Drive-ins got a makeover in 2020.

With closed theaters, movies played on my small TV, and the lukewarm reaction of the summer’s releases, I was itching to watch something with others. And lucky for me, the drive-in was back. I hope it’s here to stay.

By September, I’d seen friends post about their “new” drive-in experiences of watching family-friendly favorites with kids way too young to have ever remembered when pulling up to a lot with a huge screen and cars packed full of folks was a thing. So, I jumped at the chance to preview a new episode of my fall TV obsession: HBO’s Lovecraft Country. For weeks, I’d been watching along Sunday nights with my phone glued to my hand and my Twitter app open. The show—a beautifully scary series that seemed to defy all limitations by diving into a different genre of horror each week—was just way too good to watch alone. And with the rates of new COVID-19 cases on the rise, I figured an online community was better than no community.

But this day at the Lakeshore Drive-In, armed with greasy food and one of my good friends by my side, I was ready for that to change. It felt good to ooh and ahh and gasp in a group. With windows down, you could hear the murmurs and laughs and jokes between folks in nearby cars. And in a year with so much uncertainty, it felt safe to get scared and scream together.