May 28, 2014

DIY Backyard Outdoor Movie Theatre

Watching the sun set behind a big white screen and tuning the radio in to that special channel means summer. And with more and more drive-in theaters becoming a thing from the past I wanted to ensure that this piece of Americana lives on. So if you can’t find a drive-in theater nearby, what better idea than to create your own? With a little hard work, vision, and some neat tools from Brookstone and Bose, we were able to create our own American (okay neighborhood) legend.

An old above ground pool that hadn’t been used in 12 years and a weathered deck stood in the way of creating our drive-in but with a little sweat and a couple weekends we were able to clear the area.

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We then ordered five cubic yards of sand from our local landscaping company and put the kids to work helping to spread it across what we have named “Providence Paradise Beach” or #PPB … because everyone needs their own hashtag, right?

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Hitting up Home Depot, we bought two 2"x4"x8’s, some bolts, two buckets, and two 5lb bags of sand. Stopping by JoAnne Fabric we picked up a heavy white canvas type fabric and this was all we needed to create the movie screen.

One of my most favorite purchases is the projector is from Brookstone. It works with any mobile device or any DVD or Blue Ray player and to make sure all of the guests can hear the movie we purchased the Bluetooth wireless speaker from Bose. This is such a great speaker and with it easily pairing with any mobile device we can listen to music as well as the movie.

And how did we help to fray the costs of all this? Well remember that old deck? We carefully dismantled it and put the wood up for sale on Craigslist. Nothing like selling a pile of wood boards so other people can build their projects and making a little cash to help create ours.

Once we knew we were close to finishing the project we sent an email out to our neighbors. You see Daren, the kids, and I are all new to the neighborhood, just having moved in December we thought that hosting a movie night would be the perfect way to meet our new neighbors. Then just as dusk arrived on that Friday night so did the neighbors.

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Everyone was so excited to meet us, the family that tore down the neighborhood eyesore, as well as sit back and watch “Back to the Future”.  Young and old alike enjoyed the movie. The kids played in the sand and the adults stayed warm by the fire pit. And as our neighbors departed everyone wanted to know when the next movie night was going to be.

 In this day and age of suburban America, where people rarely know their neighbors, create something, maybe it’s a drive-in, maybe it’s something that you and your crew like to do. Whatever it is, invite your neighbors and enjoy.

Aryanna Hunter is an Iraq War veteran, mother of two, member of The Truman National Security Project, President of One Push Up, a non-profit organization designed to empower veterans out of poverty, and writes from her blog A Broad Sense

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