Joel and I miss dinners out and movies at the theater, but this year has taught us how to be creative. If Joel and I weren’t homebodies already, we are now. While box offices release movies available to stream, we aren’t rushing back to the theaters. This backyard movie date night was a fun way to bring movies to life with a cozy environment at home.
We ate popcorn and watched one of our favorite movies on a plethora of soft pillows from inside our home. It felt as if we had created a fort, complete with the magical feeling of being kids again. Nothing else in the world mattered except being present in that moment together.
This backyard movie date night has me over the moon about staying home this fall.
We used what we had on hand to create the setup and purchased the equipment for less than $100. That is not much when you’re investing in an idea that you can continue reusing. We plan to have more date nights, lots of family nights, and movie parties with friends. This is a great way to social distance while hosting friends for a movie party. Everyone can bring their own blankets, drinks, and snacks.
If you’re looking for date night ideas at home once the kids go to bed, this setup is so simple. It requires one hour with a little creativity from items around your home.
We purchased this projector for $69! We love it. It fits exactly what we were looking for in a projector to stream movies for our backyard movie nights. It has a wide range for how large you can project the picture with adjustable features to fine-tune the visuals.
You’ll need a small table or stand to place the projector on.
We originally bought this screen in the smaller size, but it was too small once placed in the backyard. We ended up using a plain white sheet with packaging tape to hang it on poles that we had. I am linking a similar setup here. I found other DIY tutorials here and here. My advice is to use what you have without overthinking it. Once you are outside relaxing in front of the movie screen, you won't be thinking as much about the details. You will be having too much fun enjoying the actual movie.
I recommend placing the projector behind the screen. You can turn it to rear viewing to avoid tripping over the cords and cord clutter. You will also avoid any shadows being created by everyone moving around.
We purchased these computer speakers. They work well inside, but outside the open-air doesn't quite bounce the sound enough. We ended up using the built-in speakers that the projector itself has. They worked better than computer speakers, but I recommend using a soundbar. You will want something that projects the sound in the open-air.
We used our Apple TV because it was the easiest method. You’ll need an HDMI cable and a strong WiFi connection for this option. You can also stream anything from your iPhone to your Apple TV. There is an option to stream straight from your iPhone to the projector, but you will need a special adapter and this cord.
First, I put down towels over the bare ground for both extra cushion and layer to catch the dirt. We used our big Anthropologie blanket and pillows from around our house. We grabbed the rattan chair from our dining room and the small white coffee table from our deck. You can use anything from your home that will create a cozy, comfy space. Be sure to grab extra blankets as fall nights get chilly!
We used patio lights to frame the movie night seating area. It created an ambiance that brought the entire setup together. Once it was dark enough to start the movie we flipped the lights off and used these LED candles. It set the movie-watching mood and skipped any fire hazards. Be sure to buy lots of batteries if buying LED candles!
You will need AAA batteries for the projector remote.
FOOD & DRINKS
I bought Trader Joe's Kettle Corn and paired it with a fresh La Croix.