It’s a great time of year to go to the drive-in, but why not bring the drive-in to your own backyard with a family-friendly movie night? With a little planning, you can host a memorable backyard movie night complete with comfy seating, yummy snacks, and a movie screen you can make yourself.

Set Up a Seating Area

Create a warm and comfortable seating area for your movie guests by putting out patio or camp chairs covered in cozy blankets. Alternatively, you can spread out a picnic blanket or other ground covering and provide guests with plenty of blankets and pillows. If the temperature is expected to be a little cold, take the chill off by setting up a patio heater nearby.

Build a DIY Movie Screen

Building a DIY movie screen is easier than you may think. HGTV suggests creating a collapsible movie screen using materials you can probably find around your home, such as planters, wooden rods, and a white sheet. You will then need a projector, which can be purchased for less than $50 at many retailers.

Choose the Perfect Movie Snacks

Be sure to provide your guests with plenty of snacks to munch on during the movie. Popcorn, nachos, peanuts, soft pretzels, and Milk Duds are classic movie snacks. If you prefer to make your snacks from scratch, try some fun but easy homemade movie snacks, such as crescent dogs or caramel popcorn with peanut butter. For drinks, fill large beverage dispensers with options like lemonade and fruit punch.

Set Up Mood Lighting

While your movie projector will provide a small source of light, you may want to consider adding more lighting sources to your backyard to keep everyone safe as they make their way across the yard to their seats or into the house to use the restroom. You’ll want to avoid lights that are too bright and could prevent your guests from seeing the movie. Instead, opt for hanging twinkle lights, tiki torches, or lanterns that will provide the perfect amount of mood lighting during your backyard movie night.

Keep Pesky Bugs at Bay

Too many crawling and buzzing insects can quickly ruin your good time. Have a plan to keep bugs off of your guests during movie night. In addition to providing guests with insect repellent, consider lighting some citronella candles or putting out a few bug zappers. You can make your own natural bug repellent by adding one part eucalyptus oil to ten parts sunflower oil. You can also create an efficient repellent using natural ingredients like tea tree oil, lavender, or cinnamon oil.

Pick a Fun Theme

Make your backyard movie night even more special by following a family-friendly theme. For example, serve pizza and green-colored juice while playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or set up an ice cream bar or serve other frozen treats while playing the movie Frozen. You can decorate the backyard based on your theme of choice and even send out invitations to your guests with the theme printed on them.