Salutations friends! I hope your summer is going well and you are getting the chance to spend lots of time outdoors together with your loved ones. Despite the bug bites and sunburns, our family practically lives outdoors this time of year. We try to enjoy it while it lasts, because let’s face it, here in the Midwest, our hot weather is short-lived. We’re already into August and it won’t be long before the days start getting shorter and the breeze starts getting a little more chilly.
Until then, we plan on making the most of our left-over summer. Our family has one more extended vacation planned to our cabin up north, along with some fun “to-do’s” that we’ve yet to check off on our summer list.
One of those we were able to achieve this weekend, by hosting an outdoor movie night in our backyard with some family, neighbors and friends. We have actually been wanting to do this for a while now, and were so thrilled to finally see it come together and be such a big hit.
We choose to watch the beloved children’s classic film, Charlotte’s Web – since we live in the country and are surrounded by barns & farms, this seemed like a pretty appropriate choice. Of course, the movie is not as great as the book, written by E.B. White, but it still is an adorable representation of the story of a pig named Wilbur who is lovingly raised by a girl named Fern.
The runny little pig finds himself one day put out in the barn, bored and lonely – until he meets Charlotte, the beautiful grey spider who thinks of a wonderful way to save Wilbur from a pig’s inevitable, unhappy fate….Christmas dinner!
The other adorable barnyard animal characters bring this story to life in the most entertaining way. It was a great family flick to choose for our outdoor country movie night!
This was a very easy set-up and low-key event to coordinate and I want to show you how simple it would be to throw a party of your own just like this one!
Obviously, the whole point of an outdoor movie is watching it on the BIG SCREEN! We were able to achieve this set up using a basic wardrobe ensemble – 2 side free-standing wooden holders with a long metal pole across the center. We often use this piece to hang clothing on during rummage sales out in our garage. We draped a queen-sized, flat white bed sheet across the pole and used clothespins to secure it on either side of the wooden stand holders. Then my husband used clear white thumbtacks to secure the sheet in place along the wooden side stands so it wouldn’t blow all over during the movie.
Last Christmas, my parents gifted us a cool portable entertainment projector, just like this one. It has been fun to use downstairs in our basement family room on the wall for movie nights with the kids, but we were excited to finally get to try it outdoors. It simply plugs into a DVD player with A/V cables and projects the image onto the screen. My husband hooked up some speakers to the back of it as well to help amplify the sound outside better.
This part was easy! We laid out a big outdoor picnic blanket nearer to the screen for the little ones who we knew would be more comfortable sprawling out on the lawn with some blankets and pillows. Then we set up bag chairs and other outdoor patio chairs along the back for the adults who may prefer to be a little further behind the screen.
Summertime is also known as mosquito-time around these parts. Especially since we live right behind a wetland preserve with ponds and a creek, we knew the bugs would be out in full force come nightfall.
I had my husband start a campfire in hopes the smoke would help keep some of the bugs away. We also lit tiki torches, citronella candles and had plenty of bug spray readily available for people to douse in before the movie started. Seriously…what is it about men and their fire?
My brother also came with a bug sprayer machine and “smoked out” the perimeter of our lawn just before the movie began. Despite all the precautions, I still got at least a couple of bug bites, but it could have been much worse!
Snacks & Refreshments
You cannot possibly sit through any sort of movie without the essential movie-viewing snacks available to you! We kept it pretty basic to what you’d find at the theater – freshly popped popcorn, caramel corn, puppy chow, candy, soda and lemonade. Each guest volunteered to bring some sort of munchie snack item. This pic was snapped before the puppy chow and caramel corn had arrived!
I dressed up a very rustic plywood table that we keep outdoors for painting & gardening projects with an old lace tablecloth and a piece of burlap. I added some candles in short mason jars to help keep the bugs away from the food. Then we used some of the kids’ farm toys to create the perfect little nod to our farm flick.
I stuck brown paper lunch bags filled with salted popcorn inside the wooden barn my kids love to play with so much.
For the drinks, we had lemonade in a dispenser on the table, along with soda & water in a galvanized metal bucket with ice. Red solo cups and a black sharpie helped keep whose cup’s was whose straight!
And of course, what summertime gathering would be complete without the presence of marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker? I’ll take s’more please!
Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better night to host this outdoor movie-viewing event! The weather was perfect, with no rain or wind. And I wished I could have captured the beautiful clear night sky with the stars shining so brightly over us – but alas, my camera does not even come close to nighttime “beauty shots”! Here’s the best I could snap as it was getting dark and the movie was starting.
Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, and even some of the adults admitted they had never seen the movie before and thought it was very cute.
I know at least 3 of the kiddos there really got into the country spirit of the evening! Hint, these ones may be related to me!
Along with our “little bruiser” who the night before had fallen and busted open his lip, sending us to the ER for 2 stitches! Yikes!
And even our chickens settled in to watch the
flock….I mean flick! 🙂
We had such a great time and I hope you’ve been inspired to try to create your own barnyard backyard movie night! And speaking of barns, I just have to share with you these pics of two incredible barns I have had the privilege of exploring this summer.
My husband and I are sort of barn-enthusiasts – we love the old history and character each old barn building has to share. These two barns we visited in a recent trip to Minnesota earlier this summer.
An incredibly pretty red barn with an ornate weather vane on the top at my husband’s family farm in his hometown…
And one more sweetheart of a white barn in all her chippy glory that we encountered while in northern Minnesota…
One more close up of this beauty for you to enjoy! Be still my heart!
I hope the rest of your summer is full of memory-making activities – no matter how grand or small they may seem, it’s the special moments spent together that really count.