Lifestyle & Seasonal

Make their night: Host a movie marathon on the patio

You may already have the makings for an amazing movie night right outside your door. Start a tradition of stars under the stars. Outdoor movies have been popular ever since the drive-in days. Drive-ins are hard to find now but almost all major cities host a movie-in-the-park series. A picnic dinner, a blanket and little ones in their pjs make for a classic summer night to remember.

Outdoor movie night

You can host your own movie night. Those of us lucky enough to have a nice outdoor room, kitchen or sports bar have hosted plenty of event-viewing parties. Give that outside TV a little more credit – there’s more to it than just sports. An evening under the stars while watching the stars of the silver screen is simply magical. It’s magically simple, too: Grab one or two of your favorite films, set up chairs in the back, leave blanket space in the front, and settle in. A movie night, especially one for the kids, gets families, friends and neighbors together to share a warm night, a cold drink, and a great film.


Depending on the ages of your guests, you may have time for more than one movie. If so, decide on a theme. Some themes are: Summertime movies, Christmas, Big Action/Adventure, or, for the brave amongst you, Horror (for older teens and adults). Check Rotten Tomatoes or search the web for more suggestions. Choose a higher-rated film to have a better chance of pleasing a crowd.

Snacks and accessories

Some water bottles and a few large red cups filled with popcorn will be all the snacks you need. The point is to get people together on a summer night. Fancy hors d’oeuvres aren’t in order. Casual snacks send the signal to the guests that showing up in pajamas is just the look you were going for. You want it to feel as if you’ve moved the cozy family room outside. Bring out your bean bags, sleeping mats from the camping supplies, and big fluffy pool towels along with seat cushions and pillows. Let the kids build their own encampment for the evening.

Adult time

Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve seen the neighbors and you’d like to catch up. Move the lounge chairs farther back from the TV and have a quiet chat. Or hire an older teen or two to keep an eye on the little ones while you have a drink inside. Sync up the same movie on the family room TV so you know when the movie is over.

No outdoor TV? No problem

The latest thing is renting a blow-up outdoor movie screen and small film projector. Check local bounce-house rental places. Pull-down movie screens come in weather-resistant containers that can be installed above a garage door. Even a white sheet and mobile phone projector will work. The point is to get together and make memories. Sometimes the simplest experiences make the best fun.

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