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How to Plan a Backyard Movie Night

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Cozy up outdoors with family and friends this fall for a homemade cinematic experience under the stars.

Written and styled by Rhoda Brimberry and Anna Crelia, Founders of Loot Rentals and Loot Finer Goods, Photos by Tyler Crelia 

In September, temps are beginning to cool, kids are back in school and life is kicked back into full throttle. It’s time to get outside and take advantage of the earlier sunset while gathering with friends and family for a new tradition. Take a break with a lounge-in movie!

THE SETTING

This fun event is easier to pull off than you might imagine. Head to the hardware store to pick up a white waterproof drop cloth about 9 inches by 12 inches and make holes in the corners. You can also use drapery clips instead. These tools allow you to string up the drop cloth in the trees or with any anchors so you have a stable projection screen for the movie. Just hook a simple projector (We used a portable version made by Brookstone.) to the computer on which you have the movie cued up, and you’re ready for viewing. Bluetooth speakers are so powerful these days. Just pipe the sound through and you’re set.

Elevated: If you need assistance with a ready-made setup, there are plenty of party-rental businesses in Central Texas that can help. Freedom Fun USA in Leander, Texas, is a great resource. The biz offers large outdoor screens alongside a projector and speakers that create a very professional movie-viewing experience. Company reps come in and set it all up so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the show. All you provide is the Blu-ray or DVD.

THE SCENE 

There’s no need to pull the living room out onto the lawn to make your guests feel comfortable. Just invite them to bring their folding chairs, and throw down some picnic blankets. Kids can even bring pillows and sleeping bags with stuffed animals for ultimate comfort. If they want to dress in their PJs, that’s even better.

Elevated: Blow-up mattresses aren’t just for overnight guests anymore. Bring them out on the lawn for a super-comfy lounge experience in front of the movie screen. Dress them with blankets and top them off with a nice big bolster to prop up your guests in style. We used simple Army surplus duffle bags and stuffed them with anything we could find: blankets, T-shirts and pillows from throughout the house. We added in some soft seating from our rental collection for those wanting a different type of comfort and added in some footstools as well. Pepper in some little side tables to hold drinks and snacks. Adding rugs under the beds allows guests to go barefoot and gives the feeling of home under the stars

THE MENU

It is always fun to find some items that reflect themes in the movie. For our feature, The Sandlot, it was imperative we include s’mores in the list of offerings. Typically, these are created over an open fire, but we found the oven to be just as effective. Add in popcorn and theater candies from the store to give your guests some variety and fun.

Elevated: A dark beer sweetened with ice cream will bring out the kid in you. For the adults in the crowd, we wanted to offer a spin on an age-old favorite, the root-beer float. Instead of root beer, we experimented with Guinness Draught paired with vanilla ice cream. The results were sensational! In addition, we had fun making little menus from which guests could select sweet or savory treats to snack on throughout the movie. This allowed us to be discreet in learning about their desires while giving them an opportunity to continue enjoying the movie as we prepared requests in the kitchen.

CLUBHOUSE S’MORES FOILIES

Ingredients

Graham crackers

Chocolate bars

Large marshmallows

Aluminum foil

Directions

1. Set the oven to 350 degrees and tear off as many 10-inch pieces of foil to equal the number of s’mores sandwiches you intend to make for your guests.

2. Layer the marshmallow and chocolate between graham crackers and fold over the ends of the foil to encapsulate each sandwich.

3. Place the s’mores sandwiches in the oven for 10 minutes. Then your s’mores are ready to serve

 

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