How to Host a Backyard Movie Night

Treat your family to your own picture show for less than it costs to buy tickets and popcorn. Here are some tips to create a blockbuster event.

Bamboo Campaign Chairs: Five Gold Monkeys, $165 // French Baskets: Black Door Studio, $195-$250 // Striped Poufs: Black Door Studio, $200 // Dash and Albert Rugs: The Ivy Cottage, $86-$142 // Jute Woven Rugs: Five Gold Monkeys, $125 // Oversized Pillows: Five Gold Monkeys, $150 Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

Location: The ideal outdoor theater is a dark area with access to a power outlet or extension cord. The area should be dark enough to fix any visual problems that may arise, such as glare. Nestle under some large trees, find a spot away from the city lights or even tuck behind a tall fence for the optimal viewing setup.

System Setup: A projector, video player and sound system are essential to the quality of your movie. Because prices vary, your budget and frequency of use will determine if buying or renting is right for you. Blue Rents in Mobile offers AV equipment rentals for a couple hundred dollars, or resale sites sell individual projectors and speakers for cheap.

Screen: Eastern Shore Inflatables in Daphne rents inflatable screens for a high-end night of fun, but a DIY may be just as effective. String rope between two tall trees, and clip the top edge of a drop cloth to the rope with heavy-duty clips. If a breeze is blowing, place heavy rocks or bricks at the base to ensure a taut surface, and you’ve rigged your own personal silver screen!

Seating: If you have plush grass, a few decorative rugs and throw pillows are just right for sitting directly on the ground. If your space is firm from concrete or gravel, elevated seating on lounge chairs or ottomans makes for a more comfortable setting.

- Sponsors -

Fresh Popcorn

Take your popcorn game up a notch with these three amazing flavors, quick to prepare with plenty of wow factor!

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
large pot with lid

Buffalo Ranch
4 cups popped popcorn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon ranch dressing powder
salt, to taste

Cookies and Cream
4 cups popped popcorn
6 ounces white chocolate, melted
15 chocolate cookies, crushed

Herbed Black Pepper
4 cups popped popcorn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
salt, to taste

1. In a pot large enough for kernel expansion, heat oil over medium heat. Place three kernels in pot and cover.
2. When test kernels pop, remove pot from heat and discard popped kernels. Pour in the remaining kernels and cover.
3. Return pot to heat and allow popcorn kernels to cook, shaking occasionally.
4. Once kernels begin popping, tilt the lid and keep heat on until popping stops.
5. Create the flavors above by coating in liquid mixtures and tossing in seasonings. Makes 4 servings.

Get the best of Mobile delivered to your inbox

Be the first to know about local events, home tours, restaurant reviews and more!