Create your Own Outdoor Cinema

MillerOutdoorTheatreRemember the old days, when drive-in movie theatres populated many highways and an evening out with the family was a major event, complete with snacks, your favourite movies and fresh summer breeze all around you? They still exist, but are harder to track down.

You can create your own- in your own backyard, with your very own outdoor cinema.

Lights, Camera, Action!

One of the greatest guilty pleasures of summer is bringing inside activities outside. The first thing you need to determine is, what is the scale of the event (i.e.- are you hosting the neighbourhood for a grand fete, or is this just for your own family or small group of friends). This will dictate your equipment needs.

If you are few in numbers, you can even just gather around a portable device. If you have wireless T.V.- even better- you can just use your T.V. and plonk it in a central location.

If your aim is to project on a larger scale, consider renting a projector and speakers, and hang a plain white sheet against a wall for your projection screen. If you plan to go this route, you may want to charge admission (like the real movies) to help defray the cost. You could even use admission fees (after costs are covered) as a fundraising for the charity of your choice.

Concession Stand

Best part of the movies (besides the show, of course)? The snacks! Although, while snacks are awesome at the movies, the prices attached to them (and frankly, the sizes of the servings- who needs a litre of pop in one sitting?) are staggering.

Pop your own popcorn. Hit your local dollar store to get cinema-style popcorn boxes, or use plain brown paper bags. While you are at the dollar store, grab some candy treats, like licorice etc. that are also popular movie snacks.

If your movie night has a theme (i.e. summer blockbusters, alien movies, chick flicks etc.) have snacks centring on the theme, to jazz it up.

Movie P.R.

If you are hosting a larger event, don’t forget to “promote” your movie. This could be through posting of posters (if it is a neighbourhood event), or e-vites to family and friends.

Note time, date, location and rain date. Fill those seats at your outdoor cinema!


Speaking of seating, don’t forget to make sure that your movie guests can relax and take in their favourite flick in comfort.

If you are hosting a crowd, have them bring their own chairs. If it is a smaller event, arrange comfy outdoor seating (even bring some favourites out from the indoors for the event). Offer blankets (it can get a little chilly when that sun goes down).

Get Crafty

Once you’ve decided on your movie(s) for your screening, build a marquee- which a nice touch that raises the fun factor.

Get Papier Mache letters (which are sturdy). Paint them whatever colour you’d like. At your local dollar store get (or borrow from your storage at home) mini Christmas lights. Once the paint is dried, poke holes on the back side pushing the lights through. Hang and plug in! A very cool extra touch that actually adds some subtle lighting too.