Fall means football season. And football season means tailgates. But you don’t need to have a ticket to the game and a stadium lot parking pass to host a great tailgate. In fact, some of the best tailgates are hosted from the comfort and convenience of your own home – and not from a parking lot. So circle your team’s big rivalry game on the schedule this fall and invite some friends over to your place for a tailgate party. Here’s a look at some ideas on how to make it a great one, no matter whether your team wins or loses.
What to Cook
When it comes to food, keep it simple. Don’t serve anything overly messy – stick to things like grilling hot dogs, hamburgers and maybe even chicken wings as the main dish. In addition to burgers and dogs, round your spread out with the likes of the following:
- Chips and chip dip.
- Pasta salad.
- A cheese plate.
- Bean dip.
- Pretzels and potato chips.
In addition to food, you need to think about the beverages you’ll be serving. We encourage you to host a family-friendly tailgate with something for everyone. Set up a bar (or bar area) inside where you can make cocktails and serve beer, but be sure to put out coolers with water, soda and juice too.
Decor and Activities
Food and drink are a big part of any tailgate, but so too is the ambiance. Hope for a nice day so that you can host guests both inside and outside of the home. Grab team-themed decor to put in the living room and tablecloths to place on the dining room table. Outside, make sure you have a football handy for guests to toss around. Also consider setting up other games outdoors, such as tailgate staples like ladder toss, cornhole, horseshoes and/or ring toss. If you really want to get ambitious, you can even pick up some white lawn paint and actually design your lawn to look like a mini football field.
How to Watch the Game
When it comes to entertaining and hosting, think both inside and outside – and not just for activities, but for game viewing too. If you have the means, set up a projector screen in the backyard and play the game on that for your guests. If you don’t want to take a chance on the weather, however, we recommend making sure several TVs throughout different rooms of the house have the game on. For instance, arrange a sectional around a TV set up on the back patio for guests to enjoy. And be sure to have the game on in the family room as well, with the sofa and other furniture arranged in a way so that many people can enjoy the gridiron action together.
Now that you’ve got the road map, there’s only one thing left to do: Pick the game you want to host and send out invitations.