Everything You Need to Host an Outdoor Movie Night!


Hosting an outdoor movie night during the summer is exciting and always fun! We’re sharing our guide and the best projector so you can host a charming movie night right in your backyard!

How do you host an outdoor movie night?

One of our favorite summer activities is watching movies outdoors! Hosting a summer movie night is such a rewarding and fun pastime. There’s something very nostalgic about it and it’s about the closest thing I can get to the classic drive-in I grew up going to. For our movie night we teamed up with our friends at Crate and Barrel, invested in an awesome projector and screen, and kicked off a new tradition creating incredible memories. We’ve now had countless outdoor movie nights, under the stars, all summer long. Kids and adults love this memorable activity!

What is the best projector for an outdoor movie night?

First step to creating a charming outdoor movie night is buying the right projector.

We actually went through and tested 5 projectors before we finally settled on the ViewSonic M1 Portable Projector with Harmon Kardon Speakers. It’s really small and the speakers are full-room audio. The picture, size and quality of the projector are incredible.

We hook the Firestick into it and can play movies from that, making it really easy. I bought this screen which is great for outdoors. I hang it on the side of the house. A giant blank wall works just fine too!

Supplies for an Outdoor Movie Night

Once you’ve purchased the screen and projector and have it all set up, set the mood and create the most comfortable outdoor atmosphere. Here’s a list of supplies below:

Palm Pillows  / Teak Lanterns / Outdoor Dinnerware / Outdoor Side Table / Acrylic Drink Dispenser  / Marble Tic Tac Toe Game / Teak Tray / Popcorn Bowls / Ice Chest / Outdoor Cups / Projector / Screen / Firestick / Holden Vase 

Have some poufs, blankets, plates, vases, outdoor side tables, lanterns and battery-lit candles. Also, trays and popcorn bowls, plates and napkins, ice chest. Crate and Barrel had everything I needed to create this entire outdoor movie party! Shopping guide below!

Timing is Important

Set the date for your summer party and remember, it has to be dark to view the movie outside. Make sure to check what time the sun goes down and schedule it around then.

You can see when the sunsets in your area using this tool.

What to serve for a movie night.

It’s not a movie night without candy and popcorn and one thing I love doing is mixing popcorn and candy together. Place bowls of delicious candy and popcorn on a tray for guests to make their own concoctions. One of my favorite combos is Milk Duds, popcorn and pretzels…so GOOD!

Fruit and a cheese plate is always nice to serve too. Just little bites that guests can nibble on while watching the movie.

How charming are the little individual popcorn bowls?!

Outdoor Movie Night Drinks

For drinks, have a signature cocktail, like these strawberry tequila sodas, some wine, water and of course old-fashioned sodas!

Here’s our guide for serving wine! 


Tip – always serve water when serving alcohol! 

To make it charming add in lemon, cucumber and mint!

Love the vintage charm this outdoor cooler brought to the party. It was perfect for keeping the wine and sodas chilled.

Using poufs with a large tray works as another side table for drinks and appetizers.


For extra decor, I always add flower arrangements to any party I host. You can do this by cutting foliage and flowers in your yard, putting together store-bought flowers or ordering from a local florist.

Also, lay a rug down and add cozy blankets and throw pillows to make it comfortable for guests.

The large teak lanterns and candles made a huge difference in the overall ambience of the movie night. There is nothing better than flickering candles under the stars. I highly recommend these ones from Crate. I have them set on an automatic timer and they come on when the sun sets every evening. Truly the BEST!! We had so compliments on the lanterns and candles too.

How can I make movie night more fun?

When you create a beautiful space, you instantly create a fun environment. It’s not often we get to lounge outside with giant pillows, trays of candy and drink old-fashioned sodas.

  • You can also have some yard games out in a separate area with market lights. Cornhole is always a fun!
  • Host a scary movie night – like our Halloween movie night.
  • Pick a theme for the movie night. If it’s a 70’s movie, have everyone dress up in 70’s clothes and make 70’s inspired food!
  • Have a fire pit and s’mores!
  • Make your own Italian sodas or ice cream floats!

What should I bring to an outdoor movie night?

Congratulations of being invited to an outdoor movie night! You should definitely bring something to the party, whether it’s a hostess gift or something fun everyone can enjoy!

  • Bottle of wine
  • Throw blanket
  • Bags of popcorn
  • Your favorite movie candy
  • Extra outdoor chairs if your hosts needs more seating

All about the Sweets!

To add to the charm of the event, we served ice over ice too! You could even make ice cream floats, which would be so fun for a movie night!

Movies to Watch Outside

Of course everyone has a different preference for what types of movies they like! In Los Angeles there are a lot of fun outdoor movie nights. Here is a list of the movies they show. It will give you some good ideas!

After all the work is done, sit back and relax! The most important part is have fun! If you host an outdoor movie night this summer, please tag us @sugarandcharm #sugarandcharm on all social. We would love to see!

vegetable and hummus pots
Next Story

Summer Picnic Food Ideas for Kids


Something charming to say?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


One response to Everything You Need to Host an Outdoor Movie Night!

  1. August 13, 2018

    An outdoor movie night sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.

Most recent posts

Sign up for the


Spamming is Never Charming