Alex Ham & Elizabeth Lavin


How to Host a Backyard Family Film Festival

Kick off fall with a magical outdoor movie party.

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.

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.

Courtesy of Vendor
Courtesy of Vendor
(Left) Good News candy bar; (Right) Druvmalla blanket, $10/Ikea

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

Directions for 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.

Directions for 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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