Tips for Hosting a Summer Outdoor Movie Night

Staff Writer
Watch your favorite stars under the stars

Take advantage of these warm summer evenings with a movie night.

Take advantage of these warm summer evenings by hosting an outdoor movie night. It really is simple — if you have a yard, you already have almost everything you need for the night to be a success.

  • Plan on showing the movie in a place where you know it will be dark (that is, not near a street lamp or other uncontrollable light source). Rent or invest in a projector; many new projectors are quite compact and will plug into your smartphone or sync with movie-playing services like Netflix.
  • Set up the projector in front of a large white wall if you have one available. If not, string up a white sheet as a makeshift movie screen. Don’t forget speakers, too; you may be able to rent them from the same venue as the projector.
  • Set the scene by hanging twinkle lights for ambience as the sun sets before you start the movie, and have your guests bring blankets or cushions to sit on.
  • Choose a tried-and-true movie that everyone will enjoy, like Rear Window, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (an especially good choice if there will be kids present).
  • Serve your hungry movie-watchers dressed-up classic movie snacks. Make popcorn and toss it with homemade caramel or other seasonings, like melted butter and cinnamon sugar or grated Parmesan. Serve it in paper bags for additional movie theater style.
  • Homemade ice cream sandwiches would be a hit, too. Make a batch (or two) of your favorite cookies and get a selection of complementary ice creams; set out bowls of toppings like chocolate chips, crushed nuts, or coconut to roll the sandwiches in. Let movie-goers assemble their own sandwiches during intermission!

If you don’t have a yard to host your own outdoor movie night, you can still enjoy an alfresco film. Many cities host outdoor — and often free — film fests during the summer months, and most are picnic-friendly.