Backyard movie night

Hold a movie night in your garden to help keep the holiday feeling going once everyone is back at work and school. Click through to see how we made this happen.



The end of the year is always busy with lots of parties and events, then people often disappear on holiday for a couple of weeks. It’s a great idea to get kids together to reacquaint before the school year begins, or meet up with people you missed out seeing in the pre-Christmas rush. A movie night is a fantastic way to get a group of people of different ages together. We suggest you serve dinner early, and then have a few games going until it gets dark enough to see the screen. Sending out an official invitation creates a real sense of occasion. Check out for a printable invitation we have made for you.


Depending on your stock of rugs and cushions, you might want to invite guests to bring their own. We seated the kids on rugs in front of the screen while the grown-ups sat on deckchairs behind them. After the inevitable attempts to make shadow puppets in front of the large screen, the younger members of the audience quickly settled down to watch the movie. We were keen to create a party atmosphere so we strung lanterns and outdoor party lights across the garden. A blackboard sign advertised the movie and pointed the way to the ice cream parlour!


There are many ways to create a screen to show a movie outdoors. Our research brought up everything from a white sheet draped over a clothesline to canvas stretched over wooden framing. We kept it simple and borrowed a pull-up projector screen from work. We played the movie on a laptop connected to a projector.




Snacks and drinks

The menu for our movie night included popcorn and hot dogs followed by build-your-own ice cream sundaes. It was all washed down with homemade lemonade. Next time we like the idea of matching the menu with the movie. Is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs too obvious?


Your movie choice depends a lot on the ages of your guests. We chose The Lego Movie because, to put it simply, our house is Lego crazy. It also includes plenty of laughs for the grown-ups – plus it worked well with our red and white theme. Bear in mind that there is likely to be a fair amount of chatter going on while the movie plays, so a film that requires deep concentration is probably not ideal. Look back to your own childhood for movie ideas too – it’s a great way to introduce an element of nostalgia and storytelling with everyone seated together outside.

Family movies we love

  • The Incredibles
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Despicable Me
  • Star Wars
  • E.T.
  • Mary Poppins
  • Stuart Little
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Babe
  • Fly Away Home