The drive-in movie theater is a destination that in my lifetime I watched slowly fade away. Gone are the days of laying in the back of a truck with your picnic dinner watching the big blockbuster with your friends and family parked on either side of you. But the magic of those nights doesn’t have to go anywhere! Create the same atmosphere by setting up your own backyard movie theater for your family and friends. Whether it’s a night of watching the stars under the stars, a Netflix binge for the record books or connect the Wii for a Mario Kart competition that will bring out the fast and furious in everyone from grandma to toddler. With a little bit of prep and the 4 S’s, screen, sound, seating and snacks, you can make your yard the place for memories this summer.
The screen is definitely the star of your outdoor movie theater. You have a few different choices when it comes to the outdoor screen. If you are planning on keeping this as a permanent fixture in your yard, buying a vinyl screen or even one of the available (and awesome) blow-up screens can be worth your money! They are a higher quality and will cost you less time in overall set up. But if you aren’t sure you are ready to invest in a brand new screen there are a couple of DIY options. You can attach a white flat sheet to a fence or exterior wall with tacks for a screen you can easily hang up and take down, or follow this awesome DIY for a better quality DIY screen.
As for the projector, there are many options out there ranging in quality. It all depends on the size, quality, and uses you are going to have for it. Beyond that you can look for one that is more specific to your needs. Looking for one with built in speakers? You’ve got it. Looking for one that has a built-in DVD player? They have that too! You can even get them with built-in streaming services to make things that much easier. They range in price, but most start out as low as $30.
Figuring out your sound system can be a difficult task. If your projection system doesn’t have sound, you’ll have to find another solution. If you are making your home theater a permanent part of your landscape, you can consider installing speakers around your patio or yard. If you are looking for a less permanent solution, a speaker system can be easily connected to your projector. You could even use an amp or speaker from the musicians in your home as an alternative with the right cord.
The seating can be as simple as your want it to be. You can chose to make your own theater seats like the ones you can find over at Not Just a Housewife. These can be a permanent feature in your backyard for movies or even just extra seating. You can even consider creating bean bags with durable outdoor fabrics or large floor pillow to lay on. If those options feel like too much extra effort, grab those beach chairs from the garage and some blankets to lay on and you are all set!
Snacks are the best part of watching movies! You can plan the night’s snacks based on the crowd! Know you have a classic movie watching crowd? Go with a popcorn bar with all the fixings anyone could want on popcorn including seasonings, candy, pretzels and cereal. If you are going for a more extensive spread, check out these recipes for a perfect night under the stars.
Let this summer be the best one yet and revisit your memories of summer nights and drive-in movies with your family and friends. Invite them over for snacks, laughter and of course...a good movie!