Nothing says summer quite like a drive-in. Kids in their jammies, families sitting under the stars and movie snacks make for a perfect night. But what if you don't like what's playing at the local drive-in? Or what if you don't live near one of the few remaining drive-ins in the United States? An answer to this conundrum is to throw your own outdoor movie party. Here are tips on how to throw an unforgettable one.
To show a film outside, you'll need a movie projector and a screen. You can purchase a screen just for this purpose, or you can go the DIY route. Project your movie on a flat side of your house or garage, or hang a white sheet on the fence or wall of the house. If you use a sheet, however, be sure to pull it taut. Waves in your sheet will create viewing difficulties. Projectors can be purchased at a variety of price points, or they even can be rented if you don't plan to host outdoor movies very often. Hook a projector up to your laptop or pick up some cables long enough to hook it up to your indoor home entertainment system. Pop in a DVD or stream a movie on your laptop or TV, and you're ready for showtime.
It's important to set the mood for your outdoor movie night. Remember that your guests only will be able to see the movie if it's very dark outside, so think about lighting that will allow guests to see a little, but won't affect their viewing experience. Twinkle lights strung from trees, outdoor candle lanterns on surfaces, or tiki torches are all good options. If you have a light that turns on when it detects movement, be sure to disable it before your party starts.
For seating, make sure there are plenty of blankets and large floor pillows scattered around your yard. If any of your guests have trouble sitting on the ground, make beanbags or outdoor chairs available for them.
If you have kids coming over, try giving them a true drive-in experience by providing them with a couple of huge cardboard boxes and some art supplies. Let them turn their boxes into cars with paint, markers and crayons, and then they can watch the film from their cozy private car.
The snacks you provide your guests can really create a true drive-in movie experience. Give everyone their own bag of popcorn and make sure a selection of movie candy and soda is available. Another option is to choose a menu theme that echos the film you've chosen. If you're having a grown-up party, consider creating a signature cocktail that matches the film.
Now kick back under the stars and enjoy your movie!