There's something magical about watching a movie under the stars. But when it's cold or snowy, the great outdoors just won't cut it. You could wait for warmer weather and clearer skies — or you can bring the party inside.
I know what you're probably thinking: Isn't an indoor backyard movie night just a regular movie night? It doesn't have to be. With a few key decorations and a theater-meets-bonfire menu, a movie in your living room will feel just as special as a flick in the yard.
1. Hit the floor.
Sure, you've got a couch, but the key to creating an outdoorsy vibe indoors is forgoing some of those traditional seating options in favor of the floor. Move small furniture out of the room, and push larger pieces to the perimeter if you can. Then lay a bunch of cozy blankets and pillows directly on the floor. You can even take the cushions off the couch and put them on the floor in a pinch.
2. Adjust the lights.
Fake a starry sky with string lights — just drape them on the blades of a ceiling fan (make sure it's off and stays off!) or hang them on shelves or where the walls meet the ceiling. Scatter inexpensive battery-operated lanterns around the room and pass out glow sticks as guests arrive. To mimic a crackling bonfire, start a fire in your fireplace or, if you don't have a fireplace, light a woodsy-smelling candle.
3. Go big (if you can).
Ask around to see if anyone has a projector you can use to show your movie on a sheet or blank wall. Some smartphones, like the Motorola Z, also offer special cases, which will project a movie. Of course, your regular TV will work just fine, so don't sweat this detail if nothing turns up in your search.
4. Pick a crowd-pleasing flick.
Just because you want to watch Frozen does not mean the rest of the crowd wants to. Consider polling your RSVP-ed guests to see if they have a preference. Or see what Netflix has to recommend and don't be afraid to cross-reference the list with Rotten Tomatoes. (We suggest a rating of at least 75 percent or higher.)
5. Go s'mores crazy.
Entertaining outdoors almost always leads to s'mores. The good news? You can still serve these ooey, gooey treats despite not having an open flame. (Note: Open flames indoors are bad!) Just make one of these s'mores-inspired treats instead.
6. Stock up on candy and drinks.
You can find tons of cinema candy and cans of soda on the cheap at the dollar store. Load up and then pile it onto your bar cart or set up concession trays throughout the room.
7. Don't forget the popcorn.
Whether you're outside, in a car, or indoors, popcorn is a movie-night staple. Do not skip the popcorn. Ever. The good news is that it's super easy to make. Pop a big batch (or several batches, depending on how many people you have coming over) and dole out servings into brown paper lunch bags. This way, people can grab a bag and take it to their seat, er, pillow.
Be a Pop(corn) Star
Have you thrown a movie night recently? What flick did you play?