspirations and plans.
(The newsletter will keep you informed of our latest posts, deals we’ve found, and give you access to our growing library of freebies to help you plan your travels.)
We also invite you to check out our ever-growing list of Dinner and a Movie Date Nights themed to particular places, completely with multiple movie recos and recipe ideas:
Feel free to riff off of any of these to create your own travel-themed Movie Date Night at Home.
Create Your Dinner and Movie Date Night at Home, Step 1: Choose Your Destination
Where do you want to go?
It can be someplace you’ve never been.
It can be someplace you’ve been to and want to revisit.
It can be someplace you plan to go to in the future.
It can be someplace you’ve always wanted to visit, but that is no longer possible to travel to, for any number of reasons.
It can be another era, or another universe for that matter. In the second case, planning your menu gets really interesting.
You can also reverse engineer this. Let’s say someone—a friend, a trusted blogger or reviewer that you follow—has recommended a particular movie and you’re dying to see it.
Where is it set?
Once you’ve got your movie, skip directly to Step 3, Plan Your Menu.
Now, for the rest of you who only have a destination in mind, is Step 2:
Create Your Dinner and Movie Date Night at Home, Step 2: Choose Your Movie
You know where you’re “going” on your date.
It’s time to choose a movie.
You can of course google “best movies [place name here].”
Tip: You don’t necessarily want to type “best movies filmed in [place name]” or “set in [place name].” Our recommended option will turn up both.
Blog reco: We love the Almost Ginger blog with many movie lists to get you started.
if you don’t have a specific movie in mind for your date, first check your favorite streaming service to see if they offer anything from your destination.
And of course, while Netflix and Amazon have tons of selections, we recommend The Criterion Collection, which features movies from, it seems, pretty much everywhere. (Nan worked for Criterion for a number of years, but it is not an affiliate. For lovers of classic and international film, they are one of the best subscriptions you can get.)
Your local library is also an excellent source, and many implemented online joining programs during the pandemic. Our local library includes a free subscription to Kanopy, another great source for movies both domestic and foreign.
Here’s a recent Kanopy screen shot just to show you:
With all those options, you’re bound to find something.
You’re ready for Step 3:
Create Your Dinner and Movie Date Night at Home, Step 3: Plan Your Menu
Time to decide on dinner.
Sometimes, we just want pizza on the couch.
But to make your movie date night at home more special, think about getting a little fancier and a little more date night-y, starting with a first course, then onto a main, finishing with a place-themed dessert.
Don’t forget your beverage! Find a spirit or an alcohol-free drink that captures the place. This list of alcohol-free drinks from around the world courtesy of the folks at Great Value Vacations is outstanding—and will also remind you of the alcohol-added versions in case you’re stumped.
It’s also nice to get dressed up, especially if the pandemic reduced you to what feels like permanent schlubbiness. Put on those cha cha heels, people! No cobblestones!
If you don’t consider yourself much of a cook, order in.
Still, cooking on your own, or with your date partner, is pretty fun.
We have 2 great teachers to recommend to you:
- Favorite Streaming Service: YesChef, an affiliate partner. Currently featuring master classes from Edward Lee (Kentucky), Nancy Silverton (Italy), Erez Komarovsky (Middle East), and Dario Cecchini (Tuscany), with many more to come. The videos are as beautiful as those on the series Chef’s Table, but with a big and meaningful difference: These chefs, each true masters, provide you with step by step recipes on how to prepare beautiful food. Click here for the latest YesChef deals.
- Favorite Cooking Classes: The Chef and the Dish, another Head Roam affiliate, offers amazing classes in more than a dozen cuisines: everything from regional American, to Indian, to offerings across Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Click this link to save $15 off your purchase of any cooking class; use code Chef15.
- Also, check out one of our favorite food blogs: Half Baked Harvest. The Recipes index has a “Cuisine” pull-down menu, featuring the usual suspects: Italian, Greek, Thai, American, etc. But type in any cuisine—Moroccan is a good one—and you’re likely to turn up some beautiful and inspiring options, like this ridiculously gorgeous brunch.
You can be good to go now. But, if you want to make the night EXTRA thrilling, see Step 4:
Create Your Dinner and Movie Date Night at Home, Step 4: Level Up
We love this idea from Chelsea at One Chel of an Adventure: Don’t forget your snacks and candy!
(Chelsea’s Movie Date Night post features a lot of other excellent tips as well, particularly when it comes to equipment.)
Truthfully, you may be a little full if you’ve done a more extensive meal. You may also want to bring your dessert over to the viewing area.
Or you may opt for popcorn as dessert.
Then again, if you’re going with Japan—either an American movie set there, like Lost in Translation, or an anime classic like Paprika or a classic Kurosawa—you may want to pick up some wasabi crackers and Haribo gummies.
World Market is a spectacular source for all kinds of goodies, including this fun batch of stuff, some of which we picked up when we did our own Moroccan Movie Date at Home.
The main thing: Let your imagination have an absolutely wild time.
Now snuggle up with your movie buddy or buddies and have a great night.