1. Choose the perfect spot
Choose a location where you can control the lighting. Nothing ruins the mood like a bright streetlight shining down on everyone’s fun.
A backyard is a good option but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to miss out if you don’t have one. Other locations such as a garage, patio, or porch could fit the bill.
2. Use the right equipment
Things you’ll need include:
- ⬥ A movie player (e.g. DVD player or laptop)
- ⬥ A movie screen (or the side of your house)
- ⬥ A movie projector
- ⬥ A sound system
Don’t get overwhelmed; there are dozens of websites that can show you how to rig your system to play movies outside.
You can also bring your TV outside, however only choose this option as a last resort because it doesn’t give off the same “drive-in theater vibe” as a movie projected onto a screen.
Alternatively, you could rent the equipment you need, however if you plan to do this frequently it’s smart to just go ahead and buy what you need.
3. Choose a great movie
Choose something suitable for the crowd that you’re inviting. Whether it’s a comedy, action-packed, or a classic, make sure it’s something that everyone will enjoy.
You could also include a list of potential movies with your invitations and ask everyone to vote for the one(s) they want to watch.
4. Provide comfortable seating
There’s no need to buy pricey outdoor furniture, simple blankets on the ground (with or without pillows) is a good option, especially for the younger crowd.
Provide chairs (with cushions if needed) for guests with physical limitations.
5. Clear out the pests
Spray for mosquitoes, gnats and other nasty pests before guests arrive. You don’t have to use harsh chemicals…there are natural bug repellent products like citronella that can do the job.
6. Use soft light
You don’t want your guests stumbling around in the dark…add candles or twinkling lights to provide a little soft light to help them get to where they want – or need – to go.
7. Let your neighbors in on it
An outdoor movie could be distracting for your neighbors. If your neighbors might be impacted by your movie night you might want to let them know what’s going on…you might even want to invite them too.
8. Create a theme
Use your movie choice to create a theme.
For example, if you’re watching a family-friendly movie about a dog, create “dog treats” for the guests out of cookie dough. You can even serve popcorn in new dog bowls that your guests can take home with them.
Can’t you imagine the fun the kids will have with that?
9. Yummy food
While you could serve items like nachos and cheese, the obligatory popcorn and of course candy and cookies, this is your “movie theater” so you can decide what to offer.
Why not take it up a notch and make healthy treats that everyone will love, such as fruit bowls, homemade trail mix and air popped popcorn complete with flavorings and additions that your guests can choose themselves.
And of course instead of unhealthy soda, why not offer sparkling water, fresh juice and nut milks.
10. Door prizes/gifts
Finally, give your guests something to take home with them as a reminder of the fun they had.
It doesn’t have to be expensive…something as small as personalized movie tickets or flyers will make them smile every time they look at it.
Or, you could take snapshots of your guests as they arrive that you can share to their smartphones either individually, or at the end of the night as a digital album. Another idea; take photos during the event to create a digital album (or DVD if you prefer) that your guests can then share with their family and/or friends.