Scary movies are, without question, enhanced by an outdoor viewing experience. Being outside, without the safety of locked doors and privacy of closed curtains, increases one's feeling of vulnerability and adds tension to the horror films we love during the Halloween season. Add in a rustle of leaves and a snapped twig or two in the background and you will be on the absolute edge of your seat.
In this article, we provide 8 tips for enhancing and optimizing your outdoor scary movie night. Whether you're watching on an outdoor television or projecting onto a white sheet (that may or may not double as a ghost costume), this article will help you take your experience to the next level.
If you truly want to get the most out of your outdoor movie night, it's important that you select a movie that maximizes the effect of your outdoor environment. To do this, your movie should feature a lot of outdoor scenes and have a setting similar to your home.
For example, the classic Halloween (as well as its reboot) features many outdoor scenes and takes place in a traditional suburban neighborhood; this makes it a great choice for many. If you have a wooded property, consider something like the Blair Witch Project or Cabin in the Woods. Or, if your movie will be viewed poolside, classics like Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and Friday the 13th would be perfect!
Further enhance your movie night experience by scheduling your start time perfectly. Many horror films, like the classic (and rebooted) Halloween, start during daylight hours and fade into night as the tension builds. It is a classic horror film technique that can be further enhanced by watching the movie outdoors and timing the start so that the sun will set in the movie at the same time it does in your backyard. It's a simple touch that can add a lot to your experience.
Nothing will end your outdoor movie night faster than rain and cold temperatures. While you cannot control the rain, you can certainly have a plan for keeping warm. If your outdoor living space has a fire feature, be sure to have it up and running for showtime. Also, make sure you have enough wood, readily accessible, to sustain the length of the movie. When burning for warmth, one bundle (4-6 pieces) of wood should sustain a fire for 2-3 hours.
Additionally, the fire will add an ominous glow to your setting and an unexpected pop of the embers might produce an extra jump scare during a tense, scary movie.
Along with starting a fire, make sure that your viewing area is fully stocked with comfortable pillows and blankets. Because your outdoor movie night will be on a clear evening (you would likely postpone if it was raining), your pillows and blankets don't need to be outdoor-rated.
Along with providing warmth and comfort, pillows and blankets can also be used to shield your eyes if the scary movie gets too intense.
If the goal is to elevate your movie night experience, it's essential to elevate your movie snacks as well. For your outdoor movie night, be sure to take advantage of all that your outdoor living space has to offer, including your grill and fire feature. If you don't have a fire feature, go get one right now; this article will be here when you get back.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
Whether it's hot chocolate, mulled apple cider, or pumpkin-spiced whatever, keep warm during the movie by sipping on your seasonal favorite. Whatever your preference, make a large batch ahead and keep it warm on the grill or next to your fire.
If you're really looking to set the mood for a night of scares, place candles throughout your outdoor living space. Depending on your movie selection, this simple touch could truly elevate your experience. Something as simple as a timely breeze that causes a flicker or blows the candles out entirely could add a real-life scare that makes the night truly memorable.
When watching scary movies, some people like to distract themselves in order to lessen the impact of frightening scenes. If you and/or your movie-watching partner(s) prefer a slight distraction, make sure to plan ahead and be ready with yard games or activities like making s'mores, campfire popcorn, or carving pumpkins.
Even if scary movies are not your thing, all of our tips also work wonderfully with family-friendly favorites like Hocus Pocus. Even the elements that might add a little scare, like popping embers and spooky candles, should be considered. No matter your level of scare-tolerance, everyone needs a little spookiness during the Halloween season! (Insert devilish laughter here)
Whether you're incorporating your outdoor living space into your holiday gatherings or you simply want to see something festive when you look out your back windows, our tips will help you to create a beautiful holiday scene on your patio, deck, or porch.