Many people think outdoor cinema is for warm summer nights only, and winter movie season is solely for hardtop cinemas. However, numerous examples from countries with harsh climate show us we are wrong here.

Canadian photographer Graham Whatmough would lough at us, Australians. He has built an outdoor cinema out of snow, working outdoors at temperatures below -30.

Londoners had been enjoying outdoor movies in different locations during last Christmas season. From free movies at London Bridge Christmas Market, to backyard cinema in Victoria Park, the choice of venues was extraordinary. Hot food, mulled wine and hot chocolate in combination with portable heaters kept the viewers warm while good selection of Christmassy films created very special festive mood.

Inspired, we thought to share with you some ideas to have winter movie fun here in Australia.

Extreme idea – winter camping movie night

winter movie night

winter camping, anyone?

There are great things about outdoor movie night in winter. For starters, you don’t have to wait till late to start the show – it gets dark early, and kids can enjoy a movie before their official bedtime. Secondly, you can start the night with a dinner at the campfire. Indulge in wintery foods and drinks to keep you warm. Check northern European kitchen for hearty meal ideas, and in addition, include in the menu mulled wine for adults and hot chocolate for kids! Get everyone in a winter-rated sleeping bag and organise seating. Smaller kids may enjoy watching the movie out of a tent. Provide a thick ground mat to sit on, and get children mittens and beanies.

If you are camping in your backyard, it is always possible to retreat indoors if the weather changes to the worse. We have been inspired by the stories of parents with children camping in the snow, and think with thorough preparations, it can be a great winter movie night!

Indulging alternative – hot tub cinema

spa and movies

hot tub cinema, anyone?

All you need is an outdoor hot tub, or Jacuzzi, or hot springs, plus an inflatable screen. It is ideal to have a bit of a cover to protect the movie projector from possible showers and water splashes. Organise a hot tub movie night in your backyard, using your own outdoor spa or hiring a portable hot tub.

Prepare comfy deck chairs and warm bath robes for your guests. A couple of portable infrared heaters will keep warm those guests who decide to move from the hot tub to the deck. It is perfectly fine to leave the inflatable screen outdoors until next morning. However, you will need to remove moisture from it before packing it away next day.

Dive-in cinema is a great indoor option for winter months

winter dive-in

Ready for a dive-in movie party?

Place a movie screen next to the indoor swimming pool, organise subtle illumination, put inflatables in the pool, and select a themed movie. Choose from films like Free Willy, Finding Nemo, the Water Horse or The Little Mermaid. For dive-in movies, place the projector behind the screen to avoid splashing water onto equipment. The screen should be capable of rear projection. Sealed screen is the best choice for dive-in movies for safety reasons, as electric blower will not be operating during the show.

Use indoor sports arenas for some active fun

Play computer games on a big movie screen, selecting from the range of active console games. Zumba Fitness, Dance Central and other active games will make you get up, shake it and sweat it out as if it was summer time! Organise karaoke and disco party for children, or have a fun workout with loud music.

Play a pretend game

Use big indoor space, like art gallery, community hall or school’s hall, and recreate atmosphere of outdoor cinema indoors. Bringing beanbags and popcorn in is easy. Create the outdoor atmosphere with artificial grass rugs and outdoor furniture. Use the sealed movie screen so that the blower noise is not reflecting from the walls of the venue. If the space is not heated or simply cold, advise the viewers to bring their blankets and rugs. Find out whether catering is permitted, and organise a snack bar.

We hope you got some fresh ideas for this winter movie season. So let’s party – no matter the weather!