Hosting a Movie Night in Your Yard

outdoor movieWarm summer nights are the perfect time to enjoy a movie night under the stars. Whether you’re planning an event for a bunch of kids, young singles, or just for your own family, it’s an easy way to get people together and have a fun time while keeping planning to a minimum. Here are some tips to make your evening go smoothly:

Tech Tips for the Movie

You’ll ideally want a projector. It’s possible to rent a projector if you don’t have one, or know anyone who has one themselves. Hook up the projector to a laptop.
The screen might be the hardest part of setup. If you can’t hang the weight of an actual screen anywhere, a sheet is probably your best option. Iron it out well and make sure it’s tacked down so it doesn’t blow all over.

If you’re streaming, make sure you have a really good Wifi connection. Losing the signal is probably the most common technical difficulty at movie nights. If possible, try to have the movie already downloaded, or use a DVD.

Seating Considerations

Bring out whatever chairs, couches, and cushions you feel comfortable providing.
The easiest way to proceed is to invite people to bring their own blankets and pillows. Have backups, but this will take a lot of the pressure off of you.

Don’t forget extra blankets. We usually forget how chilly it can get when you’re on the lawn after dark, even at the height of an Indian Summer.

Many couches have cushions that you can easily remove for easy seating. But only do it if you’re comfortable with them getting a little bit dirty.

Food and Snacks

Popcorn, of course, is the age-old favorite. Make sure there’s plenty for everyone. A popcorn popper is the most fun option for concessions, but you could also just microwave a few bags, or buy pre-popped popcorn.
For drinks, think about providing bottled water, soda, and juice. Movie nights are awkward settings for cups. It’s hard to drink from while lying prone, there’s no table to set it on, and the ground isn’t even enough for stability. Bottles just make it easier.

Have plenty of bags of chips and plates of cookies to pass around. Opt for foods that don’t make a mess, and are easy to grab and pass, like candy.

If you have a longer event in mind, it can be fun to open up with a BBQ or buffet and give everyone the chance to munch and socialize first.

Atmosphere and Decorations

Since the movie is the feature, there’s not a lot of extra that you have to do to make it fun. However, it’s always fun to have some themed decor. Go in line with the movie of choice, like a pirate flag for a pirate-themed movie.

Lighting is an important consideration. Keep them low leading up to and after the movie to keep the mood. During the movie, you don’t want a lot of distracting light, but consider making a clear path to the bathroom. Twinkle lights and lanterns are always a great option for outdoor lighting during a party, since it’s soft and festive.

Important Considerations

  • MAKE SURE that you turn off the sprinklers! Nothing is worse than breaking up the party by spraying down your guests when they’re chilly. It might also be smart to turn off your sprinklers for the day before the event so you don’t have damp grass.
  • If it’ll be loud and you have neighbors close enough to care, give them the heads-up.
  • Have bug spray handy. They’re attracted to the lights, and they can make the movie night torture for you and your guests. You might also want to light citronella candles to keep them at bay.

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