Food & Home

Megan with crown affair set

Photo courtesy of Alden Steimle

Concession Stand Recipes, Backyard Gear, and Classic Film Picks for Movie Night

In partnership with our friends at Miami Cocktail Company

One of the ultimate summer experiences is going to an outdoor movie screening. Or: bringing the entire experience to your own backyard with some gear, homemade concessions, and classic summer flicks.


The snack selection is just as important as the movie itself. And while cocktails aren’t allowed at your average theater, your backyard is a safe space for imbibing. Miami Cocktail Company’s Margarita Spritz is a summer star: Turns out bubbles, ginger, and elderflower make the most refreshing margarita. Plus, it comes premixed in cans—great for a contactless bar if you’re making the night a social-distancing affair.

The rest of the menu is inspired by classic movie theater fare: popcorn, candy, and slushies included.

  1. Miami Cocktail Company MARGARITA SPRITZ
    Miami Cocktail Company MARGARITA SPRITZ Miami Cocktail Company, $12.99 for a 4-pack
Vegan Cheesy Popcorn

Vegan Cheesy Popcorn

Nutritional yeast makes for some pretty damn good vegan cheesy popcorn. And that alone makes it worth stocking in your pantry.

Dark Stout Pretzel Bites

Dark Stout Pretzel Bites

Dunk these crusty, salty, chewy nuggets into mustard and enjoy with reckless abandon.

Cleaned-Up 7-Layer Dip

Cleaned-Up 7-Layer Dip

For a social-distance-friendly serving method, make the dip in individual ramekins.

Salted Chocolate
            Ice Cream Sandwiches

Salted Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

These gluten-free ice cream sandwiches are a little sweet, a little salty, and wonderfully reminiscent of an Oreo cookie.

Blue Majik Lychee Boba

Blue Majik Lychee Boba Cooler

We had to include a goopy answer to the beloved blue slushie. This time with lychee and blue-green algae.

Fun-Size Chocolate
            Nougat Candy Bars

Fun-Size Chocolate Nougat Candy Bars

These will 100 percent satisfy any candy craving.


In the interest of keeping it simple, we stuck to the basics: a solid projector that doesn’t require a million accessories, some cozy-making accoutrements, and a shockingly spalike insect-repelling oil.

  1. Showtime

    A great starter projector. It’s got smart streaming apps built in and a decent speaker (though you could easily upgrade as it also has Bluetooth). You can invest in a nice screen or just use a sheet or blank wall to project onto.

    Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector
    Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector Amazon, $580
  2. Bug Off

    This insect-repelling body oil could save your evening outside. Plus, the lemon-eucalyptus-oil blend smells so good.

    Jao Patio Oil
    Jao Patio Oil goop, $30
  3. Shed Light

    Warm, low lighting keeps things cozy.

    Eldvarm Emma Lantern
    Eldvarm Emma Lantern goop, $195
  4. Cuddle Up

    Put out pillows and a big woven basket full of blankets and throws so people can cozy up as the evening chill sets in.

    Morrow Parker Throw Blanket
    Morrow Parker Throw Blanket goop, $325


We curated an eclectic bunch—there should be something for kids, cinephiles, and surfers alike.



Olivia Wilde, 2019

Last year’s instant neo-classic about two college-bound best friends who, after being well-to-do straight-A students, decide to go for at least one wild, debauched night of fun before high school is over. The outrageous raunch factor works because this movie also has so much heart—deftly portraying those will-never-be-the-same-again feelings of closing one chapter before starting another.

Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee, 1989

The summer heat in this film is palpable. So is the tension. Set in the midst of a sweltering heat wave in Brooklyn, Do the Right Thing is an incisive exploration of race in America. It’s highly stylized, assertive, thoughtful, tragic, funny, and at times tender. And it’s as resonant now as it was when it came out thirty years ago.



Steven Spielberg, 1975

The movie that invented the summer blockbuster still delivers after all these years—an amazing feat given what a famously difficult production it was. If you think you’ve seen this movie too many times, give it another go: It rewards multiple viewings. In addition to all the iconic scenes you remember, there are many quiet, understated, yet very intentional moments that make this story about the people, not just the shark.

          Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

Hayao Miyazaki, 1988

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan’s most beloved animators. My Neighbor Totoro is about two young girls who find themselves in a new home inhabited by spirits called totoros. While the girls’ mom recovers from an illness at a nearby hospital, the totoros take them on adventures that help shape how they view life and the world. The timeless themes and animation will delight viewers of all ages.

Sorry to Bother

Sorry to Bother You

Boots Riley, 2018

A vibrant, surreal, irreverent film about a Black telemarketer who alters his voice to sound “more white” to get ahead at work. It hits on themes people have long grappled with about success, material wealth, and what we’re willing to sacrifice to get them. What do you consider beyond the pale, and when? Exploring these questions in this heightened alternate world doesn’t feel like homework. The score and soundtrack are great—first-time director Riley is mostly known from his Oakland-based hip-hop band The Coup.

The Endless Summer

The Endless Summer

Bruce Brown, 1966

This genre-defining sports doc follows pro surfers as they chase the best waves all over the world. The commentary is both silly and wry, and the footage of gorgeous scenery and epic surf is especially satisfying if you’ve got some summertime wanderlust. The surf-rock soundtrack, courtesy of The Sandals, is also a quintessential summer vibe.

Learn more about movie nights at The Avocado House (pictured, top) on Instagram @aldensteimle.

We hope you enjoy the products recommended here. Our goal is to suggest only things we love and think you might, as well. We also like transparency, so, full disclosure: We may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase through the external links on this page.