Do you want to host a backyard movie night but have no idea where to start? Trying to make a list of everything you need but feel overwhelmed? Outer has you covered!

We’re on a mission to bring life back outside, and that includes the typical indoor movie night! In this article, we’ll list everything you need to keep your guests well-fed, comfortable, and entertained.

From seating options to lighting and everything in-between, follow our guide below to make sure your outdoor movie night goes off without a hitch!

Everything You Need For Your Backyard Movie Night

Family having a backyard movie night

1) The Technical Stuff

You can’t host a backyard movie night without the technical goods, so this first step requires a little bit of planning.

Put simply, to show your movies you’re going to need:

  • A power outlet
  • A projector or large TV
  • A screen (if you’re using a projector)
  • Something to play your movie on, such as a laptop (or DVD player if you’re old school)
  • A sound system
  • Extension cords

There are a ton of options available for each of these items, so we’ll leave the research up to you. Just make sure you have audio, visuals, and electrics covered and you’ll be well on your way to the best movie night ever!

2) A Fun Theme

This step is optional, but it can make your backyard movie night extra fun, especially if you’ve got kids involved.

A theme can dictate how you plan the rest of your movie night — everything from what your guests wear to the snacks you serve and the decor set up in your backyard.

If you’re planning a Disney movie night, for example, encourage your guests to dress up as their favorite character, and provide snacks from your favorite Disney movies (we’ve always wanted to try those cookies from Alice in Wonderland).

If it’s close to Halloween and you’re brave enough to host a horror movie night, a spooky theme could be the perfect way to add some extra fun.

Enjoy getting creative with your theme, and see what ideas you can come up with!

3) Delicious Dinner

This step might be seen as optional too, but we’ll take any excuse to spend more time outdoors!

Preparing dinner for your guests before your movie starts is a nice way to welcome them into your backyard for the evening.

The key is to check in with your guests before planning your meal to make sure you’re aware of any dietary restrictions ahead of time.

Some of our favorite simple movie night dinners are this Goat Cheese, Fig, and Prosciutto Pizza (because you can’t go wrong with pizza) and this delicious Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad (a.k.a. summer on a plate!).

4) Snacks Galore

Tray of snacks for a backyard movie night
Source: www.simplymaderecipes.com

Once dinner is covered, it’s best to skip dessert and opt for classic movie-theater snacks instead!

Try getting a little fancy and assembling a movie night grazing platter with sweet and savory trimmings to please everyone.

This could include things like bite-size pieces of your favorite candy, salty treats (think pretzels), and even some fresh fruit to balance everything out.

Don’t forget your favorite fountain drinks and popcorn in mini popcorn buckets, of course!

5) A Selection Of Movies

The simplest way to choose your movie (or multiple movies) for the evening is to pick a few from each genre and narrow down your choices from there. Think rom-coms, action, thrillers, dramas, musicals, and choose your favorites (following your theme, of course).

If your movie night involves little ones, it’s probably easiest to select your movie options ahead of time to avoid any arguments over which Pixar flick you’ll watch first!

But if your guests are all level-headed adults, consider selecting a few movies and taking a vote.

6) Comfy Seating

Outdoor furniture set up for a backyard movie night

If there’s one thing not to skimp on when setting up your backyard movie night, it’s the amount of comfortable seating for your guests. You’ll want to make sure you have more than enough room for your friends to get cozy!

On top of creating a soft seating area on the floor or ground of your outdoor area (more on that in just a minute), provide your guests with plenty of couch space to lounge on, too.

One of our favorite seating options for a backyard movie night is our 6-Seater Teak Outdoor U Sectional. This spacious sectional sofa allows your guests to sit together without feeling cramped — there’s so much room to spread out!

For something a little cozier, try our 3-Seater Wicker Outdoor Sofa. It’s the perfect size for a few friends to sit on under the stars and enjoy a movie or two. It can easily be paired with extra armchairs to create a stylish set that’ll last you for many movie nights to come.

The best thing about all Outer sofas and sectionals is that they’re completely modular. You can take them apart and rearrange them in a variety of ways to suit your seating needs every time you have a movie night (or any other backyard gathering!).

7) Soft Furnishings

To complete your cozy movie night seating area, you’ll want to make sure you have almost too many pillows (is there such a thing as too many?) and a ton of soft blankets to keep your guests comfortable throughout the night.

Start by laying down a soft blanket or rug, like one of our Eco-Friendly Rugs. Not only are these rugs made from 100% recycled materials so you’ll feel good about helping the planet, but they’re also incredibly easy to clean and super low maintenance.

Add in a bunch of pillows and cushions for your guests to lounge on (both on top of your rug and on seating options such as the couch), and throw in as many blankets as you can get your hands on.

This is especially important if it gets cooler at night where you live or if you’re planning on indulging in a movie marathon where you’ll be outside for a long period (like tackling all the Harry Potter movies in one sitting!).

8) Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor patio furniture at night lit up by lights and a fire

While your movie screen will add a little light to your backyard, your guests may not be comfortable in the dark (especially the little ones!), so you’ll want to have another light source or two around your movie seating area.

We love the classic look of string lights. They’re inexpensive, easy to hang, and can be used for so many different occasions. You may even be able to leave them up year-round depending on your climate.

Outdoor lanterns are another lighting option that can bring a touch of warmth to your backyard. There are styles to suit every taste, and they’re easily transportable from one location to another within your outdoor space.

If you don’t have pets or kids running around, candles provide soft, ambient lighting that’s perfect for the relaxed vibes of a movie night with friends.

Alternatively, electronic candles can work just as well, and you don’t have to worry about them getting knocked over.

Extra Tips For Your Backyard Movie Night

Mom and daughter eating popcorn during a backyard movie night

Have A Plan B

Of course, Plan A is choosing the perfect night with a great forecast — not a drop of rain in sight. But it pays to have a Plan B up your sleeve, just in case, so your backyard movie night doesn’t have to be canceled because of inclement weather.

If possible, having a covered outdoor option is the perfect compromise in case of a light sprinkling of rain. That way, you’re still able to enjoy the outdoor cinema atmosphere without getting soaked.

In case of particularly bad weather, you may need to take your movie set up indoors. Hopefully, you won’t need to use this option, but weather can be pretty unpredictable. Be prepared to move the party inside if necessary.

Don’t Forget The Bug Spray

Nothing ruins the ambiance of a movie night quite like the sound of your guests slapping mosquitoes away!

Be sure to keep your friends comfortable with plenty of bug spray on hand. We also love bug repellent citronella candles and coils as a simple set-and-forget option that keeps the bugs at bay all night so you can enjoy your movie in peace.

Avoid Technical Difficulties

There’s nothing worse than planning the best backyard movie night, getting everything set up and ready to go, and then realizing your projector doesn’t work!

Be sure to set up for your movie night early enough to allow plenty of time for fixing technical issues and testing out all of your equipment well before your movie is due to start.

Take Your Backyard Movie Night To The Next Level With Outer

Outdoor furniture perfect for a backyard movie night

Now you’re ready to host your own backyard movie night! Follow the simple steps and extra tips in this guide and your friends will want you to host a movie night every week this summer.

Be sure to prepare plenty of cinema-style snacks, an abundance of pillows and blankets, and plenty of comfortable seating options, like our 6-Seater Teak Outdoor U Sectional or 3-Seater Wicker Outdoor Sofa.

Don’t skip the bug repellent and make sure your movie setup is working well before your guests arrive, and you’ll be a backyard movie night pro in no time!