How to Host a Backyard Movie Night


How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

So. We’ve hosted two of these backyard movie shindigeroos so far, and I have just one thing to say:


Just kidding. Although now of course I’m dying to watch Annie outside.

These are so much fun! SO.MUCH.FUN. And so easy to pull off! Much easier than I expected. Well, let me rephrase this:

Once I jumped through the grueling hoops of convincing Aaron that it IS an easy thing to pull off, once HE figured it all out, then it was in fact – easy.

Here, I’ll show you.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step one: and this is very important to the success of your movie night: find two cute kids in black and white bathing suits to chow down on watermelon next to the chalk art movie poster in the blasting dragon breath heat.

(^^^adorable photo by Sarah)

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step two: also crucial to your movie night triumph: find a darling, squishy baby to cuddle up next to a kiddie pool, thus causing your ovaries to spontaneous combust into flames, producing the irrational desire to have 16 thousand more babies.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step three: set up a thrifted race car track with vintage Hot Wheels for a guaranteed 75% testosterone entertainment, and 25% estrogen. Guaranteed. Maybe.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step four: you can obviously see how these steps make or break your movie night experience: gather your best gal pals for an afternoon of yard hangin’, wine spritzin’, toddler wrangling, pizza grubbin’, and wine spritzin’. Oh I already said wine spritzin’? Oh.

And wine spritzin’.

(bee tee dub:: rosé + watermelon la croix + 2 ice cubes + spash of rose lemonade + one fresh chunk of watermelon = yes ma’am goodness gracious slap me before I faint.)

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step five: take an obnoxious amount of photos and snaps and photos and photos and snaps and snaps and snaps.

It’s WHO I AM leave me alone.

(Sarah has the opposite inceptiony photo here.)

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step six: CANDY. A ridiculous, stupid insano amount of candy. And this isn’t even half of it, you guys. Ugh. And popcorn! I forgot to photograph the popcorn because a) it wasn’t out yet, and b) we ate it all.

(^^^candy photo by Sarah)

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step seven: and you can do this part early in the day, which I guess would be step one. Or step zero? Never mind. Nail or tack a white sheet to a flat surface. We nailed ours to our outside bedroom wall. Ha! And I will say this – I read that you should iron the sheet first, so that your movie isn’t wrinkled. But I totally skipped that part because hello, no. No time. And guess what, the movie looked just fine! I saw zero wrinkles during the eyeball consumption of either movie. So there.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step eight: once the sun has slightly set and the temps aren’t so scary lethal on the equipment, set up your rig! We used a guitar amp for sound, but you can honestly use any sort of speaker or amp you have. (A Bose would even work. They did not pay me to say that. I’m just looking at mine right this second and thought I’d tell ya.) Just something that produces decent sound, yo.

You’ll need your amp, a laptop, a projector (I bought an old Toshiba from a girlfriend), and few cords. If you buy a new projector, the cords will come with it, and you won’t need to wrangle the stuff I’m about to tell you. But just in case, I’ll tell ya!

Let’s look at the next photo, ‘mkay?

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

So this is the breakdown:

  1. Projector – like I said, this is an old Toshiba, but you can find a ton on Amazon. So, one cord is the electric cord, duh, headed to your electric source – duh.
  2. The other cord to the left is a VGA computer cord (the black one, and Aaron told me those words just now), which attaches to the…
  3. DONGLE. hahahahaha. That little white connector thingy is seriously called a DONGLE. I need to meet the person who invented this name and high five/maybe kiss him.
  4. Your laptop. Which you’ll use to rent a movie or slap in a DVD or whatever.

And that’s eet!

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Oh! And this is very, very important. Have a hammock so that kids can climb in and pick their noses and bonk their heads and cry.

Glad we’re straight on that.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

I mentioned having candy, right?

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

And then you just wait for the sun to go down! Light some tiki torches. Light some candles. Arrange a crap ton of blankets and pillows and candy bowls and popcorn buckets in the grass. Refill your rosé spritzer. Refill it again. Admire your husband’s chalk art work. (<–free hand, y’all. that’s KC art school results raht thar.) Play some old school (I mean skool) hip hop for the kids to dance to. Take more photos. Obvs.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Step sixty four: watch as vicious little children disrupt your beautifully crafted blanket arrangements as you cry into your drink. Thanks, Will. Go to bed.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Would you believe that’s Natalie in the middle? She looks like an old man in this photo with her hair wet and slicked back. Aunt Carolyn spent a good thirty minutes with her in the bathtub combing out those janky dreads she’s been sportin’. This is also a key step in the success of your movie night. Have no toddler tangles. Or else.

One more thing! And this is VITAL. Remember to trim your hedges, or else movie night may very well be ruined forever.

(^^^fun/slightly creepy photo by Sarah)

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

Aaaaand there’s Pee Wee. And nightfall. And a FREAKING BAT that kept swooping down trying to eat our necks.

I should mention, all the husbands were at Boulevardia during the day, but they joined up right when the movie started. I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know.

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night / Bev Cooks

There you have it! Seriously, make this happen. It is SO worth it. We’re taking the projector to Fayetteville next weekend for the holiday and I’m already completely dying to experience it again. Also, you can get crazy fancy (read: expensive) with projectors, but you could also maybe look into library rentals, or school projectors. And there’s always Ebay. See how I’m trying to help save you money? That’s what I do.

You guys, it is magical, fun, dreamy, milk duddy, moonlit-y – everything! You just have to do it.

The end.

Let me know if you have any questions.

The end again.

P.S. refill that rosé spritzer already.

The end for real.





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16 Responses to How to Host a Backyard Movie Night

  1. Nicole George June 23, 2016 at 10:55 am #
    How fun! Definitely love how easy husbands make things ;) Great idea though, we will definitely be trying this this summer! Thanks for sharing, bet
  2. Nicole George June 23, 2016 at 10:56 am #
    And by Bet, I mean Bev ;)
  3. Amber | Loves Food, Loves to Eat June 23, 2016 at 11:42 am #
    Let's go to the moooovies! Let's go see the staarrrs! Let's go to the movies ANNIE!! best movie ever.
  4. CM June 23, 2016 at 12:12 pm #
    This looks soo fun! Quick question on the spritzers...when you say rose lemonade, what do you mean? I have seen sparking pink lemonade (like the Italian soda) and just pink lemonade. Thanks!!!
    • Bev Weidner June 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm #
      Sure thing! It's this::: I think Sarah picked it up at World Market, if you have one of those!
  5. Dee @ The Kitchen Snob June 24, 2016 at 10:40 am #
    Looks like great fun! Ok, Debbie Downer question here. My first thought was, how do you stay outside at night without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes? I can't even go out and get the mail without getting bitten. Or do you just douse yourself in bug spray?
    • Bev Weidner June 24, 2016 at 11:09 am #
      Well, we have bug spray on hand for SURE, but I also have these awesome tiki torches that hold citronella oil in it, and it really helps! Hope you try it! (and douse yourself in bug spray. ;))
  6. January 27, 2017 at 3:22 am #
    It's great to find an expert who can explain things so well
  7. The Outdoor Guy July 4, 2019 at 1:53 am #
    The projector coupled with some nice outdoor speakers will defs make for an authentic outdoor movie experience thanks for the article! Im going to give it a try and with such convenient sized projectors nowadays, can make a pop up drive-thru where ever you go.
    • Jeff July 4, 2019 at 1:55 am #
      Can always get some decent wireless outdoor speakers and then you would never need to cart around speakers, well that's at least what I do. Good stuff!


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