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DIY Backyard Movie Night Under The Stars Ideas

Outdoor Movie Night: Ideas for movies under the stars an outdoor movie night, with a popcorn buffet for snacks, and a red and white decorations.

Outdoor Movie Night: Ideas for movies under the stars an outdoor movie night, with a popcorn buffet for snacks, and a red and white decorations.

We set up our Outdoor Movie Night at the cottage and it was so much fun!  This is pretty much the perfect way to spend a summer evening with family and friends.  I’m excited to share all our DIY backyard movie night ideas with you.  

How To Make An Outdoor Movie Night Screen

My brother-in-law built this great, portable movie screen.  He made this DIY screen with a simple wooden frame and then stretched a really big fabric drop cloth over it, stapled in place with a staple gun.  It was perfect for our outdoor theater.

Other options for an outdoor screen would be use an inflatable movie screen.  What’s great about an inflatable screen is it’s easy to store when not in use.  You could also use any large flat surface.  So if you have a large white wall outside, that would work perfectly too.  Other diy options are to use a white sheet for your own DIY screen.

You will also need an outdoor projector and an outdoor extension cord.  Make sure you use one that is safe for outdoor use, and with good sound quality, or add some outdoor speakers for the evening.

how to make an Outdoor Movie screen

Seating Area

I thought it would be fun to add a few more fun details to our big screen. 😉 We started out by adding some twinkle lights to the screen.  I wanted it feel like a DIY marquee sign.  String lights over the seating area would be another outdoor lighting great addition to your own outdoor movie theater to create an inviting atmosphere at night.  

For our outdoor movie theater seating area we set up a row of the beautiful red Muskoka chairs in our outdoor space.  Other great seating options around your own outdoor movie screen would be any outdoor chairs, or patio furniture.  For picnic style seating spread out some outdoor rugs and blankets in front and add pillows for comfortable seating.  Family movie night is for the whole family, and the little kids especially love the front row as a great place for the best view.

red Muskoka chairs

Outdoor Movie Night Snack Area

Movies need popcorn, so I set up a fun popcorn buffet for our outdoor cinema.  The popcorn buffet is one of my favorite things about our backyard movie night.

Movie Night popcorn buffet

DIY Chalkboard Bunting

I thought it would be a fun idea to make some chalkboard bunting that we could write things on for an extra special touch. My brother-in-law cut out the triangles from some thin scrape wood, and drilled holes in the corners so we could thread them onto twine. My very sweet niece painted them all for us with chalkboard paint -thanks Jenny and Shaun. 😉 We used the large ones to write “Movie Night”, but since they’re little chalkboards they could be erased and used for anything.  These were so fun to add to our outdoor areas for movie night.

doy chalkboard bunting

On the bottom of the table we strung smaller ones and wrote popcorn.  This was such an easy way to to add a fun detail to the space.

popcorn buffet

I layered the table with red and white for a classic movie look. For the popcorn, I found great unfinished wooden boxes that I spray painted white and lined with waxed tissue paper.

popcorn bar

We used more chalkboard labels for the popcorn.

movie night popcorn bar

The Popcorn

  • buttered popcorn
  • white cheddar popcorn
  • caramel corn
  • white cheddar popcorn seasoning
  • dill pickle popcorn seasoning
  • jalapeno popcorn seasoning
  • cinnamon sugar popcorn seasoning

I love how the popcorn buffet turned out. Everyone thought that it was the best part of the evening.  We had white cheddar, caramel, and buttered popcorn.  I picked all the popcorn flavors at the grocery store.  If you had a popcorn machine, you could set it up here, and make fresh popcorn too.

movie night snacks

I thought it would be a great idea to add a few popcorn flavourings too. I picked them up at the bulk food store.  We put them in simple salt and pepper shakers, and added a cute chalkboard sticker label.

popcorn toppings

The toppings are on a little tray that matched the other containers.  I  also sprayed painted it white.  It’s also holding some napkins and straws.  We used red as our pop of color.  Red and white feels like the perfect color scheme for movie night.

Candy and chocolate would be a great option for the popcorn buffet too.  For your own movie theater you could set up candy popcorn additions in small bowls with scoops for adding them to your popcorn bag mix.  You could also have some chocolate bars as another easy snack option.

movie night popcorn buffet

We used some fun little polka dot, and chevron patterned paper bags for everyone to scoop their popcorn into.  These worked great for serving, and everyone could come back up and refill them and try a different flavor during the evening.

movie night snack ideas

Old Fashioned Drinks

I love the drinks we used, old fashioned pop shoppe bottles, in such fun flavours. These were pretty inviting in a simple galvanized bucket filled with ice, and the perfect touch to our movie night.

popshoppe pop

Cozy Blankets and Other Great Additions

And in case of cooler nights,  when the sun goes down at movie time, I included a bucket of cozy red fleece blankets.  These are a great way to cozy up for the movie.  A fire pit would be fun too.

blankets for outdoor movie night

We set it all down by the lake because we were at the cottage. Could it get any more idyllic?  

Don’t forget the bug spray.  Citronella candles would be a good option too. 

And also make sure to check the weather forecast before setting it all up, nothing dampens an evening like this more than rain.

outdoor movie night party

Once you’re all set up, it’s time to enjoy your favorite film with your family members and friends.  This was such a fun activity for enjoying in the summer season.  We loved munching popcorn and enjoying ourselves under the stars watching one of our favorite movies together.  This was a family movie night, but it would be great as an outdoor activity for a birthday party or even as a movie date night.  We used basic materials and some creative ideas to create an amazing movie experience in our own backyard.  I hope it gives you plenty of inspiration fo your own backyard movie night.

how to host an outdoor movie night

With a night like this enjoying all these DIY backyard movie nights, life really is a party!

how to host an outdoor movie night

More Movie Night Inspiration

You might also enjoy our Summer Movie Night that includes free movie night printables for a snack bar and a movie night ticket.  Find it here.

Summer Movie Night: use our free printable summer movie night ticket, popcorn banner, popcorn labels and cupcake picks to set up the perfect summer night.

Also check out our Caramel Corn recipe here.  Guaranteed to be your new favourite for movie night, or anytime.

You might also like our Free Movie Night Printables.  Red and white free printables including labels for the snack bar, movie night tickets, and movie night decorations.

Free Movie Night Printables: free movie night ticket, popcorn banner, movie night snack and drinks signs, food labels, and cupcake pics.

Also check out our Movie Date Night At Home.  Use your Cricut machine to create a movie night ticket, labels, and even a fun game to help you choose your movie genre.

movie date night at home


  1. What a sweet idea! We’re actually doing this at my daughter’s wedding in September. We’ll be projecting Princess Bride onto the back of the barn where the reception is taking place. She thought it would be a great break for people when they’re dancing. We’re doing the popcorn bar too – just not as fancy as yours.

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