outdoor movie text with screen popcorn yellow lawn chair and backyard

Outdoor Movie

What can I say movies are a classic thing to do for a date but don’t you ever get tired of doing the same old dinner and a movie date? What if you kept the dinner part, but instead of going to a movie theater, do something really cool and set up a place in your backyard or a friend’s backyard for an outdoor movie. It is a lot more creative and romantic than the boring seats in the local movie theater. This idea is similar to watching a movie in the tent, but instead, you give it more of an open-air cinema feel.  The crisp cool air, big movie screen, your favorite movie snacks, and your favorite person, talk about awesome.

What you need for an outdoor movie date: 

Portable movie screen with two tripods and screen. With Hobbiton on the screen.

For this date idea, you need a projector and a laptop or Blu-ray player/DVD player. You will also need a sound system to hook up to it. If you don’t have a nice system, then one of the tabletop mini-systems will work. You also need a screen. There are numerous screen choices out there. Chances are if you wind up getting one you will use it a lot. If you don’t want to buy one and can’t find one to borrow then you can always use a white sheet. The portable screen is nice because it has its own stand and you can set it up anywhere.

If you use a sheet it will be more difficult to rig, but you can still hang it from a rope in between two trees or from the side of the house. I believe you can even rent one from a store. Just do a search on the internet to find a screen to rent if you like.

It’s all in the details…

Remember, this date takes time and effort to set up, which is what makes it special. Make sure to pick a night when it is not going to rain. The last thing you want is to do all this work setting up and get rained out. Scrambling around trying to keep your stuff from getting wet is no fun. Of course, you could always set up an enormous tarp overhead and proceed with the movie if you wanted. You will also need an extension cord, as well as a power strip and any other cabling to connect to the projector, HDMI, Sound, etc. Also, make sure to pick a romantic movie, if that is the genre she likes best. Think of the points you’d score on that one.

Next, layout a large tarp on the ground in front of the screen. Bring a bunch of pillows, blankets, bing bags, etc. Anything you want to make it more comfortable. If you are doing this at your house and you have a couple of lazy boy chairs inside, bring them outside for the ultimate luxury reclining outdoor movie experience.

Food, can’t forget about the food. Buy or make your date’s favorite movie snacks. If you need some awesome treat ideas, check out my other website In the Kitchen with Matt.

My commentary on this date: 

My brother used this idea with his wife all the time before they were married. He borrowed a projector from work and used my dad’s portable screen, then set up a sound system to complete it. One of the times I think they watched an Indiana Jones movie, not really romantic, but I guess these dates don’t always have to be romantic. You can make it more romantic by having it just be you and the girl and a chick flick, or you can also make it a fun group date and watch some other kind of movie.

One time a group of use guys and girls got together and my friend’s house. He set up the projector so the screen was the wall of his house. And it was next to the pool. We wound up having a pool party and watched the movie Jaws.

What was that? It brushed up against my leg.

Relax, we are in a swimming pool, there are no sharks here.

Community outdoor movie events

movie screen set up next to beach with popcorn stand

Sometimes your local city or community will put on outdoor movie events. I know here in the Phoenix area, they usually play Christmas movies in the park. Twice a year, my community has an outdoor movie they set up in a retention basin. They rent this whole inflatable set-up, where the movie screen is actually one big inflatable screen. It’s pretty amazing. I have been several times with friends and their spouses . . . Yes, I was the fifth wheel, but that is fine. So you could find out when there’s a community outdoor movie night if you don’t want to set up something yourself.

Do you have experience with this creative date idea? Let me know in the comments how you liked it. You can buy a copy of the book 101 Creative Dates: ideas, tips, and personal experiences from the life of a hopeless romantic here or visit the shop.

Here are other date and gift ideas you might like:

Caving and Exploring

Fantasy Date of a Lifetime

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