I don't use Pinterest a lot, but every once in a while there's an idea that really jumps out at me. The drive-in party for kids is one of them! I decided to try the idea out for my twins for their sixth birthday. I am not crafty in any way, so this was a bit of a dangerous decision to make - usually I just pay for a party somewhere like Funhaven, Cosmic or Midway!
Today I thought I'd share how it went with you all and whether I think the drive-in movie theme is worth it :) (Straight up truth moment - I looked at a photo like the one I shared here and based everything I did on that. I didn't even bother reading the descriptions of what worked or what didn't. It's good that you're not like me - it saves time and thought!:)
Figuring out where to get the boxes took me awhile. I think I could have gotten a really good deal on uniform looking plain boxes at Staples if I had ordered them online early enough - but I didn't... because I'm not a planner :) I then called around and knew I could have gotten decent boxes at Dymon for a few dollars each but in the end I got a great stash of decent sized boxes from Dollarama for free.
When I was at Dollarama I also got a pack of markers for each kids ($1.25/each) and packages of foam circles and styrofoam plates to be used for steering wheels, headlights and tires and popcorn.
What worked and didn't work
The kids enjoyed sticking the tires, headlights and steering wheels on to the cars.
The kids needed a lot of help and direction or they lost interest pretty quickly.
Some of the kids kept colouring their cars WHILE watching the movie which was great.
When the kids started getting excited or bored they started rocking their cars until they tipped over and they needed rescuing. Once this started it kind of snow balled.
Here's the thing. If it's warm enough in Ottawa to watch a movie outside, it doesn't get dark until fairly late at night - later than you generally want kids who are small enough to fit in boxes to be outside ;)
As a result, we had our party in the afternoon and counted on shade to make things dark enough. With a shady area and the projector set on the highest brightest setting you could see the movie, but it was a bit faint. The kids were able to watch and hear and enjoy. We also tried it in the garage like some of the photos showed, but that didn't make it any brighter.
The kids enjoyed watching the movie though didn't have the attention span to watch a whole movie (thankfully I had counted on this.) A lot of the kids don't even have the drive in reference so there were a few "why are we watching this outside?" type questions that mostly just amused me.
Each kid got their own popcorn container that I got for $1 at Dollarama and I got Poppa John popcorn. Popcorn, juice boxes and watermelon kept the movie snackers happy.
Other helpful hints
I'm not a loot bag person in general so I didn't do anything like that - each kid did get to take home their popcorn container and individual package of markers though, as well as their cardboard box car (bonus - you don't have 16 cardboard cars left at your house at the end of the party!)
I also hired a 16 year old to come and help out. She was great at helping with the crafts and helping wrangle 13 5-6 year olds who wanted to go in different directions. I highly recommend getting someone to come and help if you're going to have an at home party. If it weren't for her and my friend that stuck around, I may have lost my mind during the party ;)
Overall it was a lot of fun and I'm glad we did it. Would you try a drive in party?