How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night in 5 Simple Steps


These summer nights are meant to be enjoyed. Bed times go out the window, daylight lingers, and entire neighborhoods stay out to play long after the sun finally does go down. It’s a magical time of year! I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of all that magic than by hosting an outdoor movie night. I’ve got a few handy tips and tricks up my sleeve to help you pull things together in a jiff!

How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night in 5 Simple Steps:

1. Pick a flick

Depending on your crowd, you’ll probably want something generally family-friendly and appealing to all ages. Classics we love and watch often: Babe, Annie, The Goonies (a little bit more PG-13 than you might think), The Princess Bride, Napoleon Dynamite, or anything by Dreamworks or Pixar.

2. Put the word out!

Draft up some cute invitations and pass them out to your guest list. Be sure to include instructions for everyone to bring their own pillows and blankets, unless you’ve got plenty to spare. Gotta be comfy!

3. Hunt down a projector

If you can’t borrow, there are definitely services around where you can rent one for a small fee. A quick Google search for your area should do the trick; sometimes you can even check out a projector from your local library! Of course, you could always buy one if it’s in your budget and if you think it’s something worth investing in. Ebay and Craigslist are my go-to spots when I need to find a good deal on not-new equipment.

Once the projector is secured, make sure to do a dry run to ensure you’ve got all the right cables and connective equipment. There’s nothing more embarrassing or frustrating than an equipment malfunction, am I right? Don’t forget the speakers!

4. Get your screen hung

A white sheet will always work, but a canvas painter’s drop cloth might actually be a better solution. It’s sturdier and less likely to blow around if a breeze pops up — plus you can use it for about a million different things afterwards. Check your local hardware store for a white one, and while you’re there, pick up clamps to secure everything in place.

5. Treats!

What’s a movie without treats? One I don’t want to go to, that’s for sure. I jest! But really, movie treats are half the viewing experience, so make sure you break out the good stuff. I linked to several good ideas below. Personally, I love raiding the movie theater candy section at my local grocery store, and then popping up a few big bowls of popcorn with individual bags for people to fill themselves. And don’t forget drinks — popcorn makes you thirsty!

With that, I think we’ve got the basics about covered. But just in case you need a bit more inspiration, I’ve hunted down some of the best outdoor movie night links around and included them in the gallery below. Click through for a few more great ideas and happy movie watching!

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