backyard_movie_party_1 photography by Alex Ham & Elizabeth Lavin


The Set

Roll film. The cooler temps and shorter days make this time of year perfect for hosting an evening of alfresco film fun. Keep it simple with a few cushy chairs and pillows, a stack of cozy blankets, nostalgic eats, and some tasty sips. Throw in a cast of your favorite friends, and you're ready to watch the main attraction.


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The Flick
Rushmore (1999). Go back to (prep) school with Wes Anderson's wickedly funny, cult coming-of-age story, starring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Olivia Williams.


The Menu
Pint-sized guests will clamor for hot dogs served from an old-school stand. Cater to grown-up palates by augmenting that squeeze bottle of ketchup with elevated toppings like homemade relish and spicy mustard. Stock the concession stand with a stash of your favorite vintage candies. Gourmet popcorn will make you wonder what you ever saw in that big bucket of fake butter-drenched movie theater kernels. We love the Red Hot Cinnamon and Salt & Vinegar flavors from Uptown Popcorn. Hot chocolate and Gold Rush cocktails keep the crew well-hydrated.

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The Libations
Create a refreshing cocktail inspired by your feature film.

The Rushmore Gold Rush
serves twelve
 
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
5 ounce piece of ginger, sliced into thin rounds
3 limes, cut into wedges
6 lemons
48 ounces club soda
24 ounces vodka

For the ginger simple syrup: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add ginger, and let the liquid simmer for 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, cover with a lid, and allow liquid to steep for 30-45 minutes. Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve into an airtight glass bottle and store in the refrigerator; discard the ginger. For the cocktail: Fill 12 glasses with ice cubes, add 1 ounce of ginger simple syrup, 2 ounces of vodka, 4 ounces of club soda, and the juice of half a lemon to each glass, stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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1. Screen Test Go DIY by hanging a king-size white sheet from your linen closet on a flat surface. For more viewing space,  opt for a large drop cloth available for about $30 at any home improvement store.

2. Ticket Taker A mock ticket booth serves as a snack bar for young guests.

backyard_movie_party_3 (from top): Good News candy bar, $1.29, World Market; Druvmalla blanket, $10, ikea.com

3. Sugar Rush Bottles of vintage sodas round out a spread of classic movie snacks.

4. Throw Down A wire basket is filled with inexpensive Ikea blankets to keep guests warm as they chill on vintage Persian rugs from Feizy (feizy.com) and cozy furniture from Rent My Dust (rentmydust.com).

5. Warm Up When the temperature dips, serve steaming cups of cocoa topped with generous dollops of whipped cream.

6. Hat Trick Send guests home with a film-inspired favor. We chose red berets reminiscent of the one wore by Max Fischer in Rushmore.