Backyard style: Easy ways to create a summer outdoor cinema for movie night
Whether it’s a summer dinner on the patio or getting homework done on a blanket set out in the yard, there’s just something about being outside that makes little everyday routines feel more special.
So, imagine the awe you’ll draw when you move your next family movie night out into the back yard. Yes, you can easily do this — even without a stage technician. (And, when it’s movie night in your own back yard, you don’t have to strategically sneak in candy to the theater).
Here’s your easy 5-step guide for setting up a cozy theater for a family — or neighborhood — movie night:
- Set up your screen: You can buy an 12 foot inflatable screen that is on sale for $169.98 at Wal-Mart or a Camp Chef Outdoor Movie Screen. If you’re crafty, you can build your own. You’ll need some flat sheets, a sewing machine, poles and rope. Just follow this tutorial from Pottery Barn. A backyard movie is more about the scenery and the ambiance than picture quality, so if you want to set it up on the fly, you can tack a white sheet to a fence.
- Get a projector: These bad boys can get pricey. So, before you invest in one, check to see if you can possibly rent a projector or borrow one from a friend or neighbor. Then, link it up with your Blu-Ray or DVD player. We found a portable entertainment projector from Brookstone for $299.99, plus 5 percent cash back.
- Pick a movie: Need suggestions for some classic family movies? Here’s 10 that will be a hit with the whole family: Toy Story, E.T., Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Babe, Tangled, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Princess Bride, The Goonies, Freaky Friday or Up.
- Make it comfy and decorate: Set out some blankets and sweaters in case it gets cool. If there are bugs in your neck of the woods, make sure you’ve got insect repellents available. Add comfort to your seating with chaise cushions or outdoor toss pillows from Pottery Barn. Add ambiance with some outdoor summer lights, like strings of clear bulbs and lanterns from Cost Plus World Market.
- Snacks and drinks: Create your own concession by arranging miniature candy bars on a serving tray and pop some popcorn. For an added “wow factor,” set up a retro popcorn maker from Cost Plus World Market in your back yard. It pops 8 cups at a time. Oh Happy Day (bookmark this blog!) has a free classic popcorn bag template that you can print right on to a thin, white paper bag. For drinks, set up a kid’s cooler with sodas and juices and an adult one for beers.
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