WESTFIELD, NJ — What started out as a night out for a book club snowballed into a “Bad Moms” movie screening party Tuesday night for 130 people featuring free treats, gift bags, a wine tasting and even Jell-O shots when organizer Jessica Silverstein of Scotch Plains allowed others to join the event via Facebook. The group rented out a theater in the Rialto and Silverstein (no stranger to event planning) started asking downtown businesses if they’d like to contribute giveaways.

“I hoped I'd get a bunch of great discounts and items for the attendees,” Silverstein said. “The local businesses all knew that having over 130 of their ideal customers around the corner was an opportunity not to be missed. I figured gift bags would be fun, but if I didn't get any, or enough, donations, I could use what I did get as raffles and people would simply enjoy the movie.”

More than 20 businesses participated, including CoolVines, Athleta, Take Home The Teacher – Alison Schreier, Sole Shoes, Internal Kinetics, Kilwins, Interior Design - Melanie Arky, Ruby + Jenna, Willie Wag, Short Sweet Baker, Wildtree – Sara Lerner, Be Craftful, Learning Express, Camp Specialists, Keep Collective – Cheryl Schafer, Patricia + Paul, Williams Sonoma, Grilled Cheese Shoppe, Bovella’s, The Social Status Co, Tree City Vodka, Gianine Handweker, The Lunch Box, Bar Method of Westfield and Chloe + Isabel by JES.

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“I think the event exploded because local moms needed a night out, we needed to laugh together, see each other, understand we're all going through the same things and this movie in particular spoke to what we all think all the time: ‘Am I a bad mom?’” Silverstein said. “The fact that everyone wanted to see the movie helped. There were at least 30 more women who wanted to attend but couldn't because the theater was full.”  

The comedy starring Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn and Jada Pinkett Smith was a hit with the crowd.

“Everyone had a total blast,” Silverstein said. “The theater was transformed into a party. People were happy to have the event on a Tuesday when they normally don't otherwise have plans. They loved the popcorn sponsored by Chloe + Isabel by JES and Jell-O shots other friends brought. There were jewelry treats, surprises, fun things to eat and drink and everyone had a great time.”

After this experience, Silverstein said she will definitely organize another event like it.

“Everyone asked last night when my next event will be,” she said. “There will be different surprises and I'm looking forward to working with the local businesses again to highlight their products and services.”