We were all hoping that this summer was gonna be ‘back to normal’ with thigh-to-thigh indoor dates and all of us breathing the same air. But you know what? We’ve gotten used to outdoor now!
And COVID is keeping us out there. Luckily, in summer and fall, it’s not too hard to work out great outdoor date ideas.
A class great first date is a movie. So is an outdoor movie a good first date? You know what, it might be better than an indoor movie. Not just for virus-safety reasons either.
You can chat a little and get to know one another. You can take a picnic and some wine. It’s kinda romantic under the stars. You just have to really hope it doesn’t rain! Or else, make-do with a really good gazebo. If you’re looking for summer date ideas, then definitely consider an outdoor movie theater.
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Where To Find An Outdoor Movie Theater
Most towns have outdoor movie theaters at some point in the Summer. Check out your local larger park or town square, or even local bars.
They tend to show older movies, but that’s great, it’s a bit of nostalgia and you can either show your date a fave they’ve never seen or you can go see something you both love and kinda just… chat quietly through it.
Not too loud, you are still at the movies!
Of course, the other option is doing it DIY. If you have access to a yard, you can pretty much create a movie theater with no problem.
Whether it’s just for you and a date, or for a whole bunch of friends (and, of course, that date who you want to impress with your huge number of pals).
DIY Outdoor Movie Dates
For a backyard movies date, you essentially need a big white sheet, a movie (duh), a projector (not as difficult as it sounds), somewhere comfortable to lounge, and probably some snacks and drinks.
As usual, I’m gonna try to sell you on a slightly over-the-top picnic to impress your date when outdoors.
A selection of snacks and nibbles, maybe a vintage style picnic basket, and a few fantastic wines from First Leaf and you’ll be set to blow their mind with how thoughtful you are.
Of course, if you guys met on an app, you might have to engineer some conversations about whether Anabelle likes white, red or rose, or whether Charlie is into blue cheese, but that shouldn’t be too hard if the conversation is flowing well enough for you to be organizing a semi-elaborate date!
As long as the weather is looking good, an outdoor movie date at home (or near home) is easy. You can do it on a patio, rooftop, in a yard, or even in a carport. Whatever space you have, use it!
Backyard Movie Checklist
If you’re putting a backyard movie date together, you’re going to need a few absolute essentials along with some general outdoor date idea faves that will serve you well on your outdoor movie date adventure.
If your budget can stretch of course – an outdoor movie can always be budget if needed, with the sheet and projector the most important items!
I mean, maybe you can also manage some cushions and popcorn?? If you have the ability to push the boat out though, you should aim for:
Projectors really vary in both price and quality.
You can get something really useful for a slightly steeper price, like this option from Optima, or you can also get some amazing mini projectors for a bargain-basement price.
These may not have quite the lifespan or image quality of something more expensive but they often do plug super easily into your phone, Chromebook, or laptop.
These are usually sold as ‘mini projectors’, and there are a bunch of options to choose from with some faves being Top Vision and the more pricey but very, very popular MeYoung.
Basically, find something that will easily work with your tech (aka your computer or phone) and fits within your price range. There will be something out there.
A Lovely Clean White Sheet
Okay, if you need my help with this… then just buy new sheets anyway?
I guess maybe you don’t like a white sheet cos you love to drink coffee in bed, but you should have one for guests surely?
Just get a white sheet! Wow!
Something To Secure Your Sheet With!
Nails? Tacs? Clips? Are you hanging the sheet on a wall or a couple of trees? I have to say, if in doubt… Command Strips.
Seriously, they will at least keep the sheet up for the whole evening.
Or at least the maximum of 2.5 hours of the movie you’re watching.
Picnic Bits And Bobs
I mentioned a picnic basket, which is definitely an impressive option. But I have also written a full article on picnic first dates that you can maybe draw on for this.
At the very least, grab yourself popcorn and candy. Personally, I like to pour the Peanut Butter M&Ms into my popcorn. But maybe that’s just me.
If you wanna get really fancy, you can theme the food to the movie, like watching The Godfather or Big Night with an Italian feast or something French and possibly… cooked by a rodent? While you watch Ratatouille.
If you have some throw cushions you can bring out, those should be enough.
If the ground is a little wet, maybe get yourself a waterproof bottomed picnic blanket, and if it isn’t you might want to lounge on an impressive American-made wool blanket from Ibex.
These both apply if you’re hitting an outdoor screening that isn’t DIY too – remember to be prepared for all eventualities when going to see a movie in a park or on a roof!
You might want to bring your favorite theater beverages, like Cherry Coke or Mountain Dew, or if you’re rolling out the romance train then grab that Firstleaf Wine I talked about before.
In the summer, a rose should hit the spot. But again, if you just met on Field or Hinge, investigate your date’s drinks preferences before committing to a drinks list!
Coverage If It Might Rain
You might want to plan for the worst-case scenario. I mean, it depends where you live of course. But unless you’re in Arizona, Central California, or some Australian beach, you should think about potential rain and wind.
This might just be looking at the weather forecast (if you live somewhere that’s actually a good prediction) or it might be getting yourself a cute beach tent for yourself, your date, and your projector, or it might be a full-on gazebo.
What To Wear For An Outdoor Movie Date
What to wear on an outdoor movie date really depends on the season. That being said, you want to plan for most eventualities.
Presumably, you’re watching your movie outdoors at night… or else… well… you wouldn’t be able to see it?
So, layering is a good idea. Plus, it’s pretty much dark so comfort should come above style.
I still love the basics from Public Rec, particularly their thermal button-downs, which are designed for men but personally I think work as a between-seasons cover-up for anyone.
Movies For An Outdoor Movie Date Night
Choosing the right movie is obviously crucial to pulling off a great outdoor movie first date!
You should do a little digging and decide to work out what will work for both you and your date. Broadly, though, you want something pretty absorbing but light.
Classic horror is a great shout if you want to get cozy (Night of the Living Dead, or something modern you’ve both missed like The Babadook).
Then, there are classic rom coms to get you laughing — I’m a true suck for ‘90s Meg Ryan. Or comedy that will help you bond big time over what you time funny.
I’d say, unless you want to share a sold favorite, don’t try to show off with the movie choice. And don’t choose something you’ll end up shushing your date through!
This is supposed to be fun and a chance to get to know one another, not a film studies class. Unless you both love obscure French New Wave of course, then have at.
An outdoor movie date is a great idea, especially in Summer and Fall.
But as we get used to doing more and more socializing in the open air, we may well want to watch movies and shows around a campfire too.
Pay attention to the little details of the evening – whether it’s choosing a movie being shown locally, or setting up your own romantic little outdoor cinema – and your date will be impressed.
Plus, a movie gives you something to talk about afterward! And even on the next date. So, what is there to lose?
Except maybe if it snows. Admittedly, an outdoor movie date is tough to sell in the snow, or a hurricane.