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.
How To Throw A Backyard Outdoor Movie Party At Home (Best Outdoor Movie Night Party ideas)
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!
How do you host an outdoor movie night?
How to do an outdoor movie night at home?
- Outdoor movie night equipment
- Outdoor inflatable movie screen movie screen / portable screen / projection screen alternative (see budget-friendly tip and screen ideas below)
- Movie projector / portable projector
- Laptop or phone
- Casual outdoor movie seats / outdoor movie night furniture (have a bring your own chair for stress free setup!)
- Twinkle lights / string lights are great for successful outdoor movie night!
- Movie-themed games
- Snacks for outdoor movie night (think typical movie food for outdoor movie party like a DIY popcorn bar) – don’t forget hand sanitizer and wipes!
- Movie drinks (themed 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 for easy ways how to create your own backyard drive-in movie party / night at the movies party, or have a summer movie night in your backyard, plus what to include in your outdoor movie night checklist, best projector for home use, and outdoor movie must haves for your outdoor theater…
What are good ideas for a movie night?
Here are fun ideas for a family movie night under the stars or for hosting your own outdoor movie night party!
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 making 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) as party of your must-have items.
- 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, for ambient light.
- 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, tips for movie night birthday parties, and outdoor movie night must haves recommendations below!
AFTER THE MOVIE NIGHT OUTSIDE IDEAS, CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FUN OUTDOOR PARTY IDEAS – A GREAT WAY TO ENJOY OUTDOOR PARTIES!
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 on a large screen.
It’s like a drive in movie birthday party at home without cars!
Read on for more great ideas for backyard movie night!
How do you do a movie night party?
How do you plan an outdoor movie 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, including outdoor movie party decorations, foods for movie parties, and more!
Ideas For Outdoor Movie Party
If you’re wondering how do I put an outdoor movie in my backyard, this is it!
PRO PARTY TIP: Start setting up way earlier than the party starts. You’ll need plenty of time to work out technical issues and get the rest of the party set up!
Outdoor movie party ideas and how to do a movie party at home:
1. GET A MOVIE PROJECTOR.
You will need an outdoor movie night projector. Search outdoor movie party near me rentals or backyard movie party rentals (there are companies that do outdoor movie party rental supplies) or you can purchase your own new projector 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.
Also, consider your power source. Do you have one close to the projection area?
EXPERT PARTY TIP: Don’t forget to pick an industrial extension cord or two. You’ll definitely need them!
See A List of Outdoor Movie Projector Ideas to help you decide on the best outdoor projectors for your party.
2. MAKE A DIY MOVIE SCREEN.
Next you’ll need an outdoor projector screen. You can get a screen for movies two ways: buy a screen or make a DIY screen.
To save money on a DIY screen for your backyard movie party ideas, use a white sheet stretched across a fence, a white wall, or on a flat surface like like the side of your house. This is a great option, but outdoor screens and inflatable screens are super affordable now and may be worth purchasing one like this for outdoor use (especially if you plan on doing more outside movie parties in the future!).
PRO PARTY TIP: Look for projector movie night ideas kits that include everything you need like projector and outdoor screen.
3. TEST YOUR OUTDOOR MOVIE SETUP!
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.
I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve had trouble with generic adaptors for a projector to a Mac laptop, so be sure to check that out. You may need to stick to the name brand adapters made specifically for the brands you are using!
Be sure you have them all and test them out well 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 and the wrong hdmi cable. Ask me how I know!)
4. CONSIDER MOVIE SOUND.
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.)
5. CHOOSE YOUR BACK YARD MOVIES.
Decide on what to show for your movie in backyard. See our list of movie recommendations below, including outdoor movie night kid friendly moves.
(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 in the Rate G to Rate PG range.
The best movies for outdoor movie night are the ones that can be shown to all your guests, so take ages into consideration!
6. SCHEDULE PARTY TIME AND INTERMISSION.
Fun outdoor movie night movie ideas:
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 at your DIY snack bar!
7. KEEP BACKYARD MOVIE DECORATIONS SIMPLE.
Outdoor movie night decorations can be simple: twinkle lights, votive candles in candle bowls, movie theme products, and a NOW SHOWING board is all you need!
Any movie themed party ideas work for movie night decor ideas outdoors.
8. LET YOUR GUESTS KNOW WHAT TO BRING ON THE BACKYARD MOVIE INVITATIONS.
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.
(You definitely don’t want to get caught without enough seating for your outdoor movie event!)
On the invitation, you can 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 for kids or those who want to lie down.
Ask your kids what they would like for backyard movie night ideas for seating! They may come up with some creative things you didn’t think of!
Ideas For Seats For Outside Movies:
- Lawn chairs
- Camping chairs
- Outdoor couch
- Large seating cushions on ground
- Picnic blankets with decorative throw pillow
- Adirondack chairs and foot stools
- Foldout lounge chairs
- Sleeping bags
- Camping mattresses as chairs
- Inflatable couch / inflatable chairs like this
- Pool floats (you can even make this a movie pool party)
- Yoga mats or workout mats
- Small rugs
- Pillows of all sizes
- Double loungers
The goal for seating for outdoor movie night should be to offer a variety of DIY movie seats for all different comfort levels! Mix and match seats!
If you have a large guest list, you can always use an outdoor movie seating rental company for chairs.
PRO PARTY TIP: These are really fun for outdoor movie night chairs.
Outdoor Movie Party Seating Tip: Have a basket of blankets available near the movie seats in case party guests get chilly!
What should I make for a movie night at home?
These are fun for a backyard movie night birthday party or even just an outdoor movie night with family! You can make a mini concession stand or snack stand with a few easy movie foods.
Outdoor movie night food ideas:
- Popcorn (this is a super fun idea for outdoor movies parties!)
- Popcorn bar with different toppings like this
- Candy bar with classic movie snacks like Junior Mints, Sno-Caps, Reeses Pieces, Raisinets and more.
- Cookie and brownie platters
- Hot dog bar with hot dogs and toppings
- Nacho bar
- Movie theme snacks (based on the movie you’re showing, like if you’re showing Willy Wonka, have a bunch of Wonka candies!)
- Colored chocolate popcorn
- Cotton candy
- Hot chocolate bar (if a fall movie night)
- Infused water or lemonade bar (if a summer movie night) or bottled water
- Toffee popcorn
- Homemade kettle corn
- Easy DIY graze platter
If you’re doing a movie themed birthday party for a child’s birthday party, you can do a movie cake or cupcakes for your child’s movie favorite!
40 Best Movies for an Outdoor Movie Night for a Variety of Ages
How To Have a Summer Movies Night Party
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.
Just think about your favorite movies for the backyard movie night ideas!
OUTDOOR MOVIE PARTY TIP : List the movies you’re showing on the movie 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?
Here are some recommendations for your cinema under the sky outdoor event.
Again, if children are coming to your party, ask kids their favorite things to watch and consider some of those films! You want them to enjoy the movie experience, too!
PRO PARTY TIP: For a family event, consider two films – a G-rated or kid-friendly short movie or cartoon to open and then a feature film movie for everyone for your outdoor cinema.
40 Movie Night Backyard Ideas For Movies
- The Goonies
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- National Lampoon’s Vacation
- The Sandlot
- Alice In Wonderland
- The Princess Bride
- Adventures In Babysitting
- The Outsiders
- Stand by Me
- The Karate Kid
- The Wizard of Oz
- Toy Story
- Back to the Future
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Despicable Me
- Hocus Pocus
- The Little Mermaid
- The Lion King
- The Hunger Games
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- The Sound of Music
- Dirty Dancing
- Pretty Woman
- Top Gun
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Jurassic Park
- Harry Potter
- The Shawshank Redemption
- Forrest Gump
- The Empire Strikes Back
- Return of the Jedi
- The Lego Movie (I love this as a party movie that everyone will enjoy!)
- Up (or Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs)
ALSO TRY THIS BACKYARD PARTY IDEA: HOW TO HOST AND OUTDOOR ICE CREAM PARTY
This party theme is so much fun for the whole family!
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!