Surprise the kids with a memorable movie night. Special planning is on tap, but it’ll be rewarding when you see them having fun with their friends.

The key to a successful movie night is great planning and good weather. Here’s helpful tips on how to get started with your outdoor movie night plans.

Weeks in advance…

Start your preparations and give yourself plenty of time to prepare.

Invite all their friends over.

Create and send out Evite invitations three weeks in advance. This gives guests plenty of time to reserve the evening.

Decide how and where you will set up the projector.

Whether it be setting up a big screen TV or using a projector and screen set up, it’s best to know how and where you will be showing the movie in case you need equipment. Consider renting an inflatable screen or projector screen to project the movie. Other options include projecting it on a white wall or white drop cloth.

Outdoor sectional set up for a kids movie night with pillows, drinks, blankets and popcorn.

Plan your outdoor theater.

Figure out how you will convert your patio or deck into a theater setting incorporating your patio furniture and additional seats.

Select a movie.

It can be tricky. Your best bet is to pick a classic movie, something not so violent. Be sure to take the kids’ ages into consideration and make it a fun one!

Kids’ Favorite Movies:

Graphic showing a variety of kids movies.

Decide if you will have an Intermission.

Encourage the kids to create a skit of their own or have some funny jokes ready for them to share. Give the kids a chance to get up and stretch. Play a song and let them dance to it.

Make decorations.

A Movie Night poster that can be hung prominently could be a creative project for you and the kids.

Shop for snacks, dining essentials and party favors.

Stick to the basics. Popcorn, trail mix and a big bowl of candy are kids’ favorites. Remember to take food allergies into consideration. Avoid peanuts.

Get paper plates, napkins and cups for an easy cleanup.

Some glow sticks and necklaces would be a nice touch.

The day before:

Check the weather.

You may need to change the venue indoors. If it’s a go for outside, spray the area for bugs, checking for ants or any other critters that may steal the show. Plug in a bug zapper.

The day of…

Set the Scene.

Start with plenty of seating. Position outdoor furniture, like chaises, sofas, sectionals and coffee tables. Cozy them up with pillows and blankets. Keep bug repellant on hand.

Outdoor sectional being prepared for a kids movie night with pillows and blankets.

Projector Test Run

Do a test run to make sure the projector is set up correctly and operating smooth.

Prepare snacks.

Pop fresh popcorn. Fill bowls with snacks. Ice down drinks in a cooler. Order pizzas. You can make a pitcher of lemonade too. Set up a spot to keep the snacks and make it easy for food to be passed around during the movie.

Outdoor sectional with a tray of popcorn and drinks on an ottoman.

Start the party 30 minutes before it gets dark.

Once guests arrive, have the kids show them to their seats and let them get comfy. When it gets dark, let the show begin. Relax and enjoy the movie!

Young boy relaxing on an outdoor sectional before the outdoor movie night begins.

We’d love to hear how you’ve prepared for movie nights. Share your experience below.