The frugal outdoor cinema

outdoor movieOne of the greatest thrills of summertime is simply the experience of being outside. And when you can bring the things that you usually do indoors outside- bonus!

One inexpensive and supercool way to while away a summer evening is to set up an outdoor theatre in the backyard or neighbourhood park.


If you are having a larger event, charging a small admission is a great way to defray some of the costs that you might incur in getting and using equipment. Even a dollar or two a person can really help.

Alternatively, use the event as a charity fundraiser.

The screen

You don’t need to spend oodles of money on a screen (which can run you into the thousands of dollars). Got a white sheet? Throw it up on a side of a building and you are good to go.

The equipment

You may already have components of your home theatre that will transport nicely to the outside. If you’ve got a DVD player, or a laptop- there is your movie source. You’ll need a projector too, but see if you can borrow one if you don’t have one (those can be expensive).

There are even smartphone apps to let you project.  This would probably only be effective if you were doing a small event with a few people.

Go for comfort

Don’t forget you’re outside. Make bug spray and blankets available. Citronella torches are a nice touch- and offer light and bug repellent all at the same time.

Make sure you’ve got comfy lawn chairs too!

The snacks

The movies simply are not the movies without the snacks. Make your popcorn ahead of time and stuff it in bags (dollar stores have great, authentic popcorn containers).

While you’re at the dollar store, pick up drink boxes and giant bags of licorice. Some more movie faves.

Pick the right flick

This kind of night calls for the right kind of movie- as in a beloved classic. Think E.T., the Wizard of Oz, National Lampoon’s Vacation, any one of the original Star Wars, or a Disney classic like Cinderella or Finding Nemo.