One of my favorite summer traditions is going to the drive-in or checking out the local movies in the park series. Our current stage of life comes with few obstacles that keep us from enjoying those activities for date night as often as we'd like. So we've found fun ways to switch up our movie dates with this fun at home alternative. You don't have to have a projector or a fancy setup to enjoy this date. But if you choose to "go big or go home", that's ok too!
Summer Backyard Movie Date Tips
Movie Setup for Your At Home Movie Date
Project the movie on the side of your house - If you are lucky enough to own a projector and have a big blank space on the side of your house, or somewhere to hang a sheet, this would be my first choice for an at home movie night in the summer. They sell little projector's like this one (partner link) that you can attach to your smartphone and use to project your movie onto any surface.
Bring a small TV outside - We have a little WiFi enabled TV that we can transport easily around our house. It's a decent size so we can set it up on our deck or at the end of the truck bed and watch a movie comfortably. This works best for movies that are on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime and can be streamed through WiFi connection.
Use a laptop or tablet - This is my third choice and can be used with digital copies of movies, shows that you can watch over WiFi or if your laptop has a disc drive, you can watch any movie in your collection. The only downside to using a laptop or a tablet is that it can hinder any cuddling because it generally has to be between the two of you in order to be seen.
A Comfortable Place to Watch for Your At Home Movie Date
Put a pile of pillows and blankets on the grass - This will be the easiest and most versatile way for anyone to put together an outdoor movie date at home. You don't need anything but the pillows and blankets that you already have in your house. Throw them into a cozy pile in the yard and you're ready to go!
Bring your air mattress out to the deck, patio or yard - This is our new favorite way to watch movies since we finally have a deck big enough to put an air mattress on. We have an air compressor, which makes this quick to set up. After our movie is over, we can stargaze or even sleep outside in the cool summer air.
Put an air mattress, beanbags or blankets in the back of a truck - True drive-in movie style includes watching the movie from the bed of a truck. If you own a truck, or have one that someone would let you borrow, this is an easy setting to recreate at home. When I was in college, we drove a truck to the middle of an undeveloped field in town and watched a movie on a laptop in the bed of the truck and that date idea stuck with me. Our newest truck has a bed big enough to fit our air mattress in so we get a change of scenery for movie night.
Movies to Watch on Your At Home Movie Date
Double Feature - Just like you'd get at the drive-in, you can enjoy your own double feature at home. You could compromise by each picking a movie you want to watch from Redbox or watch a chick flick and a guy flick. You could also plan to watch each other's favorite movies, or each of your favorite shows from when you were a kid. Get creative with how you determine your double feature.
Date Night Movies You'll Both Enjoy - The first couple years of our marriage, our obstacle was always what we should watch. I prefer romantic comedies and Joe prefers action or the type of comedy that you find in movies like Happy Gilmore. Now, rather than suffering through each other's movie choice, we've found movies that we both enjoy. If you're one of those couples who sometimes struggles to find something that you'll both have fun watching, I hope you'll find something on this list that you both like!
Link to Netflix Binges for Date Night - I looked through everything that is currently available on Netflix and added shows that we truly loved to this list. As shows are added and removed in the future and as we find more shows that we found binge worthy, I will do my best to keep it up to date. There are a lot of shows that we've loved in the past but that are no longer available on Netflix and that's a bummer! Whether you're looking to just watch and episode or two or binge watch and entire season (or more), I'm certain you'll find something on this list that you haven't seen yet and will love!
Snacks to Enjoy for At Home Movie Date
Three Gourmet Paper Bag Popcorns - The classic movie treat is popcorn. One of my favorite foodie bloggers, Bethany, shared three different popcorn recipes on my site a couple of years ago. There's a recipe for everyone and whatever you're craving; sweet, savory or chocolate. Click here for the recipes.
Cookies and Milk - Another one of our favorite things to eat together after the kids are in bed is cookies and milk. This post shares our three favorite cookie dough recipes.
A Full Meal - We've been having fun trying meals from my new favorite cookbook, Date Night In. It's the perfect book to pull from and cooking together is a fun activity to do before we sit down to enjoy a movie together. It puts a creative spin on the traditional dinner and a movie date.
Other Things to Remember
No need to pause your movie and put your date night on hold multiple times because you didn't think about having these things on hand and ready to go before date night started.
Bug Spray - The mosquitoes out by our house are brutal at night, even when we're far away from the grass. We found this brand that smells decent and works better than any we've tried so far. It's also free of the harmful chemicals that are found in a lot of other bug sprays.
Extension Cord - Depending on your method for watching your movie and how much battery life your technology has left, an extension cord and charging cable would be great to have plugged in, just in case.
Baby Monitor - If you have little ones asleep inside, having their monitor where you can hear them throughout your date is a good idea. The older our kids get, the less often they wake up after we've put them to bed for the night, but there is still the rare occasion that one of them needs us.
Dinner and a movie dates happen once a month for us and I hope to make this outdoor movie thing a monthly tradition throughout the summer every year. Taking your regular date night activities and putting a slight spin on them can refresh your date night routine and bring more excitement to your relationship. Plan an outdoor movie date or two before the summer ends and spice up your date night routine.
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography