If you are looking for a creative idea for your next big outdoor party, why not host a movie party? Take your family movie night to the next level by inviting several of your kids' friends or all of your neighbors to the party. Movie nights add fun to birthdays, graduations, block parties, and other gatherings, whether you have 5 guests or 50. They appeal to adults and kids alike. Here are some tips for hosting an outdoor movie night party in your yard.

1. Choose your movie party theme.
There are many summer party ideas that you can incorporate into your event. A few examples:

  • Hawaiian luau – Decorate with tiki torches, paper lanterns, and tropical flowers.
  • Surf's up party – Don't forget the beach balls, boogie boards, and Beach Boys music.
  • Hollywood party - Spotlight a popular movie star, or show one of the latest award-winning movies. Decorate with glitter and stars, and roll out the red carpet, treating your guests as if they are the celebrities.
  • Memorial Day or Fourth of July party - Decorate with red, white, and blue, hang some flags, and show a patriotic-themed film.

2. Pick a summer movie that fits your theme.

For young kids with short attention spans, you could show a series of cartoons rather than a full-length film. Good choices for an adult audience might include a light comedy or an action film. Your guests might be busy socializing with one another and therefore find it difficult to pay close attention to a movie with subtitles or a complicated plot.

3. Decide on your budget and look into outdoor movie screen rentals in your area.

Some rental companies provide just the basic equipment that you need, while others offer full packages that include projectors, jumbo inflatable screens, surround-sound speakers, and even popcorn machines.

Note: If you do not want to spend a lot of money on an outdoor movie screen rental package, consider buying or borrowing an inexpensive projector. You can find them in stores and online at Amazon, eBay, Wal-Mart, Target, and other merchants. The other equipment that you use does not have to be expensive, either. You can use a laptop or a portable DVD player and computer speakers. For a simple do-it-yourself outdoor movie screen, just hang a large white bed sheet.

4. Send out your movie party invitations two to three weeks before your party.

You can have them custom printed or you can buy prepackaged invitations from a party supply store, stationery shop, or greeting card store. To save money you can print them at home yourself.

5. Plan your party menu and make a list of decorations and other supplies.

If you have enough space, you can set up tables and chairs for your guests. Otherwise, make the event more casual by inviting everyone to bring blankets to sit on. For a small party, you can have a cookout or serve food based on your theme. For larger parties, or if you just want to save time and money, offer your guests popcorn, beverages, and maybe a selection of movie theater candy.