How Do You Do Backyard Movie Night? (Easy Tips)

I love a good movie night. I have my favorite movies, and I’ve got my favorite snacks and drinks to go with them. 

But sometimes, you want something different: Something that’s all about the experience of watching a movie outside under the stars instead of in your living room. 

That’s why backyard movie nights are such an awesome idea! Whether you’re trying to save money on renting out a theater or just want to spend some time together as a family, back yard movie nights are easy enough for anyone to pull off. 

But how do you do it? Here’s everything that comes together when planning this fun activity at home with friends or family members:

How to set-up the perfect outdoor movie night
Hosting an outdoor movie night can be a fun and unique way to entertain friends and family.
To host a successful outdoor movie night, you will need a few essential items, including a projector, screen, speakers, and comfortable seating.
Creating a cozy atmosphere with soft blankets, outdoor pillows, and string lights can help make your movie night more enjoyable.
Don’t forget about snacks! Popcorn, s’mores, nachos, and hot cocoa are just a few creative ideas for your outdoor movie night.
To ensure the best audio quality, use outdoor speakers and test the volume beforehand.
Starting the movie at dusk is the ideal time for an outdoor movie night.

Get A Projector

A projector is a must, and it’s the most expensive part of your backyard movie night. The good news is that if you’re just starting out, there are plenty of affordable projectors available on the market at a variety of price points.

A lot of people ask me whether they should buy an LED or LCD projector. In my opinion, LED is the better choice because it offers more brightness (measured in lumens) and can use less power than an LCD model. You also have access to more options when it comes to resolution (the number of pixels per inch). 

Just keep in mind that higher resolutions mean smaller screens so if you go with something like 4K or 8K resolution (which offer around 16 million pixels), then your screen will only be about 2 feet across! If that sounds too large or small for your needs, consider going with 1080p: It offers around 8 million pixels but works well on larger screens up to 100 inches!

Your next step will be setting up your projector so that it faces straight up toward where most people would sit during a movie night just remember not to point directly into anyone’s face when projecting onto their faces!

A lush and healthy lawn can provide the perfect backdrop for an outdoor movie night. Learn how to create a beautiful lawn in your backyard with our guide on putting turf down for a comfortable and inviting outdoor space.

Make A Screen

While you can use a projector screen or a white wall, don’t forget to consider the possibilities of other surfaces. 

A white bedsheet or tablecloth, for example, are inexpensive and easy to hang up. If you’re feeling ambitious and have access to some old sheets (or can get one from somewhere like Goodwill), consider making your screen out of those instead!

The same goes for curtains: they’re super cheap and easy to find at thrift stores and they’ll make your backyard movie night look like the most stylish event ever. 

You could even get fancy and use an old shower curtain as a curtain-screen; it would add another layer of privacy for guests who want it but also add color and personality to your space without breaking the bank!

Bring Out The Popcorn

Popcorn is the quintessential movie snack. In fact, it’s such a classic that when you think about going to see a movie, your mind probably automatically goes to the popcorn stand outside.

Popcorn can be made in a microwave or on the stovetop and comes with endless possibilities for toppings. 

Some people like their popcorn with just salt or butter; others prefer caramel corn or kettle corn; still others add various candies and nuts to make it more interesting. 

If you’re hosting outdoor movies at night, consider making some extra-large batches of popcorn so that everyone has plenty to go around!

In addition to serving up snacks during your backyard film festival (or “Backyard Film Festival”), it might be worthwhile setting out some water bottles as well as blankets (if it’s chilly) so that guests can wrap themselves up while watching their favorite flicks from under the stars!

Looking for a fun and creative way to entertain your guests at a backyard movie night? Check out our guide on building a backyard sand pit to provide an exciting and safe play area for children.

Set Up Your Seating

We recommend setting up your seating first, then getting the food and drinks ready.

Get chairs. You’ll need enough for everyone. If you’re hosting a large group, it’s worth renting them from a local shop like [rental company name].

Get blankets. Blankets are essential! They keep people warm in case the weather is chilly or rainy, and they can be used as pillows when sitting on hard surfaces like concrete or wood. 

Make sure they’re warm enough by checking the temperature outside during set-up time so you know whether to get heavy quilts or light throws that fold easily into their own carrying case you don’t want either option weighing down your guests’ shoulders all night long! 

And make sure that each person has one for themselves: nobody likes sharing blankets with strangers who might not know how clean their houses are (or even if they have fleas).

Pick A Theme

The first thing you’ll want to do is choose a theme. This should be based on the movie you’ve selected, but also consider the weather, time of year, location and guests. 

If it’s going to be cold or rainy out, maybe choose an indoor movie night! If there’s no way for your guests to bring their own chairs or blankets, supplying those items may help them stay comfortable throughout the event.

If you’re hosting this event in your own backyard (or front yard), think about how much space there will be available and how many people can comfortably fit into that space at once. You don’t want anyone feeling cramped or crowded that’s not fun for anyone!

Transforming your backyard into a beautiful and functional space can enhance your outdoor movie night experience. Get inspired with our guide on making your own backyard landscape for tips and ideas on creating a comfortable and visually appealing outdoor setting.

Add Themed Food And Drinks

When you’re planning a backyard movie night, it’s important to add themed food and drinks. With the right menu, your guests will feel like they’ve stepped into the scene of the movie. 

For example, if you’re screening Casablanca in 1942 Paris, then you might serve French pastries and mint juleps for your guests. 

If you’re watching Back to the Future in 1950s Hill Valley (or anywhere else), then hot dogs are on the menu!

Make sure that people know what kind of entertainment experience they can expect by posting a sign outside your residence so anyone who passes by won’t be confused about what type of get together is taking place inside.

Choose Your Music Carefully

The music you choose for your movie night should be carefully considered. You want a selection that matches the theme of the film, of course, but also something that’s appropriate for your audience and fits in with the mood. 

For example, if you’re watching a family-friendly movie, then perhaps something like John Williams’ score from Hook would be an excellent choice. However, if it’s a more intense thriller, there may be better options out there!

This is all part of finding what works best for you and your group so don’t stress too much about finding exactly right music on first try; just make sure to have an idea in mind before going out shopping or streaming services (or whatever else).

A well-designed backyard can make all the difference in creating an enjoyable and entertaining space for a movie night. Check out our guide on remaking your backyard for ideas and inspiration on revitalizing your outdoor space.

Remember The Bugs!

If you’re going to create an outdoor movie experience, you’ll want to consider the insect factor as well. Bug repellant can help with this issue, but it’s not always practical for some people (or for some movies). 

If you don’t want to use bug spray, citronella candles and other bug-repelling natural products will help keep insects away without being harmful. 

Make sure that if there are any lights on in or near your yard/patio area during your movie night that they’re covered with fine mesh netting so that insects won’t be attracted and bother guests while they’re watching their favorite films.

Make It An Event With Goodie Bags Or Costumes

If you’re hosting a movie night for adults, consider themed goodie bags for your guests. Goodie bags and party favors are a fun way to reward your guests for coming to the event, and making them themed can be as simple as using an inexpensive bag from the dollar store and adding some candy or toys that match the theme of your movie. 

You can also make them more “adult friendly” by including alcohol or other goodies that are appropriate for an adult crowd.

Alternatively, if your group is small enough (or if you’re just looking to have some fun), consider dressing in costumes related to the movie being shown. It’s a great way to get into the spirit of things!

Don’t let the winter weather stop you from enjoying an outdoor movie night. Discover creative ways to use your backyard during the winter months with our guide on utilizing your backyard in the winter for tips on staying warm and cozy while enjoying the outdoors.

Plan For Inclement Weather

If you are planning a backyard movie night, make sure to plan for the weather. This is especially important if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and/or wind.

Rain: If it’s raining during your movie night, it’s best to set up your projector inside rather than outside (your guests will thank you). If this isn’t possible, then make sure to have some large tarps on hand that can protect the equipment from any raindrops and keep everything dry!

Wind: Wind can be dangerous when using projectors. Make sure that none of your equipment is close enough to an open flame or anything else that could get blown away by strong winds. For example, don’t put your hot dog grill right next to where people will be sitting downwind from it!

Snow: Snow is not usually as much of an issue as rain or wind because snow tends not hit us directly (unless we live in Buffalo). 

However, heavy snows can hurt projector lenses so make sure there are no large flakes hitting them directly throughout the night! 

There are special covers for projectors made specifically for these situations which may help prevent damage from happening more often than usual during inclement weather conditions such as snowstorms – just check them out online before purchasing one though!

Make It Easy On Yourself

Choose a movie that is easy to watch. If you’re inviting friends and family over, choose something that’s not too complicated or confusing. 

A simple children’s film or an older movie with a straightforward plot will be more universally appealing than something like Inception or Black Swan.

Make sure you have enough seating for everyone. You don’t want people standing around awkwardly while the movie plays, so make sure there are enough seats for everyone who is coming (plus some). 

If space allows it, get out several folding chairs or even some old couches from the basement for extra guests who show up unexpectedly after all, this is supposed to be fun!

Make sure you have enough food and drinks on hand as well as enough lighting for everyone to see what they’re eating. 

This might require setting up an extension cord somewhere in order to plug in overhead lights should there not already be enough light coming through windows at night; just make sure whatever outlets are being used are sufficiently grounded so nobody gets shocked when touching them afterward!


We hope that you find these tips helpful and can use them to create the backyard movie night of your dreams. 

Remember, it’s all about having fun with friends and family! The most important thing is that you have a good time, so don’t stress too much over the details.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in hosting an outdoor movie night, check out these helpful resources:

Premiere Outdoor Movie provides 9 great tips for hosting the best outdoor movie night, including advice on choosing the right equipment, setting up seating, and creating a fun atmosphere.

Woman’s Day shares DIY backyard movie night ideas, including creative ways to decorate your outdoor space, make themed snacks, and choose the perfect movie.

House Beautiful offers inspiration for creating your own DIY backyard movie theater, complete with tips on choosing a screen, setting up speakers, and creating a cozy ambiance.


What are some essential items needed for an outdoor movie night?

Some essential items you will need include a projector, a screen, speakers, extension cords, and comfortable seating.

What is the best time of day to host an outdoor movie night?

It’s best to start your movie when it’s dark outside, so aim to start your outdoor movie night at dusk.

How can I create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere for an outdoor movie night?

To create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere, add soft blankets, outdoor pillows, and string lights around the seating area.

What are some creative snack ideas for an outdoor movie night?

Some creative snack ideas include popcorn, s’mores, nachos, and hot cocoa.

How can I ensure the best possible audio quality for my outdoor movie night?

To ensure the best audio quality, use outdoor speakers and set them up at a good distance from the seating area. Test the volume beforehand to make sure everyone can hear the movie clearly.