Warm summer evenings tempt us outside for barbecues and banquets, but why stop there? Bring back the pleasure of a night at the drive-in theater with a backyard film festival under the stars. Start with an affordable projector, a Bluetooth sound system, a DVD player or laptop and a screen, garage wall or even a sheet folded over a fence.
Be sensitive in your screening choices. If your film will be visible or audible to the neighborhood, limit your movie selections to G or PG ratings. Else, you may have to have “the talk” with your neighbor’s kids. *Awkward*
We set up director’s chairs in keeping with our film theme, but squashy beanbags would be fun, too.
Bring in a table for snacks and a cooler or bucket with ice for cold drinks. Don’t forget napkins and a cloth to wipe up any spills. Keep it tidy with a lidded trash container in the yard. It will also keep the bugs down.
This camping kitchen becomes a refreshment hub. The fold-out surface offers space to serve several guests at once. Plus it’s super easy clean-up.
Hot buttered popcorn is a film feetival staple. Wheel out a nostalgic machine for a constant supply that stays warm and fresh. Just try. Try and resist.
An old hardware bin holds nuts and candy that can be scooped into popcorn or enjoyed on their own. Walmart and online sources sell fun popcorn bags that round out the theme.
Set out a tray with nacho fixings. It’s easy, it will keep outdoors, and who doesn’t love nachos?
Nobody thinks health food when they go to the movies. Pile it on! The nachos, I mean. Movie calories don’t actually count.
Cool a selection of old-fashioned sodas in a tub of ice. Keep paper straws and a tray of glasses ready if needed.
Keep your film festival guests comfortable and safe with thoughtful touches that put their focus on the movie screen.
Ensure that paths and areas between seating and refreshments are bright. We used staked torches up high (citronella oil helps keep bugs at bay) and inflatable solar-powered lights on the ground.
Remove the danger of wires snaking all over the yard by bundling them with plastic zip ties. Secure with ground staples to prevent guests from tripping. Avoid any cords or cables across pathways, around seating or near refreshments.
Set up a surface within arm’s reach for holding drinks or snacks. Small tables, carts or overturned crates placed near or between each seat will do the trick. If you opt for blankets instead of chairs or beanbags, supply sturdy trays that will keep drinks steady on the ground.
Stave off evening’s chill with a pile of throws or quilts. Stack them on or in a crate near guests. Who doesn’t love just snuggling under a blanket and watching movies? Trust me, your film festival will be a hit!
© Caruth Studio