Outdoor Movie Party At Home [How To Have a Summer Movies Night Party]

An outdoor movie party at home is a fun summer party idea or great for an outdoor sleepover! Here are great ideas for your backyard movie night at home for summer, driveway party ideas, neighborhood parties, outdoor movie birthday party ideas, or even a fall outdoor party.

outdoor movie party at home outdoor movie screen in front of outdoor movie seating with bags of popcorn on seats

How To Throw An Outdoor Movie Party At Home

Summer movies and family movies are great themes for an outdoor party for guests of all ages and even makes a fun sleepover party outside! These ideas can be adapted for a kid outdoor movie party or an all adult outdoor movie party!

Here’s how to create your own backyard drive-in movie party or have a summer movie night in your backyard, plus what to include in your outdoor movie night checklist…

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How do you host an outdoor movie night?

Outdoor Movie Must Haves:

  • Outdoor movie night equipment
  • Outdoor movie screen
  • Movie projector
  • Laptop or phone
  • Casual outdoor movie seats / outdoor movie night furniture (have a bring your own chair for stress free setup!)
  • Twinkle lights
  • Movie-themed games
  • Snacks for outdoor movie night (think typical movie food for outdoor movie party like a DIY popcorn bar)
  • Movie drinks
  • Bucket of refreshing beverages
  • Extra sunscreen and bug spray
  • Fun invitations for a movie party

See the full ideas for outdoor movie night below. Keep scrolling!

What are good ideas for a movie night?

Tips for outdoor movie night:

  • Make it an outdoor movie themed party! Create a theme around the movies you’re showing and use movie theme decorations and food.
  • Consider an outdoor movie night backyard fire pit for roasting hotdogs and s’mores.
  • Provide outdoor party activities like lawn games guests can play until it gets dark enough for the movie.
  • Have bug spray available (or remind guests to bring their own on the movie party invitations).
  • Have an alternate plan for movie night outside in case of inclement weather and you need to move the party indoors or under a party tent like this.
  • Send fun outside movie night invitations (either paper invitations or online). I love these ticket coupon invitations and also these birthday movie party invitations.
  • Decorate with twinkle lights strung around the food area and over the seating, if possible.
  • Have kids coming? Make it an outdoor pajama party theme!
  • Hot summer night? Make it an outdoor movie night with kiddie pools for guests to stick their feet in while watching the movie! (This makes such a fun pool movie night party and it just takes some cheap blow up baby pools like this!)

See more outdoor movie night ideas and outdoor movie night must haves recommendations below!


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How To Watch A Movie Outside During The Day

The best way to watch a move outdoors during the day is to create a shade with umbrella or a tent. Then, you will need to adjust your screen brightness up or down, based on the best way to see a movie during sunlight. However, the best way to have a private outdoor movie screening party is to have movie themed foods and movie games guests can play until it gets dark. Then, show the movie outside once the sun starts to go down.

How do you do a movie night party with popcorn in brown paper cones sitting on bales of hay

How do you do a movie night party?

What’s better than watching a great movie on a warm summer night? Doing it with friends and family, of course!

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to entertain your loved ones, why not try hosting an outdoor movie party right in your own backyard? Outdoor movie parties are fun for guests of all ages!

Here are outdoor movie night ideas at home…

Ideas For Outdoor Movie Party

Outdoor movie party ideas:


You will need an outdoor movie night projector. Search outdoor movie party near me rentals (there are companies that do outdoor movie party rental supplies) or you can purchase your own like this, which may be cheaper if you plan on using the projector multiple times.

There are many different projector for outdoor movie night, so make sure you get the one that works with your laptop and/or phone (or whatever you’re using to show the movie) and any other outdoor movie night accessories you need for showing the film.

[See A List of Outdoor Movie Projector Ideas]


To save money on a screen for your backyard movie party ideas, use a white sheet stretched across a fence or the side of the house. However, outdoor screens are super affordable now and may be worth purchasing one like this.

(Also, look for projector movie night ideas kits that include everything you need!)


Test out your outdoor movie night set up days before the party and then again a few hours before the party. Some movie projector cameras can be finicky and may require special adapters.

Be sure you have them all and test them out before the party! (There’s nothing worse than having an entire party waiting for a movie to start and then to have a delay due to technical difficulties.)


Think about sound and speakers for outdoor movie night. Projectors often have built-in speakers, but if you have a large crowd you may need additional sound movie options. (This movie project kit comes with everything, including projector, speakers, screen, and adapters.)


Decide on what to show for your movie in backyard. (Don’t forget to rent or buy the movie!)

Make sure to pick a flick that everyone will enjoy and that is appropriate for the ages of your guests. If you’re not sure what to watch, consider a classic family movie.

The best movies for outdoor movie night are the ones that can be shown to all your guests, so take ages into consideration!




If you’re showing multiple movies at your movie night outdoor party, take an intermission in between so guests can stretch their legs, talk, and get movie snacks.


Outdoor movie night decorations can be simple: twinkle lights, movie theme products, and a NOW SHOWING board is all you need!


On your outdoor movie party invitations, recommend that guests bring a lawn chair, bug spray, and a sweater or light, outdoor blanket in case it gets chilly!

Outdoor Movie Night Seating Ideas

Outdoor movie night DIY should include lots of different seating options. On the invitation, you should ask guests to bring their camping or lawn chairs, but you should also provide different movie seating options spread in front of the movie screen. Put taller lawn chairs and camping chairs in the back and then spread picnic blankets and outdoor cushions on the lawn in front of the screen.

The goal for seating for outdoor movie night should be to offer a variety of movie seats for all different comfort levels!

These are really fun for outdoor movie night chairs.

What should I make for a movie night at home?

Outdoor movie night food ideas:

BEST Outdoor Movie Party Ideas

40 Best Movies for an Outdoor Movie Night for a Variety of Ages

What movies you show for your outdoor party movies will depend, of course, on the guests’ age ranges. We’ve listed a variety of great movies for your outdoor film party, but be sure to check the movie ratings and that they’re appropriate for your guests.

OUTDOOR MOVIE PARTY TIP: List the movies you’re showing on the invitation, that way parents can decide if they want to bring the kids or leave them at home!

What can I show for a movie night at home?

Movie night backyard ideas:

  1. The Goonies
  2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  3. National Lampoon’s Vacation
  4. The Sandlot
  5. Alice In Wonderland
  6. The Princess Bride
  7. Adventures In Babysitting
  8. Jaws
  9. The Outsiders
  10. Stand by Me
  11. The Karate Kid
  12. The Wizard of Oz
  13. Ghostbusters
  14. Toy Story
  15. Back to the Future
  16. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  17. Despicable Me
  18. Hocus Pocus
  19. The Little Mermaid
  20. Grease
  21. The Lion King
  22. The Hunger Games
  23. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  24. The Sound of Music
  25. Dirty Dancing
  26. Pretty Woman
  27. Top Gun
  28. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  29. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  30. Jurassic Park
  31. Harry Potter
  32. The Shawshank Redemption
  33. Forrest Gump
  34. Titanic
  35. Avatar
  36. The Empire Strikes Back
  37. Return of the Jedi
  38. The Lego Movie
  39. Up
  40. Minions

Tried a party idea or have your own tips for how to host a movie night? We’d love to hear your outdoor movie theater party ideas!

Enjoy your outdoor movie party at home!

DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used on this site. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please refer to our DISCLOSURE.

About the author

Friends have called Jackie the "Midwestern Martha" [Stewart] because of her 20 years of over-the-top theme parties, super fun sleepover tips, and fun theme recipes.

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