How to Host the Best Backyard Movie Night - Pier 1


Backyards provide the ultimate place to entertain, and during warmer months, everyone loves to stay outside long into the night. When skies are clear and the temperatures are right, gather friends and family for a backyard movie night.

Hosting friends outside for a movie requires a bit of preparation but is definitely worth the effort.  Here, we’ll go over everything you need to plan a backyard movie night everyone will love.

1.Set Up Your Outdoor Screen

First, if you’re planning to show a movie outdoors, you need to set up an outdoor screen. You can use an actual projector backdrop for this, or an easy DIY option is to use a thick white bedsheet or curtains. Pin these to an existing exterior wall or use two poles and rope to fasten the bedsheet or curtains to a tree. Be sure to set your projector on a flat surface so the show appears level.

2.Arrange Comfortable Seating

Seating arrangements for a movie night under the stars are always fun to plan. Instead of the usual family room setup, an outdoor space allows you to get creative with your seating. Mix your existing outdoor furniture to create comfortable seating for all your guests. Stagger outdoor sofas and outdoor benches with chairs and bean bags. This is also a great time to utilize small accent tables that are low to the ground for guests’ drinks and snacks.

3.Cue the Theater Lights

Ambient lighting is key to making the yard feel like a movie theater. Since you want to be sure everyone can see the movie clearly, add lighting elements that are not overly bright. Lanterns with candles, globes, or the delicate illumination of twinkle lights add subtle glows and contribute to the overall mood.

4.Pick Your Movie

When selecting your feature presentation, you have a couple of options. You could go with a classic that you know everyone always loves to watch, or you could have guests cast their movie vote ahead of time. Anticipation builds when you have people vote for their movie of choice beforehand, and you wait to announce the winner until they arrive the night of the show.

5. Plan Tasty Snacks and Drinks

While movies are entertaining to watch, one of the most pleasurable parts of going to a movie is the chance to indulge in yummy snacks and drinks. The same is true for an outdoor movie night. You can keep your snack and drink offerings as simple, or involved, as you’d like.

One exciting way to create an at-home movie theater feel is by setting up your own concession stand. Classic movie snacks like popcorn and candy are absolute musts, but you can also expand your menu since you’re at home. Warm pretzel bites with cheese dip, a s’mores station, or any small bites you’d like to share with friends and family will add to the outdoor enjoyment. 

Use a console-style cart to arrange your snack assortment and if you need more room, try including a tiered metal basket that will keep the candy boxes neatly displayed. Remember to stack enough outdoor dinnerware for all your guests so they can easily serve themselves. Melamine bowls and plates are ideal for popcorn and other scrumptious movie snacks, and stemless tumblers work well for wine and other beverages.

Speaking of beverages, be sure to include a beverage station with plenty of options for drinks. An easy way to create a self-serve situation is to fill a cooler with boxed juices and canned sodas or other movie night beverages.

Another good idea is to create a basket for each family or person coming to the movie night. Prefill each basket with popcorn, candy, sodas, and cloth napkins so each guest has everything they need and can easily carry it to their seats.

To make cleanup easier, set up a trash can for guests to dispose of candy wrappers and empty drink bottles or cans. You’ll thank yourself later for thinking ahead!

6.Up the Cozy Factor

A highlight of hosting a movie in your own outdoor theater is the ability to make it extra cozy. To really turn up the comfort level, there are many things you can do that are easy and impactful.

Start by placing outdoor rugs around the seating area. Mix and match different sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns for a fanciful look. This look not only creates more places for people to sit, but also adds warmth to the environment.

Next, pile pillows on each rug to invite guests to settle into a comfortable position on the ground. Mix oversized pillows with all different colors and textures. Kids aren’t the only ones who love to relax on these setups.

For a final comfy touch, place throw blankets with the pillows to encourage an even cozier ambiance.

There is nothing better than spending a comfortable night outdoors enjoying an open-air film with friends. Whether you need a few items to turn your yard into a cozy theater or want to truly transform your space, Pier 1 has all the stylish pieces you need to host a memorable outdoor movie night.

Download our customizable invitation to get your guests excited for the good times ahead!

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