Hosting Tips

Summer Backyard Movie Night

By Jenn Rose Smith
best new shows to stream Cute backyard movie setup

I went to an all girls camp in the Texas hill country, and some the best memories of my summers there were the nights designated for outdoor movies. We’d hold a vote the week before, and everyone could write in whatever movie they wanted. (At the risk of dating myself, I’ll say that Newsies, Pretty in Pink, and The Cutting Edge were popular candidates of the day.) Maybe it’s the big screen, the stars overhead, or just the novelty of being outside on a blanket with your friends, but there’s something about an outdoor movie that’s just so much more fun than sitting around a television set. So when our friends at Target offered to help us throw our own outdoor movie night in Camille’s side yard, I was totally on board to make it a night to remember. In the spirit of Camp Waldemar I wanted to keep it a girl’s only event and to choose a great girl power movie from my generation to share with Phoebe. We were able to set the entire party up in an afternoon, and it ended up being such a fun way to spend a summer evening outside with my favorite gals. Read on to see how the movie we chose inspired the decor and menu, and I’ll go ahead and give you a big hint: IT’S COOKIE TIME!

photographed by buff strickland

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I designed our custom invitations for the event in the form of (what else?) flyers. You can download the free printable template for these banana leaf flyers here, and write in your own date/time/address info on the back.

We envisioned our movie night complete with themed snacks and favors, an outdoor projector and screen, and a really comfy set up for lounging outside.

We set up our outdoor movie screen in Camille’s side yard and hit up Target literally the day of to find everything we needed for the party. We used a canvas dropcloth as our screen and hung a strand of Room Essentials Clear Globe Lights for a festive touch.

I sewed small rings to the corners of the canvas dropcloth and then used rope, tent poles and tent stakes to create our outdoor screen. But you can also purchase your own outdoor screen direct from Target – how easy is that?

First things first: I browsed the dvd aisle and chose Troop Beverly Hills for our backyard feature. It’s such a cute movie and (to my surprise) neither Camille nor Chanel had seen it before! I also thought it would be a fun starting place to pick out some great decor from Target.

The first thing I found was this outdoor throw pillow in a tropical leaves print by Threshold. Phyllis Nefler would definitely approve!

We used my trusty Epson projector which I’ve had for about 5 years now, and can’t recommend highly enough. I can use it with my computer and watch both DVDs and streamed content. It makes everything (from movie nights to football games) SO much more fun.

Note: If you’re purchasing a projector, you’ll definitely want to invest in a great bluetooth speaker if you don’t already have one. This one from Bose is a great size, and provides some big sound to go with your big picture.

We wanted to keep our menu PG since Phoebe was joining us, so we picked up some old fashioned soda pops and served them outside on a wicker tray.

Of course we couldn’t resist a little nod to the movie with cookies, so Chanel whipped up a batch of chocolate chip and served them in a cute Acacia Threshold bowl.

Camille and Phoebe lounged outside on our fun outdoor rug and colorful Threshold pillows as we fired up the projector.

Pictured: Safavieh Talence Outdoor Rug in Green, Threshold Woven Stripe Throw Pillow in Sour Cream, Threshold Outdoor Pillow in Tropical Leaves, and Threshold Pebble Pillow in Coral.

Our production assistant Carmen made these retro campout-inspired smores, although it took a few tries to figure out how to melt the marshmallows in the kitchen. We set the first batch on fire in the broiler — and when I say on fire I mean full foot tall flames!

It was so much fun to watch Phoebe’s reactions to this favorite silly movie, and to relive it for myself.

Phoebe enjoyed fresh popcorn from one of the Acadia serving bowls while perched atop the Threshold outdoor pouf in natural burlap.

Also pictured: the Medium Blown Glass Lantern by Threshold, the Small Blown Glass Lantern by Threshold, Threshold Woven Stripe Throw Pillow in Sour Cream, Safavieh Talence Outdoor Rug in Green.

“Patches? We don’t need no stinkin’ patches!” was the line that inspired my super easy party favor idea: vintage patches for everyone to take home at the end of the night. Once a wilderness girl, always a wilderness girl!

Thanks, Target, for turning all of our impromtu summer parties into nights to remember.