#1 Always. Always stop at a grocery store for treats. It is the only way. Also. If you can, let them have their own box/bag. If you have properly deprived them beforehand, this will feel super special.
They might even sing about it with passion.
Others will need a little sit-down time to make a truly informed choice.
#2 Give yourself plenty of time. Trying to rush the candy selection because you are worried about getting a good seat at the movie will only backfire. There will be crying and you will say, "Why are we even doing this?" Then everybody will get scared you are about to "turn this car around" and it will get weird and stressed and you'll be off to bad start.
#3 Don't feel bad if you get off to a bad start. About 85% of the things we do as a family get off to a bad start. Most likely, you'll iron things out. Kids will apologize and straighten up and you'll still make to the movie/grocery store/church/school/doctor.
#4 When you get there, don't feel bad about sneaking in treats. Hold your head high and your purse close. Those movie theater treats are highway robbery. You are restoring balance to the universe.
#5 Buy the large popcorn that gets free refills and bring a water bottle or two. Ask for cups or small bags so you can divvy up the popcorn and then let them go crazy! Send big kids for refills. Lots of refills. Get your money's worth!! Don't feel bad when your fifteen year old rolls eyes as he gets his paper cup of popcorn.....one day he will do the same to his kids.
By the time he's taking his kids to the movies. Popcorn will cost 50 dollars.
#6 Have fun! You aren't nursing a baby and everybody's potty trained. Plus, its a lot cheaper than bowling!