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How To Host A Fun Outdoor Movie Night Party On A Budget

I spent some considerable time and money this past Spring and Summer updating our outdoor entertaining area. We have this great extended deck on the back of our house that we haven’t been using because it was pretty empty. I wanted to focus on some family time and hosting fun parties this year and I knew the back deck had to have a makeover in order for that to happen. I bought chairs and cushions, an outdoor rug, a gas fire pit, and my dad made me a fantastic bar/entertainment center. 


The first party we hosted on our newly improved deck was Maia’s end of the school year sleepover. She wanted to have a movie night on the deck and time in the hot tub with her friends. I spent less than $50 to make this fun outdoor movie night party happen and Maia was thrilled. The girls had a blast and we hosted a couple more movie nights thru the summer for family and friends. There are 6 things that I consider to be essential for a successful and fun outdoor movie night.

1. Glow Sticks- I bought several packs from the $1 spot at Target. The girls wore them as bracelets and necklaces and we also tossed them in the hot tub. They created a nice ambiance while the movie was playing.


2. Candy Concessions- Candy is an important part of every successful movie night! I grabbed a variety of boxes of candy from Target for $1 each and used the lid of a box as a concession tray. Since we hosted this party in the heat of the summer I made sure to get non-chocolate based candy. Nerds, Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, and Starburst were safe bets to hold up in the heat. We had 6 girls here for the sleepover, including Maia, so I had plenty of candy. But when we hosted a movie night for more people later in the summer we used admission tickets- each person got 2 tickets to turn in for 2 boxes of candy. 


3. Movie screen- I wasn’t about to spend $200 on an outdoor projector so we used one of the TV’s from the house. I set it up with the Roku on my outdoor bar, rented a movie from Amazon, and used Matt’s bluetooth speakers to amplify the sound. It took all of 5 minutes to get it set up. The only cost was the $4 to rent the movie! I had a basket set up beside the bar with folded blankets for the girls to use if they wanted to get cozy and they loved it. I keep a stack of $3 IKEA blankets on hand now for just this purpose.


4. Popcorn & Drinks- I grabbed a bunch of the plastic popcorn containers from Target’s dollar section in different colors and set up a popcorn bar. I poured popped microwavable popcorn into a big bowl and added an ice scooper so the girls could fill their own container. Then we set up a topping area with different flavors of popcorn salt- butter, white cheddar, ranch, and bacon cheddar. Matt filled a big cooler with ice and lots of cans of soda.


5. Sno-Cones- It was still hot well after dark when we hosted our party so Sno-Cones were a great way for the girls to cool off. I had already purchased an electric ice shaver earlier in the year to make frozen margaritas and it was perfect for making sno-cones too. I found some cute disposable sno-cone cups and spoons at Target and grabbed several different flavor syrups. The girls ate sno-cones all night long and had the best time. Pro-Tip: I made Sno-Shakes for the grown ups by filling a 16 ounce cup full of shaved ice.  Add 3 to 4 ounces of your favorite shaved ice syrup along with 3 to 4 ounces of evaporated milk and stir well. It’s delicious!


5. Ambiance- I already mentioned the glow sticks in the hot tub but we also had battery operated lanterns set around the deck and of course, the fire pit. We purposefully bought one that has several setting so we can use it year round. In the summer we use the lowest setting so it does not put out too much heat. The girls loved to sit around the flickering fire while watching their movie. We’ve gotten so much use out of the fire pit this summer and I know we’ll use it even more now that Fall is approaching and the temps are dipping below 95 degrees.

We have another fun family movie night planned soon and I can’t wait. Even Ty enjoys it and he’s pretty much anti-anything that involves not being with his friends. Ha!


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