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July 29, 2006 1:56 PM   Subscribe

What are your tips and tricks for going to the drive-in?

I drive a small car, but I also like the drive-in. What are some good ways to enjoy the drive-in without being cramped in my Honda Civic? (Extra bonus points for ideas that would facilitate/encourage snugglin'.)

Also, other than the obvious (blankets, a cooler, some tasty snacks, a frisbee for the time until the movie starts), what kind of stuff do you bring to the drive-in? Is there a way to prevent the car from steaming up (it happens regardless of the presence of hanky-panky)?

Basically, share your drive-in tips and tricks, please.
posted by travosaurus to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
1. Bring an extra pillow or two.
2. Bring something to block the dashboard lights.
3. OFF! or other mosquito spray (depending on location)
4. paper towels (viva) are great for cleaning off a steamed up window.
posted by mattbucher at 2:13 PM on July 29, 2006

Don't forget the bug spray!
posted by interrobang at 2:14 PM on July 29, 2006

Bring those fold up lounge chairs that everyone seems to have and back into your parking spot - leave everything in your trunk and treat it like a buffet. We did this 2 weeks ago and had a riot. We also brought handy wipes for Cheeto cheese fingers. The drive in we went to had the first 2 rows blocked off for cars so the view wasn't blocked by SUVs and minivans tailgates (get there early to get one). If you do get stuck behind someone driving a tall SUV, look towards the front of the parking lot, usually they leave an area open for kids to play in and you can set up camp there.

Turn off the dome light so you won't have any problems when you realize you forgot something in the car. Bring a flashlight so you can find the item you left in the car.

It was nice sitting outside because you can hear all the other cars stereo's too, so you kind of get a surround sound effect.
posted by blackkar at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2006

We never sit in the car at our drive in, nor do most of the other people there. And we've never had a bad seat because the viewing lot is tiered/terraced. We bring foldy chairs and a foldy table, a cooler of beer n' whatnot, and everybody brings some kind of food. Wings, chips n' salsa, veg n' dip, crackers n' cheese, brownies, whatever. We get there early and socialize and have beers and then settle in.

A Civic may require you to downscale a bit, i.e. no foldy table, and if snuggling's in the mix I'm guessing it's just the two of you, not a potluckable group. Instead of a foldy table, you could do the trunk method like blackkar says, or you could bring a small end table or folding tray stand to put food on. Unless they make folding camp loveseats, I'm not sure how you'd snuggle outside the car. I once went to a drive thru with a S.O. who had an SUV and we backed in and opened the tailgate and watched from there. Very snuggly. Civic maybe not.

I second the bug spray.

Maybe you could bring a wee candle to sit with the food and romance it up a bit.

In the summer the heat really radiates up off that hot pavement until the sun goes down and then still a bit. One of those little battery powered fans would be nice.

Jumper cables. Somebody always goes dead. It could be you.
posted by kookoobirdz at 2:49 PM on July 29, 2006

Wait. There are still drive-ins? Where?
posted by grumblebee at 2:56 PM on July 29, 2006

Glass cleaner and paper towels. The automotive spray stuff works wonders, although any of the glass cleaners that stay in place are fine... runny ones are no good. Spray on plastic cleaner is even better, if you can find it.

People think I'm nuts wiping up the front window so well at the Drive-In. I think they're paying full price for a movie with permanent dirt on it!
posted by shepd at 2:57 PM on July 29, 2006

Hey, I went to the drive-in last night, with two other MeFites! We saw Nacho Libre and Click. The movies cost $5. There was an old school bus in the back that had a full kitchen serving snack bar food. This is what I tend to do

- bring chairs and a boombox with either batteries or a car adapter. Staying in the car on a muggy night is no fun.
- bring an air mattress for the kids with blankets in case they get tired out, double features run LATE [also good for snuggling, if you think an air mattress is too much of a come-on then some big pillows and maybe a tarp to put a blanket on that you lean against the back of the car [NB: my drive-in is grass, not parking lot]
- bring snacks unless you truly like getting gouged for popcorn and soda prices. Unless your drive-in is almost going out of business in which case pony up to help keep them afloat. I like bringing some takeout from the local chinese place or hamburgers, it's sort of fun to sit and eat it outside (plenty of napkins and places to toss trash so you're not back and forth to the trash can all night) while you wait for the movie to start.
- bring a set of drier clothes in case the fog rolls in and you're clammy and cold by the second movie. For me, last night, this was socks, a hoodie and a wool hat. I was wearing all of it by 1 am and having it in the car and dry was excellent. A dry blanket might be good too.
- Don't forget bug spray. The folks I was with brought citronella candles which may have helped while it was still light out, but the flicker was sort of distracting once the movie started.
- Yes to jumper cables.
posted by jessamyn at 3:14 PM on July 29, 2006

Get yourself an Eskimo Pie and some bug repellant and see Earth horror versus space terror. And don't forget, you can smoke - talk - relax in your own car!
posted by pracowity at 3:28 PM on July 29, 2006

We also pull in backwards and sit in folding chairs and use the hatch as our supply staging area. We've tried folding down the back seats and sitting there, but cargo floor is hard and really uncomfortable to sit on for four hours. If you have an SUV, wagon, or hatchback it's nice to have the back end speakers over your head; low dialogue can get hard to hear. If you're going to a real drive-in with a graded grass lot, you may end up sitting on a slight incline. A cooler that will double as a footrest is nice.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:46 PM on July 29, 2006

I'll third or fourth the plan of bringing folding chairs and sitting outside your car. I only sit inside my car when it's fall and starts getting chilly.
posted by MsMolly at 4:07 PM on July 29, 2006

You might want to check the cooler policy at your local drive-in; some jurisdictions prohibit coolers in public gathering places, including drive-ins, as a way of controlling alcohol consumption. And in line with a point jessamyn made above, many drive-in operators (including our local Playtime Triple Family Drive-in) are giving 70 to 80% of the ticket price to the film distributor; without concession reciepts, they are out of business. If you like your local drive-in, buy the overpriced popcorn and drinks.

Personally, for serious drive-in comfort, I far prefer my redneck Christmas light sightseeing rig doing double duty in summer for drive-in enjoyment: An 8 foot bed that never has to be made, with a couple of Barcaloungers and a big ol' boombox (for atmosphere and getting the local FM soundtrack broadcast) back there. Now that's kickin' back at the movies.
posted by paulsc at 4:34 PM on July 29, 2006

I'll second (third, fourth, whatever) the folding chairs, boombox, and cooler method to drive-in fun. And if the movie you're going to see is remotely popular, get there early.
posted by spilon at 6:36 PM on July 29, 2006

Not to derail, but since when do people sit outside the car at a drive-in? I grew up with a drive-in movie nearly every weekend, and don't recall anyone sitting outside the car. Perhaps it was because the speakers attached to the poles were so crappy, but it just seems odd, that nowadays most people sit outside...
posted by Gungho at 7:20 AM on July 30, 2006

The drive in I go to doesn't have speakers on poles anymore, and I imagine many others are the same. They broadcast the audio for each screen on a separate radio frequency and you tune in on your car's radio or on a portable you've brought with you. So it's just as easy to sit outside the car as in.
posted by MsMolly at 10:01 AM on July 31, 2006

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