Outdoor Family Movie Night

Transform your backyard into a drive-in theater this weekend for an exciting outdoor family movie night!

Get the family together, set up an outdoor movie screen, and get ready for a night of fun. From setup to snacks to movies perfect for a cozy cinematic backyard experience, Dream Dinners has you covered. We’re providing all the tips & tricks to have the most epic outdoor movie night to make memories with your family that everyone will cherish. 

The Setup 

The first and most important thing you’ll need for your outdoor family movie night is a movie screen projector. There are many options, so we’ll provide you with a few so that you can choose which screen is the best fit for your family. 

Outdoor Movie Screen: 

outdoor movie screen

If you want to go big:

This outdoor movie projector from pottery barn is for you. At $300, this outdoor movie projector is a little pricey. Still, if you want to go big, we think it’s well worth the price tag. This projector comes with a sleek white weatherproof backdrop, so you don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed in the rain. It also looks just like a drive-in movie theater screen, so you and the family will truly feel like you traveled to the drive-in while sitting in your backyard. It’s easy to assemble, easy to take down, and comes with a bag for easy storage and transportation. So, if you want to have an outdoor movie night at a friend’s house, or if your neighbors are impressed and want to borrow it for a night, it couldn’t be more simple.  

If you want something affordable:

This outdoor movie projector from Urban Outfitters is for you. At only $98, this projector and screen are perfect for a cozy outdoor family movie night. This premium projector comes with an adjustable screen so that you can decide how big you’d like your cinema. Flexible viewing is a big pro with this affordable outdoor movie projector with a screen that can go from as little as 30” to as big as 150”. You can even hook this one up to your gaming system- making an outdoor family video game night possible! 

If you want something easy:

 This outdoor movie projector from Amazon is for you. This inflatable movie screen projector is super easy to use, and it blows up in under 2 minutes. It has a quiet electric blower that keeps the projector standing upright. When you’re done with your outdoor movie night, just unplug the movie screen, and it will deflate in under 2 minutes! The Amazon movie projector comes with storage. When the screen is deflated, it is incredibly light, making it super easy to transport.  

After you’ve found your perfect movie projector, you can start to set up your cinema seating. Seating at your backyard theater can be simple, fun, cozy, and creative! There are many options for your outdoor family movie night that can make the experience a blast for the entire family.  

Outdoor Movie Seating: 

Outdoor Movie Night with Screen and Chairs

If you want to get really creative, these DIY Box Cars by Simplistically Sassy will make your outdoor movie night a blast for the little ones. Turn boxes into cute makeshift cars so the kids can really feel like they are at the drive-in!  

If you’re willing to spend some money, we love the idea of this pop-up gazebo. Decorate the inside of the gazebo with cute string lights to make it even more festive. Throw an air mattress inside, stack up the pillows, and lounge with the family while you watch your favorite movies in your backyard paradise!  

If comfort Is your priority, there are a ton of DIY options for your backyard cinema seating. Bean Bag Seating is comfortable, fun, and is sure to be a hit amongst the kids! 

Pillows and blankets are an easy and effective way to build seating for your outdoor cinema. Cushions make for great DIY movie seat recliners.  

Once you’ve got the movie projector and the seating for your backyard film figured out, it’s time to decorate! We’ve got all the decoration ideas to help make your outdoor family movie night as aesthetically pleasing as it is fun. 

Outdoor Movie Decorations

outdoor string lights

Welcome Sign 

Welcome your movie theater attendees with a cute welcome sign! The welcome sign can be made with a small black chalkboard. Write the name of the movie you will be watching, the showtime, and some of the snacks that will be available. 

Red Carpet 

If you really want to level up your outdoor movie decorations, have a red carpet laid out from your welcome sign to the cinema seats! This will make every family member feel VIP for your night of fun. 

Concession Stand 

A DIY concession stand is a must for an outdoor movie theater! What’s a movie theater without the movie theater snacks? Set up a small table where you can put popcorn, candy, and other food and beverage items to enjoy during your movie. 

String Lights 

String lights are a great décor addition to any backyard movie theater. You can line these up around the cinema seats to mimic movie theater lights, or you can have them outline the concession stand. Wherever you decide to place your string lights, they will make the atmosphere a lot cozier. 

Ticket Box and printable tickets 

Having a ticket box and admission tickets will make the experience feel like you are going to the movies! This is a fun way to really dive into your family movie night. Print some tickets and require everyone to drop their ticket in the box before heading to their seat! 

Next, it’s time to pick our movie night food! We’ve got tons of delicious options, from snacks to dinners, that will make your outdoor family movie night a tasty viewing experience.  

Movie Night Food

Movie Night Snacks


First, we have Popcorn, and this one might go without saying… but we had to include it on the list! Popcorn is a must for an outdoor family movie night. There are a ton of ways that you can make your popcorn fun. Ditch the microwavable popcorn bags for popcorn boxes to make the experience more real! These adorable red popcorn boxes are only $1. Fill them up with popcorn and place them on your concession stand. If you’re looking to get really fun with your movie theater popcorn- put an array of popcorn toppers on your concession stand so everyone in the family can choose a topping of their choice. This set of 5 from Walmart has a lot of different fun flavors.


Next up, Candy! Candy is a movie theater staple to include in your backyard concession stand. We’ve compiled a list of some movie theater concession stand classics. Pick a few of your favorites and set them out next to the popcorn, so everyone in the family gets a choice on a treat! 

Popular movie theater candy 

  • Milk Duds 
  • Whoppers 
  • Gummy Bears 
  • Sour Worms 
  • Fruit Snacks 
  • Reese’s Pieces 
  • Raisenets 
  • Swedish Fish 
  • Butterfingers 
  • Skittles 
  • Dots 
  • Buncha Crunch 
  • M&Ms 
  • Twizzlers 
  • Snickers 
  • Starburst 
  • Sour Patch Kids
Mini Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken Pot Pies 

Next, we had to include some dinners perfect for your movie night. This brand new Dream Dinners dish is perfect for enjoying outside during your family movie night. Flaky puff pastry surrounds tender diced chicken with chopped broccoli in a velvety cheddar sauce. Not only are these puff pastries delicious, but they’re also adorable! Place them on a tray on your outdoor concession stand so the family can grab as many as they please. Place your order Dream Dinners order and make sure to add extra of our Mini Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken Pot Pies for your outdoor family movie night. 

Crunchy Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders 

In addition, this finger food is another Dream Dinner that works perfectly for an outdoor family movie night. Chicken breasts sliced into tenders are coated in a Parmesan panko mixture and baked to a perfect crunch. Set our Crunchy Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders on your concession stand as a grab n go option to munch on during the movie.  

Philly Cheesesteaks 

Why not throw a sandwich on the concession stand for your outdoor family movie night? Our Philly Cheesesteaks are the perfect sandwich to enjoy during your backyard cinema. Sliced sirloin beef and white American cheese with onions and bell peppers are layered on a toasted hoagie roll. Cut these up into mini Philly cheesesteaks if you’re looking for something more bite-sized. Order these tasty cheesesteaks off our October Menu so you can have delicious outdoor movie nights all throughout the fall.  

Hot Cocoa Bar 

If your outdoor family movie night is in the chillier months of fall, we highly recommend adding a hot cocoa bar. Head to our blog post to learn how to make a hot cocoa bar for your family movie night! 

Last but not least, it’s time to pick out the movie for our outdoor movie night! Here is a list of some of our favorite family movies that would make for a great outdoor movie night. Pick your favorite or make this a weekly affair and watch them all throughout the fall!  

10 Family Movies for your outdoor movie night 

  1. The Lion King 
  2. Toy Story 
  3. Up 
  4. Moana 
  5. Inside Out 
  6. Where the Wild Things Are 
  7. Matilda 
  8. Shrek 
  9. The Wizard of Oz 
  10. Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory 

In conclusion, an outdoor family movie night is a great way to spend quality time with the family this fall. We hope you are inspired to transform the backyard into a cinema and have a blast with family and friends. Share this blog with someone you would like to have an outdoor movie night with!