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Make the most of balmy summer evenings by hosting a movie night alfresco. It’s easier than you might think. With a little planning and access to the basics — a projector, a white sheet and a movie — you will be all set to enjoy a movie night under the stars.
Here are some tips and ideas to make the night go off without a hitch.
Step 1: Choose the right location
Whether setting up a movie night in your backyard, on a balcony or rooftop, make sure to choose a spot that is dry, protected from wind and has access to a power supply.
Step 2: Create a movie screen
Setting up a screen doesn’t have to be complicated. Attach a white sheet to a fence, brick wall or the side of a garage to project the image onto. Recently, my family and I strung a rope between a tree and a fence post, then hung a heavy cotton bed sheet over the rope. To weigh the sheet down, we added scrap wood to the bottom and held it in place using two clamps.
Step 3: Set up the technology
You’ll need a projector and a video source such as a laptop or DVD player to connect to your projector through its HDMI port. We used the Epson 3100 Full HD projector, which has great built-in speakers. If yours doesn’t than you’ll want to consider connecting a wireless speaker or sound system to pump up the volume. Set up the projector and video source on a table or cart. Connect the video source to the projector through the HDMI port to watch DVDs or streamed content.
Step 4: Grab a seat
If you have a lawn, have a stack of blankets and a pile of pillows available so guests can get comfy. You can also invite guests to bring a lawn chair if preferable.
Set up a simple snack table so guests can serve themselves. Stock the table with easy-to-serve snacks such as popcorn, watermelon pops, individual jars of candy and a variety of drinks. We picked up some patio-friendly (acrylic) plates and glasses, as well as a few fun accessories such as paper straws and cactus stir sticks, patio lanterns and a great galvanized tiered stand at HomeSense.
Brown bag it: Serve popcorn in brown paper bags. Use scissors to trim the top of paper bags to the desired height and fill with popcorn.
Watermelon pops: A fun way to serve watermelon. Slice watermelon into triangles and insert a stick.
Jars of candy: Fill small mason jars with an assortment of candy that guests can easily grab.
Drinks: Make up large batches of lemonade or cocktails, put some soda on ice or have some sparkling water in carafes so guests can help themselves. To keep critters out of your drinks, make covers using a cupcake liner and a straw. Simply poke the straw through the liner and place over the drink.
Movie night gear
Everything you need to make your open-air movie night a success.
Projector to buy
Epson Home Cinema 3100. $ 1,799, Epson.ca.
This machine lets you project a 2.8-metre image from just 3.2 metres away.
Projector to rent
Toronto Projector Rentals. $ 156.25 (weekend special), torontoprojectorrentals.com.
Projector rental package includes: projector and screen.
H&M patterned picnic blanket. $ 29.99, hm.com.
A water-repellent backing and practical carry strap make it the perfect blanket whether for the beach or the backyard.
Hometrends water repellent toss cushion. $ 16.86, walmart.ca.
This 20-inch cushion comes in blue or green.
Summer light lantern. $ 9.50, simons.ca.
This lantern with a braided ribbon look will help keep you from stumbling during bathroom breaks.
Adirondack Patio Chair. $ 24.99, lowes.ca.
These lightweight, stackable chairs are made from resin. They are a classic addition to the backyard and are easy to store.