How To Throw A Backyard Movie Night Under The Stars

DIY outdoor movie night-the-sandlot

There’s something so nostalgic about watching a movie outside under the stars. It just feels like summer, and we don’t know about you, but it gives us all the feels – happiness, comfort, excitement, relaxation and childhood. We grew up going to Drive-In Movies. Those kinds of theaters seem to be few and far between, but honestly, these days we’re opting for a snuggle in our own backyard to watch a movie under the stars.

Recently we had the neighbor kids over for a DIY backyard movie night. Jessica would have preferred to spend week crafting fun DIY decor, a sign, cute favors – the perfect set up. But, honestly time (and energy) didn’t allow for that this summer, so with a quick text invite, and bring your own blankets (so we had more than enough), the kids had a blast watching a movie under the stars. The weather was perfect, the company was amazing, the popcorn was plentiful and the movie was a classic. Oh summer, please stay forever!! We can’t wait to get another movie night on the calendar. Here’s some tips to throw a fantastic DIY movie night this summer. Again, nothing fancy with our photos – we need an iphone upgrade but until that happens, our 6S will have to “give you an idea” of our memorable movie night.

1. Set Up A Screen
You can go so many different ways to set up a screen. You can build one with PVC pipe, buy a huge screen or a smaller screen, hang or tie screen material, or use sheets. We had a large piece of pegboard (the sheets they sell at Home Depot) for a separate project, so we literally set it up on a large bench, leaned against (in between) 2 trees, spread out two white sheets over it, and used chip bag clips to keep it in place. It worked like a charm! BTW, two sheets worked better than one, but if you have a black sheet, that would work behind one white sheet, too. If you buy the sheet of pegboard or white board from Home Depot, it runs about $20.

the-sandlot-outdoor-movie-night-diy-movie-screen

2. Be Wise With Your Movie Pick
Pick your movie carefully. We wouldn’t want to go to an outdoor movie night showing a scary movie, or something out of our league. We had a wide array of kids, from ages 5-12, and both boys and girls. Our movie was a classic most kids love, even the girls, and it fit our PG age range. We know it’s one of our faves – The Sandlot. We hosted the movie night around the 4th of July, and baseball is so American to us, it’s all about childhood and summer, and there’s a great firework scene in the movie. It was a hit!

the sandlot-diy-outdoor-movie-night

the sandlot

3. Buy or Borrow A Projector
We have an awesome neighbor who let us borrow her projector. If you are lucky like us, ask nicely, and you won’t have to spend any money on the projector. If you want to invest in one (we are considering it after we realized how much fun movie nights are), there are some options here and here. We played the movie from Amazon Prime via our ipad. You will need a cord to connect to an apple device. Also, don’t forget a bluetooth speaker for great movie sound.

4. Serve popcorn and candy
A night at the movies isn’t a night at the movies without popcorn and candy boxes. We filled popcorn bags with popcorn, and more popcorn, and more popcorn. Everyone had their choice of candy, $1 each from Wal-Mart.

lightbox-now-showing-sandlot-popcorn-box-diy-outdoor-movie-night

5. Blankets, Blankets and More Blankets
We live in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, so it gets chilly at night. Everyone dressed in warm sweatshirts and sweatpants, and brought along a blanket or sleeping bag. We laid down picnic blankets, and the kids snuggled on top. You will need extra blankets for those who may forget, and for those who get extra cold like us! We rearranged some patio furniture in the back of the yard, so some kids got a seat off the ground. Make sure to have lots of extra pillows on hand. The kids wanted more and more pillows as the night went on.

diy outdoor movie night

6.  Have Bug Repellant On-Hand
Whenever outside camping or hiking (or in this case an outdoor move night), it’s good idea to have bug repellant on-hand. We love doTERRA’s TerraShield. Check for possible sensitivities, and share the bug repellant love.

7. Have A Dance Party Before Showtime
It doesn’t get dark until around 8:40 p.m., and the kids showed up early to the movie showing. To kill time, we had a dance party in the backyard. It was so fun! Kids showed off their amazing moves, and it got everyone laughing and moving before the movie. We used a bluetooth speaker, cell phone and our Spotify account to play some sweet jams.

8. Create An Experience
Like we mentioned, Jessica would have wanted to build a popcorn bar from scratch, create a theatre sign, etc. But since simple was the theme of the night, we used items we had on-hand to add that extra special touch. We set up our lightbox with The Sandlot words on it. We hung outdoor lights on the patio and outside dining table. Not only did it make it not so dark outside, but it also created a special ambiance. If you want to keep it easy and affordable, you can print fake money and have kids “buy” candy and popcorn, and fake tickets would be a nice touch, too. Be resourceful, and decorate with that you have. Keep it easy so you will want to host a movie night again!

now showing-the-sandlot-american-flag-lightbox

the sandlot-diy-outdoor-movie-night-american-flag

Happy summering, y’all. We hope you get outside to watch a movie under the stars.

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