May 092016
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How to Throw an Outdoor Movie Party

Spring and summer are a great time to mix up your party styles. You can easily move your typical parties outside to enjoy some fresh air after being cooped up during the dreary winter months! One great way to have some fun outdoors is by hosting an outdoor movie party. If you need some tips on how to throw an outdoor movie party we’ve got you covered! These tips and tricks will have you set up and ready to go in no time; your party is sure to be the talk to the town and a big hit with all your family and friends!


  • Projector
  • Screen (Use a flat white garage door or the side of your house!)
  • DVD Player or Laptop
  • Movies
  • Speakers
  • Extension Cords
  • Snacks
  • Blankets (to sit/lay on)

Set Up:

  • You will need power before anything else! Decide where you are going to set up your screen and run some extension cords to that area but remember you need to be rather far out from the screen!
  • Set up your screen. You can use a projector backdrop, some white blankets pulled tight, or the side of the house if you have a light colored flat surface!
  • Position and focus the projector. You may need to hook up the DVD Player and speakers if you are not using your laptop to play the movie! If you are inviting a lot of people you will want to position your projector back further so you have more viewing space up front!
  • Do a test run! Play the first few minutes of the movie to make sure everything is running smoothly. Go back to the beginning and just pause the movie so all you have to do is press play when you are ready!
  • Lay out all your blankets and set up any chairs you might be using. This is the last step because it is much easier to set these up in the dark than it is to fumble with cords and small buttons on electronics!

Helpful Tips:

  • There are places you can rent projectors! You don’t have shell out serious money to buy one if you are only going to use it every now and again! Check out sites like ATS Rentals who have models starting at $58 for a one day rental!
  • You want a bright projector! If there is any kind of light near you like street lights, passing traffic, etc. the movie will be hard to see with a dim projector. If you are buying a projector to keep consider getting one that will be bright enough to do outdoor movie nights!
  • Don’t bother spending big money on inflatable screens, HD viewing equipment, etc. This is an outdoor movie night…its main purpose is to be a fun and new way to experience a movie! Don’t overthink it or overspend trying to make it overly cinematic; your family and friends will enjoy the experience they won’t be critiquing the quality of the picture!
  • Consider turning your movie night into a sleepover party! Let the kids set up their tents in the yard, make some s’mores, and they’ll have a blast watching from their sleeping bags all snuggled up with their friends!

Have you ever hosted an outdoor movie night? Do you have any tips or tricks to make it more fun or easier to set up?

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  112 Responses to “How to Throw an Outdoor Movie Party”

  1. Totally want to try this during the summer this year with my kids and was thinking maybe even a summer birthday party theme with this to be honest. So thanks for the suggestion here 😉

  2. Never hosted one before but I’d love to attend one.. we don’t really have them here I guess because it’s too hot, even during night-time sometimes.. either that or it’ll be raining #damntropics haha

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • They are so much fun! We set up little tents the last time so when the movie was over we just had to zip up our tents and the girls could go to sleep. So much fun!!

  3. Never hosted an outdoor movie night but I did watch The Goonies outdoors at the Glastonbury Festival many years back.

  4. We have not ever hosted an outdoor movie, but we have seen one. The idea for turning it into a sleepover is fun!

  5. We have done this a few times! It gets dark fairly early here so it’s quite easy to set up and get a movie in before it gets too late. Some of our favourite memories are curled up outside watching a movie.

  6. We love outdoor movies! The next move will be where we have space to spread out and do it. Right now we live in the city and have a small yard – bummer.

  7. I have everything but the projector. Now this might be a lot of fun during the summer and I’m sure the family would enjoy it.

  8. I have never done this, but what a great idea. I’m going to consider doing this for the grand kids Birthday party. They would love it!

  9. I never hosted anything like this before but the idea sounds like an awesome fun filled party for your nieces and nephews. I will have to try this with my family! Great idea for family fun! Thank you for posting!

  10. We’ve never hosted an outdoor movie night before, but we’re planning on hosting some once we move back to Arizona. We tried to do an outdoor movie night once, but a freak storm blew in and we had to quickly tear everything down and move our party inside.

    • We have never hosted one before either. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun though, so I want to!

  11. I’ve never hosted or been to an outdoor movie party, but it sounds like a ton of fun. I might have to do this with a few of my friends.

  12. Ong what a fun idea!!!! This will be so fun to do once the weather gets a tad bit warmer here!

  13. An outdoor movie party sounds like so much fun! We have a projector, so I think it’s time to put it to use.

  14. This is such a fun idea! We have a projector so we may have to do this one day!

  15. It is on like Donkey Kong this summer! We’ve been looking into getting a projector so we can do this.

  16. Now that would be a lot of fun! My backyard needs to be finished yet, but once it is I think we will have a celebration and do a movie out there that would be fun.

  17. Well geesh I never thought about renting a projector. This would be a great idea for our end of school summer bash – the teens will love it.

  18. These are honestly the best thing ever!! A camp we used to go to would have Beach Blanket movie nights on Friday and Saturday nights. They would put a screen up on the deck of the pontoon boat out on the water, and project the movie from the beach. Everyone would be in chairs or blankets on the beach and watch the movie. They always had a family feature first, and then a more grown up (but never too grown up) one that followed. And they would have a popcorn and candy floss machine too. Because it was a private campground, you could enjoy your movie with a cool beverage too. Our kids almost always fell asleep soon after the kid movie ended, and we would just let them sleep in their blankets while we enjoyed the second feature and then carry them back to the tent.

  19. I’ve always wanted to have an outdoor movie party! Thanks for all the suggestions!

  20. We just had an outdoor movie party at Disney this weekend! Sounds like a great idea for a summer night, we love movies

  21. This sounds like so much fun! Now I need to find a projector!

  22. We usually just go to our local park on the weekends where they host movie night for free. We just have to bring our own chairs and snacks.

  23. This looks like a great time, love the idea of an outdoor movie party!

  24. This really sounds like fun!! It kind of reminds me of drive in movies–oh how I miss those. I wish I had some place I could set up something like this–but I live in an apartment–Maybe I can convince one of my house owning friends to do this.

  25. We did an outdoor movie night a few summers ago. My husband brought our tv outside! LOL. Renting a projector would have been a much better idea.

  26. Sounds like a ton of fun. I doubt we’d be able to do this in my complex but its something I’d love to try this summer with the family!

  27. These are great tips! We have plans for an outdoor movie night in a few weeks and we can’t wait!

  28. I’m dying to get our own projector! We did buy a huge popcorn maker on wheels last year though and love it! Need the projector!

  29. This sounds like so much fun! I would love to get a projector and try this sometime myself. I love your excellent ideas.

  30. My parents did smoething like this when I was little for a birthday granted it was the 90s so not very high tech but still a really awesome idea. I love this! I would love to do this!

  31. This looks like a blast! What a fun Summer activity for the kiddos and even the adults!

  32. My kids would love an outdoor movie night. I wish my neighbors were not so close by though.

  33. Oh that would be so much fun! Great ideas. I think we could probably do this in our back yard.

  34. I’ve always wanted to have an outdoor movie with my kids. I just need to get a projector so that I can do this. It would be so much fun!

  35. An outdoor movie party is a fantastic idea. I know that we could put together a fun one over here now that the weather is nice.

  36. We have the projector… now to add your awesome ideas!!!! I cannot wait until the warm weather proves it’s here to stay!

  37. Outdoor movie parties are so much fun. We had a few last summer and the kids loved it.

  38. I will have to try this once the weather warms up a bit more. This is going to be a hit with the kids.

  39. That sounds like so much fun. I want to have one of these parties so bad!

  40. We are having a neighborhood movie night this summer. I need to get a projector!

  41. This looks like so much fun!! The weather is suppose to be great this weekend, might just have to throw an outdoor movie night party this weekend. My kids will love it.

  42. Ooh! We’ll have to do this before the Florida nights get too warm.

  43. this would be such a fun thing to do this summer! Kids would love it

  44. How much fun is that! We actually go to the drive in movies and love doing that.

  45. Wow that’s great idea! Outdoor activity is our routine every weekend.

  46. We’d do this before but just in our terrace. We don’t really have backyards to do this kind of thing. Great tips to keep in mind when I do have the chance to do this kind of thing.

  47. We’ve had these at our church for the kids. Outdoor movies are so much fun. Here in the south, we have to make sure we have plenty of protection from the mosquitoes.

  48. This looks so fun! We will certainly be trying this.

  49. I love outdoor movies and your setup was too cute!! Nice tips!!!

  50. How much fun!!! I was thinking about trying to do something like this for my nieces and nephews this summer.

  51. Need to find some vintage movies and get my friends together! Helpful post.

  52. Our neighborhood does this every Friday all summer long. The best part? They invite kids to decorate boxes to look like cars and to bring them to the movies. So now we have “drive in movie” nights. They are so adorable!

  53. We have a media room in our house where my youngest stepdaughter likes to bring friends for movie nights. I’ll have to implement some of these ideas for her sleepovers! 🙂 (I love outside, but now that we live in the south -ugh the bugs – even with the tiki torches).

  54. wow its interesting i will do it at my house
    and for sure my family and friends will enjoyed it

  55. This would be a fun during summer. Thanks for the tips.

  56. That sounds fun, especially during the summer season!

  57. My dad does outdoor movies during the summer! It’s so much fun and kids really love this! Great post

  58. Love it. This looks like great fun. In Florida, we would need to do this in the winter because of the mosquitoes.

  59. What a fun idea, I love the idea of having an outdoor movie party complete with popcorn in those cute containers.

  60. An outdoor movie night would be so much fun!! What a great idea for a family activity!

  61. That is a great idea . I remember one of the moms from my son’s class hosted this kind of party and it was fun!

  62. I love this idea! I am hoping that when we move we actually have a yard to do this in. I think it would be awesome for family time!

  63. Such a FUN idea for warmer days ahead. I think this would be fun for both kids & adults

  64. I have always wanted a good projector instead of having a Big screen tv. I dont know if that would be a good idea. So i could have a big movie party every night with my family haha

  65. This would be so much fun to do. I never thought about renting a projector! I’ll have to look into that!

  66. Now that we have our own backyard, I’d love to throw an outdoor movie party. This is a great idea. I know my kids would love to do this!

  67. Now you talking my language! Movies! Have I mentioned how awesome you are? Yes, great tips here

  68. I am so looking forward to this summer and one of the things on our bucket list is throwing an outdoor movie party. We can rent a projector through my mom’s work, and if all of our house selling/buying goes well, we can start planning our party soon!

  69. This sounds like it would make a great summer playdate for the kids.

  70. I’ve never hosted my own outdoor movie party, but I’ve been to plenty. It’s so much fun to sit outside, watching a great movie with friends, and eating popcorn.

  71. We went to an outdoor movie at a nearby park and it was so much fun. The weather was perfect.

  72. I’ve never planned an outdoor party before, it sounds so much fun. It will definitely bring people together, especially family and friends. These are helpful tips, thank you very much! It would be great to do this during the Summer. Camping afterwards would make it even more fun.

  73. They also make projectors for your laptop. If you are going to do it often you can invest in one.

  74. These are some cool tips.. My kids would love to have an outside movie party…

  75. This is a fun way to include kids friends to bring them over and enjoy a movie.

  76. My boys would love to do this. We would end up with the entire neighborhood in our yard. How fun.

  77. Movie nights are so much fun to get in family time. These are fantastic suggestions to make the most of the night.

  78. Our friends have a big projector that they put up and we go to their house to watch movies outside all the time — I love this!

  79. This is such a great guide, I think I might just do this next week. Thanks for the info!

  80. I think outdoor movie night is a great idea. It’s important to just keep it simple yet have the right equipment to give you a good viewing experience.

  81. I’ve never hosted an outdoor movie experience before, I was always that one guest at a living room movie session. But you definitely make it sound so doable! Thanks for the tips!

  82. These are great tips for throwing outdoor movie party. I love the idea of having an outdoor movie night and it is something I have never done before. This is definitely something we will be doing this summer. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  83. I love outdoor movie times. Especially now that the summer is coming up. Loves it.

  84. What an awesome idea! I wish I had a space to do it in the Summer!

  85. This sounds like so much fun! We love to hosts dive ins, where we project a movie over our pool. So much fun!

  86. these always look like so much fun. I so wish we had a big enough backyard to do this with my daughter & her friends

  87. All right!!! This is perfect timing! I’m all ready to dig out our projector for the summer!

  88. This is fantastic! I always thought it would be more work, but I bet I could set this up! Thanks for the idea!

  89. This is an awesome idea! So simple and inexpensive! I want to do this for all of our adult friends!

  90. This is an awesome idea. I bet my daughter and her friends would love to do this for the next sleepover.

  91. What a fun idea! I love outdoor movies. Especially on a beautiful sunny summer night

  92. I would love to setup a movie screen and throw a movie party for my kids. I will do it once the high summer heat passes. Such a fun idea.

  93. I love outdoor movies. It reminds of the drive-in theaters. Those are some really happy memories.

  94. I’ve never thrown an outdoor movie party before but now I want to!

  95. I’ve never done that but in the summer our city has movies outside for the kids. They have tons of fun with their mini-picnic watching the movies.

  96. This would be such a fun idea for our family lake trip week! I had never thought about it but we have everything already for it at the lake…. and it will be a nice relaxing evening after boating all day! Thanks

  97. My sister-in-law does this with her kids in the summer! We unfortunately do not have a space where we could set up a projector outside, but we enjoy doing it at others’ houses!

  98. It would be fun to set up a movie party in our backyard this summer, along with a fire pit and marshmallows!

  99. I love watching things outside. We have used a plain white sheet before to project films onto when we were camping with a large group.

  100. I bet this is so fun and I love the idea of outdoor movie with the gang.

  101. We have a big back yard and I’d love to play a movie for my son and his cousins some time this summer. What a fun idea!

  102. I think an outdoor movie idea would be so much fun!

  103. What a great idea!!! I would never have never even thought to do something like this.

  104. This is such a fun idea! It would be great for a birthday party or even a date night! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  105. This looks like such a fun party idea! My kids would love this!

  106. I love this party idea. Great for a sleepover!

  107. Great idea for a party!!! My sister and her friends would love this a lot.

  108. We call it backyard drive in. We have a projector and speaker that we invested in and invite our neighbors – we do one every Saturday during the summer as long as it isn’t raining.

  109. I have never do it outdoor..but sounds like a great idea indeed. We love BBQ party and great movies will be a lovely addition.