Looking for a fun outdoor idea for summer? Here are ideas and inspiration on how to create a movie night in the backyard.

how to create a movie night

me: t-shirt dress//pink shoes//earrings   him: t-shirt//shorts

Even though it feels like my husband just pulled up to my house in his Nova to pick me up wearing a prairie skirt, heels with socks, an add-a-bead necklace and a bow with my name on it.


We have been married a long time.

And even after all these years?

I love him more today than all the days before.

I think it’s because we date.

We go on coffee dates.

And movie dates.

And picnic dates.

Basically, life is just one big date.

But last Saturday night we decided to try something different. Instead of going out to the movies (Top Gun I’m looking at you), we decided to stay home and create our own movie night in the backyard. I’ve seen people have backyard movies before, but we’ve never tried to create our own. It was so much easier than I imagined and took just a couple of minutes to set up.

Here’s everything you need to create an outdoor movie night in your own backyard.

how to create a movie night outdoors

How To Create a Movie Night In the Backyard

Here’s the set-up.

We opened up the backside of the outdoor pergola to set up the screen. It was SO EASY to set up. You can see the entire setting up process in my Instagram stories. The screen is really good-sized (it measures 90 inches by 55 inches tall) and it felt like an outdoor drive-in when the movie started playing. I love that it has legs so it elevates it to eye-level when you watch the movie. Also, the screen comes with stakes and an entire kit to stabilize it, so it’s sturdy in case a wind comes by. We got everything here at Walmart. They have the BEST selection of products to create all the outdoor fun. You can see the amazing selection here.

You can see the outdoor screen here.

The outdoor screens on the pergoa help to keep bugs away, but you want to consider using bug spray if you are outside of any length of time (especially in Texas). It was surprisingly comfortable outside in the evening even though it had been over 100 degrees during the day. It cooled off slightly at night and we brought out an oscillating fan to help with air circulation.

These battery-powered fans also come highly recommended and would work perfectly for a movie night as well.

how to create a movie night projector

Here’s a close-up of the projector.

I can’t say enough AMAZING THINGS about this projector. It works so WELL (and it’s on sale right now, too). It has a 4″ projection LCD so the picture was so clear and crisp and you can adjust the picture quality right on the projector. The fan on the projector was so quiet (they can be a little loud) so it didn’t interrupt the movie. It has 3 different HDMI ports so you can watch movies (like we did), play games, or stream from your phone, computer or tablet.

You can see the projector here.

It also has built-in speakers that produce a high-quality sound, so you don’t have to use external speakers unless you want to. We wanted to recreate the movie setting with surround sound so we used external speakers with the set-up.

Here’s a great portable wireless speaker option that’s on sale right now.

how to create a movie night ideas

how to create a movie night popcorn

Everything was set.

Everything was ready.

But were there refreshments?



Popcorn, of course.

Hello Captain Obvious.

I actually created an entire popcorn bar with this yummy microwave popcorn and granola and nuts and healthy options along with semi-sweet chocolate chips. There was bottled water and my favorite flavor of La Croix to drink.

And what movie did we watch?

One of my favorite rom-coms with just the right amount of funny moments and just the right amount of love story.

27 Dresses.

The stars twinkled above us.

The crickets were chirping.

The sun was setting behind the movie screen.

And if I squinted?

I could see a Nova pulling up the driveway.

Good thing I had my high heels and socks ready. 🙂

Here’s everything you need for a really fun movie night:

Looking for some other fun options for the backyard?

I. Got. You.

Here are some family activities for all that summer fun:

disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walmart. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure page for more information. Affiliate links are used in this post.

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  1. Image for Jennifer Dynys Jennifer Dynys

    Last night, my oldest son said that we need a projector so we can have outdoor movie nights! I guess this was the prompt I needed! Looks like fun! Thanks for all the info! Y’all are super cute!

  2. Image for Marlene Marlene

    Date night are so important and I think you made it better. You look like you were having a lot of fun together, perfect setting.

  3. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    Oh KariAnne, I just love your stories! You and your precious family! The wedding pictures were wonderful. My favorite was sparklers with you both. The last picture is print worthy also! Smiles, alice

  4. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    Just so romantic. How wonderful it must be to still be in "that kind of love" after all of these years. Your evening sounds wonderful. Your dress is adorable, and you both are just so huggable. 😊

  5. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Loved this! I have wanted to set this up, too. Just need an amazing pergola to finish that setting! Happy 4th!

  6. Image for Kris Kris

    So fun! I learned about popcorn bars from a previous post of yours, a Thistlekeeping one, I think. I've done them twice now and it's been a hit both times. Our latest one was this past weekend and I had the brilliant idea of using individual Skinny Pop popcorn bags. That eliminated the need for individual bowls, as people could just add the toppings to the bags of popcorn.

  7. Image for Diana Diana

    KariAnne you are a girl after my own heart. We have been married 52 years now and our kids laugh at us for having a "date" night. It is why we are still married I think. We all need to take time to nurture our marriages and make each other feel special. Great ideas. I just worry about mosquitoes here. LOL But someday we will do a backyard movie! For now it is the den!

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