Let’s be honest, tailgating is the best part of every sporting event. A good tailgate is essential if you’re gearing up for a big game. Whether you’re tailgating at the stadium or staying at home, we have some great ideas that are sure to make your next tailgate better than the last.
Tailgate Party Decorations
1. Pennants Banners and Flags
Pennant banners are typically seen at sporting events and are great for sprucing up your sports den. Pennants can be used as decorations for various areas of your venue. Hang pennants on railings, tables, or around your house! Another great way to show off your team pride is to get flags. Flags come in miniature to full size! Why not have a mixture of both.
Balloons can add even more team spirit to your party. They come in every color imaginable. It won’t be hard to find your team colors. Use balloon weights as décor for the table where food is served and tie balloons to the chairs, cars, and railings. Balloons are the perfect go-to if you’re looking for a quick decor option.
3. Seasonal Decor
Since the football season coincides will fall, place a few pumpkins and gourds around your tailgate table to augment your food display. You can even turn your decorations into a fun activity where guests can paint the pumpkins the team’s colors
4. Team Colors
Be a true fan by decorating your entire tailgating tent in the team’s colors. If you’re a fan of the Packers, find plastic tablecloths, plates, cups, and napkins that are green or yellow. If you’re really dedicated, you can even create a color-themed menu.
Tailgate Party: Food and Drinks
When tailgating, you don’t have access to a full kitchen or the time to make complicated meals, so the simpler, the better. Below we’ll give you some of the top tailgating food and drink ideas that are easy to prepare and will make all the neighboring tents jealous.
5. Grill and Chill
Grilling and tailgating are synonymous in the sports world. If you haven’t tried this already, it is an absolute game changer! Grilling allows for tasty foods such as hot dogs, burgers, ribs, sausages, or kabobs to be cooked in bulk and for a lot cheaper than what the stadium will charge! Complete your fandom by getting grill accessories with your team logo!
6. Kid-Friendly Drinks
If there are going to be kids at your tailgate, use two coolers and label one “Sodas, Juice, & Water” and label the other cooler “Beers & Alcohol.” Stock the kids’ cooler with Capri Suns, water, and sodas to keep all the little ones hydrated and happy.
Beer and tailgating go hand in hand. Not only is beer a refreshing beverage that pairs perfectly with anything that comes off of the grill, but it’s also used in classic pre-game activities like beer pong. Make sure you include a variety of beers like pale ales, IPAs, lagers, and pilsners. You don’t want to be the person that has a full cooler of only one type of beer.
8. Finger Food
You have unlimited options when deciding which finger foods to serve at your tailgate. Some popular tailgating finger foods include chips and salsa, cold dips, sliders, vegetable trays, pigs in a blanket, and deviled eggs. Any food that doesn’t require your guests to sit down and eat will be a crowd-pleaser. These foods are perfect tailgating ideas as they require little preparation and are easy to find pre-made in the grocery store.
Chili is a game-day staple that is essential for a cold day. It is also a perfect meal idea for when you have to serve many hungry people fast. Prepare your chili the night before and keep it warm in a crockpot during the day of the game. Try to make a variety of chili options such as beef, turkey, and vegetarian. Don’t forget to bring dunkers for your chili, such as tortillas or corn chips.
10. Pre-Made Cocktails
If you or your buddies aren’t huge fans of beer, consider mixing up some popular cocktails the night before and sealing them in mason jars. Whether it’s margaritas, mojitos, or tequila sunrises, mix them up, seal them up, and have them ready for your guests to pop some ice in and enjoy.
Tailgate Party: Essentials
11. Cups, Plates, and Utensils
When it comes to the tableware for your party, the easiest option is to use plastic cups and cutlery. You could use the iconic Red Solo Cup or get decorative and use cups that are your team colors! You will also want to think about the plates and utensils, as they are easy to dispose of and reduce the mess you have to clean up after. Make it easy on yourself so you can spend more time enjoying the event and less time worried about the cleanup. If you want to be more kind to the environment, swap the solo cups for glass mason jars and paper straws and serve foods that don’t require the use of plastic utensils.
Tents are not needed to have a great party, but they are useful! Not only does it look awesome, but it protects you and your buddies from the weather if it’s cold or rainy. Tents come in many varieties. There are tents that are open on all sides or tents that have a screen. Whatever one you choose, it will be perfect for many tailgates to come.
13 . Comfortable Seating
Having comfortable seating is a must for any tailgate. Camping chairs are typically used for seating at a tailgate. You can also order fold-out chairs that are color-coordinated to match your team or ones that have the team logo on them. Don’t be afraid to bring more chairs than you think. You might mingle with other surrounding tailgaters! The worst thing that can happen is someone not having a seat. The availability of seating is a must for those who can’t stand for long periods of time.
14. Stereo, Speakers, and Music
Music can transform any normal event into an energetic one. Tailgating is no exception, so you’ll want to include a stereo, loudspeakers, and good music. A stereo has multiple functions besides just playing music. Most stereos have a radio function so you can listen to the game while enjoying time with friends.
Tailgate Party: Pre-game
15. Drinking Games
Drinking games are a fun way to get into the spirit of the game during a tailgate. There are countless drinking games adults can play at your party. To make sure you have all that you need to play, be sure to bring a long table for beer pong. Also, bring cards for those who want to participate in card games. Whether you are a tailgating pro or just starting, drinking games are a great idea for tailgating parties when kept under control.
You can’t have a successful tailgate without a few cornhole matches. If you’re a true fan, you can even customize your cornhole boards to match your team’s colors. This game works especially well if you’re in a wide-open parking lot. Pair up your guests to have a cornhole tournament or have a little friendly competition with tailgaters supporting the other team.
17. Face Painting
Now that we have covered an adult game, let’s talk about how to involve your little ones! Face painting is an excellent way for children at tailgates to have a lot of fun while feeling involved in the action! Have some face paint available for guests who want to get their faces painted before the game. It is an amazing way to show off that team spirit. You can hire a professional face painter for your event or purchase stencils. Be sure to have a template of the team logo, so you know how to paint it.
18. Toss Around
Bringing a football, frisbee, or some other type of ball is a great way to spend your time waiting for the game to start. What better way to enjoy a tailgate party than to play some games? You could even play a little pick-up game of flag football. This is a great option because it allows all age groups to get together and play!
Tailgate Party: Tips and Tricks
19. Warm beer? Easy Fix
If you or one of your friends bring warm beer to the tailgate, rather than just putting it in ice, here’s a cool trick to make it cold and refreshing in minutes. Put your beers in the cooler with ice, then pour in about a gallon of water and half a container of rock salt. If you’re really in a hurry, speed up the process by stirring around the drinks in the cooler as they chill. I’m no physicist, but I can promise that this works.
20. DIY Paper Towel Dispenser
Tailgating food is notoriously messy, so paper towels are always a must-have. Make it easier for your buddies to grab a paper towel by connecting it to your tailgating tent. All you need is a bungee cord. Run the cord through the roll and hang it up on one of the horizontal metal tent bars and voilà, a makeshift paper towel dispenser!
21. Pack Your Cooler Right
Setting up for your tailgate party can be a hassle. Make it a little bit easier by efficiently packing your cooler. Place beer, sodas, and your other beverages on the bottom, then pour out a layer of ice over them. Reserve enough space at the top of the cooler for sealed food containers like dips and salsas. This organization keeps your drinks icy cold and allows you to snag food out quickly.
22. Keep Ice Frozen Longer
If you don’t have a cooler or a well-insulated one, throwing a white blanket over your bags of ice will reflect the sun and keep them from melting as fast. It’s an easy and affordable way to keep things colder for longer.
No matter where you host it, you have the elements to make an awesome pre-game tailgate party. All you really need are some fans, some friends, and good food! I hope this has inspired some excellent tailgating for the sports season!