Summer Party Idea: Throw a Movie Night With the Stars

Time for a movie sesh under the stars. Just add popcorn!

June is Great Outdoors Month, and for good reason. These warm summer nights are begging us to get out of our homes. So, while the nights are still balmy, why not throw a movie night with the stars? No, I’m not saying you should invite Leo DiCaprio. What I mean is, move the party outside and screen movies in your own backyard! Here are a few tips for making your cinema soirée a success:

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Make this DIY outdoor movie screen in less than an hour and turn your next outdoor get-together into a neighborhood movie night.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Create a Display

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen 01:31

Dan makes an affordable movie screen for outdoor spaces.

First things first: set up your theater. This video by designer Dan Faires shows you exactly how to transform your backyard into an outdoor entertainment center. Other good options include renting an inflatable screen or simply projecting the movie on a white drop cloth or large white wall.

Set up Seating

Chairs to Spare

Chairs to Spare

Extra seating is a party essential. These cute folding chairs help accommodate everyone while adding color to the space. And when the blowout is over, just collapse and store until your next event.

Colorful fold out chairs like these serve as both seating and lively party decor. Plus, they’re super easy to store for your next party. Toss a throw pillow on each chair to create a chic look and help your movie-goers feel comfy. If you want a more casual and cozy vibe, provide blankets for your guests and let them pick a spot to sprawl out.

Create a Classy Concession Stand

Original_Camille-Styles-Outdoor-Entertaining-Jars_s4x3_lg

Original_Camille-Styles-Outdoor-Entertaining-Jars_s4x3_lg

Rather than your average run-of-the-muck movie theater concession stand, create your own upgraded version. Cook up a variety of popcorn flavors like maple nut, salted stout caramel or even maple chili. Of course, what movie night would be complete without candy? Pick up a selection of classic movie theater candy or even make some of your own. Serve your treats in large glass apothecary jars with decorative labels and give your guests paper snack boxes to fill with their choice of goodies.

Buckets for Beverages

Buckets for Beverages

What's cooler than a cooler? A galvanized metal bucket, of course. Fill one with ice and bottles of your favorite brews or sodas. Another party perk? It's easy to see when supplies are dwindling, so you can stay on top of restocking duties.

For drinks, set out a large galvanized metal bucket filled with ice and glass-bottled sodas. Or serve up some homemade slushies (which you can easily turn into cocktails for the adults).

Light the Pathway

iStock-5607760_garden-path-lights_s4x3

iStock-5607760_garden-path-lights_s4x3

Once the movie starts, your backyard will be pretty dark, so guests may have trouble navigating their way to the concession stand for refills. Outline a path that leads to the snack table and the back door of your home using votive candles in glass jars, globe lights or rope lights.

And the Winner Is…

Outdoor Theater

Outdoor Theater

When the summer sun gets too intense, invite friends to join you for an after-dark movie night. Hook up a projector to your laptop computer, then display a favorite summer flick on a screen or empty wall. Movie buffs of all ages will love a laid-back evening under the stars.

To get the word out about your awesome movie night, send electronic invitations to your friends. In the invite, include a link to an online survey with 10 movie choices. Tell your guests to vote for the movie they’d most like to see. On the day of the event, send out a mass text or email to announce the winner. Not only is this a fun way to get your invitees involved in the party planning, it also reminds them of that night’s event! Once everything is prepared, all that’s left is to sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Outdoor Party Extras

See All Photos

Shop Related Products

Keep Reading

Next Up

Make a Splash and Throw the Ultimate 'Finding Dory' Party

The fun shouldn’t have to end when the credits roll! We’ve got tropical-inspired party ideas for both kids and adults.

Hilary Duff's Top Stress-Free Summer Hosting Tips

Why stress when you could be drinking wine in the sunshine?

10 Backyard-Ready Ideas for Summer Entertaining

Give your backyard a warm-weather boost.

5 Ideas for Summer Entertaining Made Easy

Take your outdoor summer soiree from just fun to fun-tastic with these 5 clever ideas.

5 Custom Cocktails You Need This Summer

For your next summer party, upgrade from plastic coolers and drink mixes to custom cocktails that are easy to make and even easier to enjoy.

One More Desktop Download for Summer

Autumn may be inching closer, but I'm still in sunny summer mode and so is my iPhone. 

4 Grilling Recipes You'll Want to Try This Summer

Try these easy and delicious grilling recipes at your next summer barbecue.

10 Ways to Summer-ify Your Home

It's time to swap out the bed linens.

22 Signs You're Ready for Summer. Now.

You're dreaming of sandcastles, ice-cream trucks and sandy beach chairs. You've got summer fever. And you've got it bad.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts