entertainingFood & Drink

around the world with bash, please: hollywood

by Paige

Greetings, Design*Spongers! Now that summer has officially arrived, it’s time to indulge in one of our favorite pastimes: the outdoor movie screening. These events, usually held on rooftops or in an old cemetery (Hollywood’s most popular), are a fun, cheap way to gather friends and enjoy the warm summer nights. But who wants to deal with hundreds of strangers talking over your favorite flick? Not us! We decided to skip the crowds and created our own version of the drive-in in our backyard. And what could be more Hollywood than a screening of Mommie Dearest? Grab your sweetie, pop some corn and tie up a sheet, ’cause it’s time to host a backyard fete that will leave your guests nostalgic for those hot, summer nights (with no wire hangers)! — Bash, Please [Photos by Brandon Kidd, Rentals from Found Rentals]

The full party continues after the jump…

Before guests arrived, our couple picked through a cartload of quilts and pillows perfect for cuddling up and laid them out. We grabbed some throw pillows and box crates to create an outdoor living room. It’s so easy to craft an outdoor smorgasbord by bringing out your indoor coffee table or stacking shipping crates to create tables. Even a sturdy cardboard box turned upside down and covered with a tablecloth can act as a table in a pinch.

Homemade popcorn seasonings are sure to appeal to even the pickiest popcorn eaters. With flavor profiles like sweet, salty, spicy and savory, your guests will love refilling their popcorn bags.

Here are a few combinations we like:

  • Savory: Fresh Rosemary & Sea Salt
  • Salty: Sea Salt & Pepper
  • Sweet: Sugar + Cinnamon + Salt
  • Spicy: Cayenne Pepper + Salt + Paprika

Nothing like a frosty beer, chilled glass of Rosé or ice-cold soda pop to wet your guests’ whistles.

For those with a sweeter tooth, try some homemade cracker jack. It’s delightfully easy to whip up a batch and wickedly delicious (just like Joan Crawford herself)!

The Bash, Please version:


  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn (use your popcorn machine’s instructions to pop) or 3/4 bag of store-bought, air-popped corn
  • 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light agave
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine popped corn and peanuts.

3. For caramel, heat the butter, brown sugar, agave, molasses and salt in a pan on the stove until the butter is melted and the sugar is smooth.

4. Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn and peanuts, stirring well. Pour it all onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice.

5. Stir occasionally and let air dry until crisp, then store in an airtight container until movie time.

As for dessert, nothing reminds us of long summer evenings more than homemade popsicles. Fresh strawberries & cream and root beer float were our flavors of choice, but the combinations are endless.

This is what we did:

For the cream filling

  • 7 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, approximately 3 minutes. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the egg-white mixture.

For the strawberry puree

  • 1 carton of strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 3/4 cup sugar

1. Blend strawberries and sugar in a blender until smooth.

2. Layer your popsicle molds with the strawberry puree and cream mixture, freezing each layer before adding the next.

Other tasty popsicle options:

  • 50/50 (Orange Soda & Cream Filling)
  • Peaches & Cream
  • RazzMaTazz (Raspberry & Cream)

Our friends at Found Rentals brought oodles of vintage goodies to furnish our fete. We wanted our guests to feel at home, so for each seating arrangement (be it quilts and pillows or cozy beach chairs), a little side table is most handy. A few overturned crates make a perfect place for drinks and snacks as well as candles and flowers.

In true Hollywood fashion, we knew we had to be dramatic with our film choice. With its over-the-top acting and melodramatic storyline, we knew Mommie Dearest would keep our audience in stitches. We also like:

  • Midnight Cowboy
  • The Party
  • Heathers
  • Carrie
  • The Goonies

Don’t have a movie screen laying around? No worries; neither did we, but here’s how we did it:


  • two buckets filled with rocks or gravel (we poured cement in ours)
  • three 6 ft long 2 x 4s
  • one twin-size flat sheet
  • staple gun
  • extra fabric and twine to cover the buckets

1. Lay your sheet flat on the ground. Staple each side to a 2 x 4, circling the fabric around each board once. Once secure, lay your third 2 x 4 across the top, perpendicular to the two stapled boards. Nail/screw into the boards.

2. Place the bottom end of each board into a bucket, making sure there is enough weight in each bucket so the screen doesn’t topple over.

3. Cover each bucket with fabric and tie with twine, ribbon or extra fabric.

Tada! Your very own movie screen!

Suggested For You


  • PLEASE go back to the old design for the blog. This one is just awful! It’s distracting, and cluttered – you’ve got such a great sense of style and these grey/pink surroundings do nothing to showcase each post.
    I’m sad – I no longer find the same enjoyment from reading one of my favourite blogs.

    • sorry you don’t like it julia. i really love it and we worked hard to combine a stylistic change and functional improvements based on reader use and requests, so we’re sticking with it.

      we really appreciate your readership and hope to see you back again one day.


  • Oh, I love the idea of gathering friends and hosting an outdoor movie night. I was feeling kind of bummed that I don’t have any parties planned yet for the summer, so this is just the right pick me up! But MOMMY DEAREST? Really? You want to gather your friends, make yummy desserts and watch a movie that is about child abuse? No! I say a comedy or a classic thriller. Thanks for this great idea!

  • This is a fantastic party. Seriously. I don’t know about Mommy Dearest for an option (not in my circle of friends, anyway), but the whole party, and the ease of making the screen looks doable and FUN!

    And Grace, I think the site looks lovely. It took some getting used to, but I really enjoy it now (especially the ease of the search features that you guys changed!). The ad is still awkward at the top and I can’t see your logo in its entirety, but that is my one and only reservation about the new look. The integration of the other ads is actually much better here.

  • wow! bash, please! you go all out! great ideas that I can carry out in smaller ways at my own parties! I’m thrilled that they are dong a post for d*s!

    Grace, you handle every comment with such grace! I love that your name truly shines through your character! :) Thanks for being such a great example to all of us bloggers out there!

  • Perfection!!! I’ve been trying to think of something fun to do for my 30th birthday and THIS IS IT! My birthday is in October and I live in an apt so we’ll move the festivities indoors, but I cannot even express how much I love this! I’m so excited, I’m opening photoshop as I type to start designing the invite!!!

  • Oh my dear! You have captivated me with this idea and with your site. I love it! I love popcorn and am so glad you included some recipes for that. I’d like to suggest that you try some Himalayan pink salt on the corn–it is fabulous! I get mine from Sustainable Sourcing (here’s their website: https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com ). Oooh, and the popsicles—what a great recipe. We are moving to a new (to us) home at the end of the month…with a pool….I can’t wait to set things up and do one of these bashes!

  • I am so in love with this idea! Great styling and such lovely little details to make the party a memorable experience. I am feeling very inspired! Quick question though: any suggestions for where to get a projector and reel-to-reel films? And as for the design of this site – I am new to this blog but I am loving the design so far. Keep up the good work!

  • This is such a lovely idea! I love how detailed everything is, can’t wait to have a big backyard (unheard of in San Francisco) where I can host a movie screening!

  • Dear Bash, Please girls, can I pretty, pretty PLEASE be your friend? :) I’ve loved ever party idea you’ve posted. You guys are so talented.

  • We had such a blast throwing this party, thanks for all the lovely comments! To project in your own yard all you need is a DVD player, speakers & a small office/presentation projector. They’re pretty inexpensive at your local Best Buy.

  • What a wonderful idea for a quiet evening in the garden with my husband and critters and full moon. ;-)

  • What a spectacular idea! I absolutely love it! This is such a unique a creative way to have an outdoor get together, that I’m sure no one would soon forget! A+

  • OMG, this is a great idea! I just saw Super 8 in the theaters and the whole vibe of that movie really brought me back to my childhood and how immersive movies could be when you’re young and your imagination can still run wild… I imagine these kitschy outdoor screenings having the same effect. Nice!

  • Am I the only one who noticed what terrible quality these photos are? I get the whole “vintage” look, yes, but the you can see the banding from saving it as too low a resolution, or downsizing it incorrectly. I love the styling of the photos, just wish I could enjoy them more.

  • I think LS is right about the image quality. Funny, I didn’t notice the fuzzy pixel problem before.

    I love the idea of a movie night beneath the stars! Thanks for sharing such a great idea for summer :)

  • I completely adore this party!!! I really want to be able to pull this off someday… hmmm.

    and I love the redesign. It’s so chic!

  • L❤ve the new look for the blog—gorgeous!—and this al fresco home movie idea! You guys are fabulous.

  • First of all, this is the coolest of ideas. Perfect time of year to begin outdoor movies.
    As for the Blog Design. I can only imagine the challenges of meeting everyone’s expectations. Personally the Blog change was different but am now enjoying the format.
    Anytime we have changes it is a challenge.
    So, am Passing On huge Compliment to you!
    I think your readers enjoy your ideas enough they will stick it out. Have a Blessed Day

  • I just found your blog and I’ve been addicted to it for two days now. :) Love love this idea! I’m already making plans for my own under the stars movie night. I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on obtaining a reasonably priced movie projector and/or movies.

  • Love this so much! It gives me lots of ideas for the backyard movie party we were planning already for the end of the summer! We have a projection screen that we’re going to hang on the back of our house. This is too cute. Where will I acquire all of the crates, though?

  • I hosted this party last night, though on a rooftop & not a backyard. It was incredibly successful and I’ve been fielding emails full of compliments all day. The only issue was rigging up the sound (not as easy as one may think). Love design*sponge for hosting & design ideas.

  • Hi! I am planning on doing this for my 17th birthday and was wondering where one could find or borrow a movie projector cheaply? I would really appreciate your response!

  • We’ve done several outdoor movie parties by attaching a large flat sheet to our front porch, and putting the projector behind so it’s protected from dew/trippings/etc. We take our stereo out for sound and it’s awesome — we’ve done the Harry Potter movies this way, and hosted a couple of birthday parties for a young friend where we played Shrek for one and Land Before Time for the other. Be sure to have insect repellent on hand if you’re in a buggy area, as we are in SE NC. . . .I’m wanting to do another movie night this summer. . . we’ll see if I fit it in. . . it’s always great fun!

  • Love this idea and have thought about doing it several times over the past many years. The problem is, I don’t have a projector. Do you own yours or rent one? Wild love to do this this summer! Thank you for the wonderful ideas and such a great sight!

  • I know how you made your movie screen, but how did you get the movie to play on it? Did you use a projector, or just a laptop?

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