How to Host Outdoor Movie Night


If you’re old enough to remember summer nights at the local drive-in, you know just how special watching movies under the stars can be. Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to host an outdoor movie night in your backyard! This can be a fun family activity or a great way to occupy the kids while the parents enjoy drinks on the patio. Check out our tips for hosting the perfect outdoor movie night.


Find a projector: See if there are any audiovisual equipment rental companies in your area. You may even be able to borrow a projector from your local library. There are also plenty of projectors priced under $100 if you’d like to own one. 

Set up your screen: You’ll need a solid, flat backdrop (preferably white) on which to project the movie. A white bedsheet always works, but a painter’s drop cloth is a sturdier option. If you’re looking for the ultimate setup, consider purchasing a projector screen with a stand for around $100. 


Don’t forget the speakers: You’ll want a great set of speakers with the ability to crank up the sound—you’ll be outside, after all. Wireless speakers will provide you with more options for where to set up.

Test everything: Prior to the big event, test out your setup and make sure everything works together properly. There’s nothing more disappointing than an equipment malfunction during the movie. 

Break out the snacks: What’s a movie without snacks? Treat your guests to something yummy they can snack on during the movie. Try this Oreo popcorn or a simple sweet-and-salty snack tray.


Get comfy: Spread out your softest blankets and pillows, break out the camp chairs, or have guests bring their own seating. Make sure refreshments are within reach—stock a cooler or ice bucket with some beverages. 

Enjoy the show: Take a page from your local movie theater’s playbook and have everyone stash their cell phones away while the movie is playing. Sit back, relax, and revel in the experience of recreating the drive-in movie in your own backyard. 


For more summer entertaining ideas, see our tips for hosting the perfect backyard BBQ or planning an outdoor gathering