A great alternative is the drive-in theater. The screen may not be 4K or IMAX but it can be a lot of fun on a cool fall evening.
If you’ve never been to the drive-in before or you simply need some tips on how to prepare, I’ve put together a list to help make your experience more enjoyable.
1. Purchase tickets online (if possible). Spots may be limited (especially due to COVID) and many theaters require you to reserve a space before arrival.
2. Clean the car to make it as comfortable as possible. Don’t forget the windshield (inside and out) so you have a clear view.
3. Wear comfy clothes and shoes that slip off easily. Warm pyjamas, sweatpants, fuzzy socks and over-sized hoodies are totally acceptable when you’ll be curled up in your car all night. Avoid anything constricting and don’t forget a light jacket or sweater in case it gets chilly.
Don’t bothering wearing makeup. It will be much easier to crawl into bed later when you don’t have to go through an entire night time routine (trust me).
4. Pack lots of snacks. I know it’s frowned upon to sneak food into the drive-in because you are expected to purchase stuff at the concession but it is best to avoid crowds and lines whenever possible. Many people are still uncomfortable eating out which is totally understandable. Most theaters don’t check and if you are watching a double feature, munchies are a must.
Food at the drive-in is usually not great so I bring something easy to eat like pizza or burrito bowls. I transport food and drinks in insulated bags that keep them hot or cool. I also pack my favorite popcorn and candy. Please remember that in Ontario alcoholic beverages are not permitted.
5. Bring blankets and pillows to create the ultimate movie experience when you kick-back and recline your seat.
6. When attending with a small group of friends or family, make sure the car can accommodate everyone. Sitting in the back seat may obstruct your view.
You’ll need a vehicle with a large trunk that opens wide, like a truck, van or SUV. You can easily create a comfy little bed with pillows and blankets. If not, some people might have to sit outside so bring folding chairs and be mindful of the weather.
7. Arrive early if you want a parking spot with a good view.
8. Bring a mosquito fan or bug spray. Most drive-ins are located outside of the city where it is dark enough to screen a film. These areas are often remote and during warm summer nights mosquitoes and other bugs may enter your car. It never hurts to be prepared.
9. Use the restroom before leaving home. I know this sounds a bit parental but we are dealing with a pandemic. If you need to visit the concession or facilities, don’t forget your face mask!
10. Make sure you know how to turn off the headlights and car while the radio remains on. You’d be surprised how many people have issues with this.
Lay back, get comfy and enjoy the show.