Backyard Movie Night

Staff Writer
Give that old sheet new life with these simple tips for creating an outdoor theater at home


There is no need to spend $10 to $13 a head on tickets for the latest blockbuster hit when you can have a lot more fun — for a whole lot less — hosting your own backyard movie night. If you’ve got space in your yard, driveway, even on your rooftop, setting up an outdoor screen is easy with our simple tips. No matter the age of your audience, with some refreshing drinks and sweet and salty treats that are better than what you’d fine in a theater, a good time is sure to be had by all. Just be sure to wait until the sun goes down before you start the show!


Choose the Movie

What you screen depends on your audience. If you’re entertaining kids, a series of popular cartoons or classic animated movies like Tarzan or Toy Story or will surely catch and hold their attention. For an adult crowd, go with comedies (anything with Will Ferrell) or action films — or all-time favorites like Pulp Fiction. Stay away from deep, serious movies with a complicated plot line in the event guests turn away for a moment only to miss crucial details. Are you a movie night pro looking for an added challenge? Pick a movie like Fried Green Tomatoes or My Big Fat Greek Wedding and let the film inspire any additional décor and your menu.


Set (Up) the Screen

Set up a white flat sheet over your garage door for a drive-in feel or hang it from a wall, deck, clothesline, or tree branches. Looking to create a makeshift screen that will last you all year — even multiple seasons? Check out this easy D.I.Y. project. (Photo credit: Istock/sturmwarnung)

If you don’t have a projector to use at home (or borrow), renting a good one is easy and inexpensive with They will send you one the day before you need it, and you send it right back the next day. Once it’s set up, don’t forget to test that everything works smoothly before friends arrive.