I started creating ideas such as this ultimate fall outdoor movie night as a fall spin on my original Halloween movie night post as a way to be intentional about doing fun things as a family this season. Every year I feel the pressure from society to do all of the wonderful fall activities from pumpkin and apple picking to pumpkin carving, and more. While I LOVE all of those things, I’ve found myself feeling the pressure to do all the fall things and get all the fall things in before it ends. This type of mindset does not align with slow living and being present DURING those activities.
Over the years I have been narrowing down my list to balance between being intentional about doing all of the fall things and being intentional WHILE doing all of the fall things. When we pack too much in, we miss the point of the activities that we are doing together. I wanted to create these posts to give you inspiration as well. Plus, we honestly don’t have the energy with the additional of our baby boy, so I’ve been looking for ways to slow down and stay closer to home while fully embracing the season.
5 Ideas to Create the Ultimate Outdoor Fall Movie Night
How cute is this movie theater-style popcorn maker? I especially had my eye out for a cute and quality popcorn maker because we don’t own a microwave. I am absolutely putting this into my cart for our outdoor fall movie nights this season. I recommend buying the brand-name popcorn ingredients. It comes with a sample pack and we used the entire thing in one night. The flavor was just like movie theater popcorn, but after that I purchased kernels, butter salt, and oil from the grocery and the flavor wasn’t the same. I’m also working on my measurements, but overall the brand-name ingredients make it simpler and tastier.
With this being a fall-themed movie night, I also wanted to throw in this mini firepit for S’mores to make it the ultimate experience!
If that popcorn maker wasn’t cute enough, I would throw in these aesthetic popcorn boxes to go with it. This is perfect for gatherings with more than a few people. Everyone can have an individual box.
You obviously can’t have an outdoor movie night without a projector to play the movie! There are so many options ranging in different prices. We purchased a cheaper one for this post where I challenged myself to put together the ultimate movie night for under $100. Now that we’ve used it over the years and truly enjoy putting together a fun movie night, I want to upgrade our projector to this one or this one. They vary in great differences in price, but I am listing the two I’ve had my eye on for anyone looking to compare all of the options. The original projector that we purchased doesn’t come with WiFi which is something that I recommend to make it easy to stream!
We’ve done it all from a DIY movie screen using a sheet to a proper screen and while the DIY version was fun and cute, I recommend saving the hassle of putting it together yourself. The movie screen still has some assembling, but it’s a breeze compared to trying to fit a sheet to act as a screen.
The detail that I can’t recommend enough is to have comfortable seating which also goes without saying. When you’re watching movies indoors it’s easy to get comfortable on your couch or even the floor with pillows. However, when you’re outdoors, it’s not exactly easy to bring your coziest cushions from indoors to the outdoors. We have had our eye on these fireside chairs for our TV and living room, and I thought they would be so fun to put on our deck for future outdoor fall movie nights. They are on the expensive side, but if you’re buying them for indoor use, they can be paired lightly for outdoor use. An alternative are the Big Joe bean bag chairs that are so popular!
How do you host the perfect outdoor movie night?
CHOOSE THE PERFECT SPOT
Not every area in the backyard is ideal. We’ve done both our deck and the yard and each spot has its pros and cons. The deck is great because it’s off the otherwise moist grass, but the deck is a hard surface to sit or lay on so having comfortable cushions is ideal. The yard is more cushioned but a little moist even on dry days and can’t control the bugs! No matter where you decide, the things to consider are placement for the projector and the screen. You need a table or area that is high enough off the ground to host the projector with enough room to back up the screen.
GATHER THE NECESSARY EQUIPMENT
We’ve talked about the necessity of the projector and screen, but there are several items that may not be obvious until you are in the setup space. A few other items to consider are a sound bar depending on how much sound your projector gives off and a tripod to tilt the projector as needed. Also, consider whether your projector has WiFi or whether you need an Apple TV or other streaming device. We have extra extension cords and power trips to plug in all the items as needed.
While you want things to be darker for the movie, it’s still ideal to have some light for everyone to see in the event that anyone needs to walk around to the refreshments table to step inside. We keep our patio lights on and they look pretty in our yard without interfering with the movie.
It goes without saying, but I will say, that you should have your movie or movies selected before the evening begins. In addition to making your selections, I recommend looking up the apps that they are streaming on and doing a trial run. We’ve done it ourselves where we are looking for the movie and going through the setup when we should be pressing play and it takes up everyone’s time!
Consider having a trash can nearby or a basket that you can throw any trash into and dispose of later. It will make things easier by having everyone pitch in the quick clean-up and simply throw everything into one area!