DIY Outdoor Movie Night on the Cheap

outdoor movie night

Enjoy a movie under the stars in your own backyard with these creative ideas for a DIY outdoor movie night on the cheap. Entertain with theater-inspired snacks and revisit a film classic or catch up on the latest rentals.

DIY Movie Screen

diy movie screen

Hang up your movie screen and decorate with a string of lights or a banner. We hung a drop cloth over the short wall and lined the sides with a string of lights. Here are a few ideas for making your screen:

  • Drop cloth from local hardware store
  • White Sheet
  • Project on to your garage door

You will need a projector and a laptop or tablet to project the film on to the screen. You can rent one, buy a used one on Craigslist, find a mini one for under $75, or borrow from a friend if they happen to have one. Try Projector Screen Store for free shipping on your entire order.

DIY Cushion Seating

diy floor cushions

Have a stack of blankets, sheets and pillows for your guests to lounge on while watching the movie. You can invite your guests to bring a lawn chair, if you’re feeling super crafty, make your own using pillowcases.

Create Your Concessions

diy concessions

Keep it simple but fun with the food and set up your own concession stand. Fill a basket with candy from your childhood along with popcorn and something to drink.  Make it easy to grab drinks by placing them in an ice bucket.

DIY Popcorn Bar

diy popcorn bar

What’s a night at the movies without the popcorn? Create a DIY popcorn bar where guests can serve themselves. Make a big bowl of popcorn and place M&M’s, peanuts, chocolate covered raisins and pretzels in small bowls. Let each guest fill a container and add their favorite stir in’s. We love a little sweet and a little salty.

Print Your Own Popcorn Bags

diy popcorn bags

Download this free popcorn bag template to really jazz up your popcorn bar. Print on white bags from your local craft store. Don’t forget to check your local Dollar Store or the deal section in Target – I’ve often seen packs of 10 show-up for $1.

Caramel Corn Candy Bites

caramel corn candy bites

Combine candy and caramel corn into one bite movie treats.


Stir 1 cup of mini M&M’s into refrigerated sugar dough. Press a golf ball size of dough into mini muffin tins. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

For the caramel buttercream, mix 3 cups of powdered sugar with 1 stick of soft butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 tablespoon milk and 2-4 tablespoons caramel sauce. Frost each candy bite and top with a piece of caramel corn.

Cherry Cola Floats

cherry cola floats

Your guests will appreciate a cool drink on a hot summer night, especially a float that reminds them of the days at the drive-in. All you need is a bottle of Cherry Cola, vanilla bean ice cream, maraschino cherries and whipped cream as an optional topping.


Place two scoops of ice cream in a glass. Fill each with soda and top with whipped cream. Add a cherry and a cute striped straw for pizzazz. Drinks always taste better when sipping through a striped straw.

Consider adding a DIY photo booth to top off your outdoor movie night. Capture the moments in your backyard with just a few cute props. As the sun sets turn on the movie, sit back and enjoy the show.


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