5 Keys to Movie Theater Snacking the Right Way

I was going to write a really great introduction to this blog, and it was all about Myers-Briggs personality types. It had this whole tie-in to small talk and how we were all going to be great friends. It was very deep and a lot of fun. Really. This plan got derailed, however, when I saw something online that I couldn’t stop thinking about.

I ran into this article from Buzzfeed which features a woman who stuffed spaghetti into a couple of ziplock bags and brought it to the movies. The article was predictably controversial, with some finding her behavior abhorrent and others lauding her ingenious snacking skills.

I, myself, fall strictly in the middle on this issue. The average markup of movie theater popcorn falls around 1,275% (back in 2010, anyway). I am loath to shell out that kind of cash for something slightly unsatisfying that’s gone before the previews are over, and frankly, candy and popcorn won’t always cut it, so I sometimes treat myself to some of my favorite local delicacies instead. Ice cream cones, coffee, doughnuts, Chipotle burritos (okay, not always local) - whatever strikes my fancy. So I respect Ms. Spaghetti’s efforts.  

I do think, however, that her methods lacked polish, so I thought I would use this opportunity to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned on bringing your favorite snacks to the movies, and, most importantly, not be a total asshole about it.

1.  Find yourself the ideal purse. This is mine. It can’t be blatant like a backpack, and it has to be sturdy enough so that sloshy foods (re: Starbucks, ice cream cones, soup) don’t slosh. A flat bottom is the key.  Guys - this is harder for you. I recommend either finding an awesome girl to take with you, or defy gender norms (you go!).


2.  Think ahead about your container. I cannot stress this enough. In my opinion, this was Ms. Spaghetti’s Achilles’ Heel. While her double-bagging was admirable, I worry that once in her lap, the risk for unintentional spillage is high, and depending on how hot the spaghetti was, burns are not out of the realm of possibility.

This is an area where the “don’t be an asshole” clause fits in. Under no circumstances should a movie theater employee have to clean up after your sloppy, amateur ways. Find a solid, flat-bottomed, empty container to pack before you hit your takeout spot. For beverages, bring an empty sealable container like a travel mug. I have found that you can fit four of these bad boys into one purse.

3.  Be smart about what you bring. Use your manners. You (likely) were not born in a barn. If the theater is going to be packed, don’t bring yourself some smelly seafood. Fragrance should be left to early morning matinees of mostly-empty theaters, or movies that you know will leave ample space between you and other patrons.

Don’t bring your own popcorn or other food the theater has there. That’s asshole-y. I make sure the theater doesn’t offer what I want, and I ease my conscience by telling myself that it was because I wanted a healthier option (fruit and cheese), none of their choices were substantial and meal-like enough (Chipotle), and they don’t offer breakfast food for the morning (basically anything off the McDonald’s breakfast menu, Starbucks, and doughnuts).

It shouldn’t be really loud to consume either. No wrinkly-crackly or chompy-crunchy. People are trying to watch a movie.

4.  Don’t use your cellphone during the movie. Nothing to do with food. Just a pet-peeve of mine.

And finally….

5.  Clean up after yourself. Not dependent on whether you’re bringing your own food or buying the theater’s. Non-negotiable. If you are reading this blog, you are grown up enough to pick up your own damn wrappers.

So there you have it. Five steps to being polished, polite, and presentable when bringing your own food to the movies. In general, visiting the concession stand is important because it’s how most theaters make their money, so do your best. But if anyone gets that there are some cravings that popcorn and candy won’t cure, it’s me.