Film projector outdoors

Take advantage of the breezy summer evenings by hosting a movie night in your backyard. Reminiscent of the old drive-in theaters, enjoying a favorite movie in the fresh air is something that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Bring the drive-in to your backyard

It only takes a few pieces of equipment and your family and friends to make a summer movie night under the stars one that won't soon be forgotten.

Find the right equipment

The three crucial pieces of equipment needed to set up a movie night outside are a DVD projector, speakers and a screen. DVD projectors can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. If you hope to make starlit movie nights a regular occurrence, then a good projector is a worthwhile piece of equipment. However, if the event is more of a special occasion, then consider renting a projector and speakers, rather than committing to equipment ownership. There are a number of equipment rental services available online, and many party supply stores offer rental services as well.

Make a screen for your outdoor movie event with a flat, king-size bed sheet. Just tack the top and bottom of the sheet to two long, thin strips of wood. Hang the sheet from the side of your home or garage, with the weighted sides positioned on the top and bottom. This will keep your screen from wrinkling and distorting the picture during the best part of your favorite film.

When you're planning out your set-up, make sure you have extension cords, speaker cords and a table for your projector. The speaker cords need to be long enough that they extend back to the screen from the receiver. The extension cord should also be long enough to go from your home to the projector table.

If you decide to rent the equipment for the evening, don't hesitate to ask a service rep at the rental facility to help you plan out the schematics.

Nestle drumstickMake it a special event

Outside of the equipment, setting up for a movie night under the stars requires very little. Make sure your guests are comfortable by setting up beach chairs, blankets and pillows. Choosing the right movies to show is just as important as the set-up when it comes to making your guests feel comfortable. Choose family-friendly features -- you can even play old cartoons during the time leading up to the main event.

Involve your children in preparing for the event. Ask them to create and distribute tickets to all of your guests. Involve them in setting up a snack-bar for the evening, too. When you choose the refreshments for the evening, you can work in fun themes from the movie into the snack choices. Also, plan for a warm evening and have cool treats like Drumstick ice cream cones.

Remember to have plenty of the necessities for an evening outside, like bug spray and cool water. And just like at the movies, ask your guests to unplug for the evening, leaving all cell phones and other personal electronics inside.

tell us

What's your all-time favorite family movie? Share in the comments below!

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Comments

Comments on "Plan a summer movie night under the stars"

Shannon September 11, 2012 | 8:24 PM

My favorite all-time family movie is probably the Home Alone series. I know I know, it's old school, but it's a classic and I like watching it with my kids around the holidays. Thanks for the idea, watching movies outside definitely seems like something my family would enjoy!

Emily June 13, 2012 | 10:22 AM

What a FUN idea! I'm hosting a BBQ this weekend and would love to incorporate this into the mix. Even if it ends up being just for the kids, it'll keep them entertained for awhile! I never would have thought to do this - keep them coming!!

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