11 Outdoor Cinema Party Ideas

Up your party game with some next-level ideas

Looking for inspiration? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a quick reference list of some of the best ideas for a 21st century party under the stars.

1. Beanbags

The ground can get real uncomfortable real fast. Up the comfort factor with beanbags – or if you’re after a frugal option, a massive blanket/pillow nest also works well.

2. Lighting

Two words: fairy lights. As many as your budget will allow. If you’re a classic Australian with a clothesline in your backyard, put it to good use by draping a gauzy curtain or thin white sheet over the top and string fairy lights underneath. White candles or tealights placed strategically around also help add to the atmosphere.

3. Wet weather plan

Don’t scroll past this one – have you really thought about your wet weather plan? If it rains, will you postpone? Will you move everything inside? Do you have a large enough space (like a deck or a garage)? Read ahead on the weather forecast and plan appropriately to avoid disaster.

4. Sick Beats

Make sure you have your playlist sorted beforehand. Your outdoor cinema kit should come with a quality sound mixer and speakers, so make good use of them by playing the best tunes until the sun goes down.

5. Finger food

I’m talking cupcakes. Mini pizzas. Popcorn (of course). The possibilities are endless – and delicious. You can either go chic – fancy plates with colour coordinated napkins – or quirky: just put everything in saucepans and jugs and other things you wouldn’t ordinarily use as containers for chips/candy/hors d’oeuvres. I’ve used this method with massive success at some of my parties. Guests love it and it makes a great talking point!

6. DIY Photo Booth

Set up a large sheet, some DIY props (ideas here) and let people go for it. A party hashtag on the side might come in handy for day-after insta pics.

7. Party Favours

A party that gives out small succulents at the end is a party worth going to. Party favors never go out of fashion – no matter your age – and party guests will remember your event for a long time afterwards as they care for the newest member of their family, Planty McPlanterson (Roman Plantski? Mother Tree-sa?). Other ideas might include herbs or flowers, baked goods or popcorn.

8. Movie Tickets

This is more for a kids party, but if you want to up the hype, consider sending movie tickets out to the friends of your pride and joy. There are tons of printables online; find some of our favorites here and here.

9. Drive in Cinema

Again, for kids – spend the afternoon building cars out of cardboard boxes. Sit in said boxes for the duration of the movie.

10. Make Time to Talk

One of the best parts of the movie night is the conversation afterwards. Everyone sits in the flickering lights, still coming down off the rollercoaster of emotions they’ve just experienced, and talk. Without this essential time to explore their opinions, people are left feeling a little unfulfilled. Movie nights can be fairly antisocial, so this is a great way to let people interact – and they have the perfect topic at hand. I have a friend who’s known for rating every movie out of ten. Without fail, at the end of a movie, someone will yell out “What do you rate it?” and his subsequent “Exactly 5.7 out of 10,” never fails to rouse debate over all the best and worst parts of the movie.

11. Pick the right company

This may be my most crucial point. Pick a company to rent from who knows what they’re doing, has a great track record, and easy instructions. You don’t want equipment that stops working on the night! To ensure that everyone has the time of their life, choose wisely. I’ve successfully rented from these guys a number of times and loved it every time.

Happy watching!