What Makes a Great Tailgate Party?

When considering how to tailgate for a football game, there are just a few key things that you need to make sure you remember to make it a smashing success. Just make a short checklist of these important things and you will have great fun getting worked up for kickoff.  We'll assume that you will bring along a good cooler and something to drink, so let's start with the other necessary supplies for tailgating parties.

Tailgating Food Ideas

When most people think of tailgating, they think of food, and selecting the right stuff makes all the difference. A grill is a fantastic way to serve delicious hot food and it always becomes a place to converse with friends. If there is no room for a grill, a big bucket of fried chicken tastes awesome on a cool fall day and even better after the victory. Include appetizers like chip dip, deviled eggs, or veggies for snacking, and don't forget the sweets to top it all off. 

Games Perfect for Tailgating

Having fun yard games to play at the event is a great way to offer entertainment and a little friendly competition. Classic games that fit in a small area include washers and cornhole. Another great option is to just bring along a good real or Nerf football for a game of catch or an all-out game. It's much more fun to play a lawn game after the victory while waiting for traffic to clear than to sit in the car, so have fun with it.

Canopies and Flags

Sometimes you need to set up your home base in the lot, and a canopy and flags will do just that. Support the team with a flag and add something that is unique to your spot, like another flag or streamers or wind sock. It will make your spot easy to find later. The canopy will serve as shade from the hot sun early in the season and a bit of insurance in case of rain on any given game day. 

Folding Table

When it's time to prepare the grub or lay out the appetizers, you can't beat a normal table. A folding table made for the car is a great choice as it is easy to transport, light weight, yet strong enough to support all of your goodies. Plastic folding tables are good for all weather conditions and are also useful to hold the bar.

Camping Chairs

Bring some collapsible camping chairs so that people can take a load off once in a while. The nice thing about these chairs is that they fold down and you can fit several in the back of the vehicle, yet they are roomy and comfortable. They will also dry out quickly after a shower if the sun comes back out. Opt for chairs that support at least 250 pounds, oversized for versatility and greatest comfort and, of course, make sure there are drink holders included.


If you can swing it, bring along a small television to plug into the back of the van to show over-the-air highlights, other conference games, or even the pregame of your favorite team if they are on a network. A DVD of a classic game from the past or greatest players in team history is also cool. Having a computer is nice too, especially if you get internet service through a cell compay. If you use a tablet computer car mount to mount your tablet to the back seat of the van, you can call up internet highlights and scores for everyone to see.


One great way to create atmosphere is to bring along some tunes. There are a couple of great ways to do this. One way is to use your car stereo to pump out the music, but this sometimes is a bad option because of the location of the car. A portable speaker system for a phone or iPod is a better choice since it will sit on your tailgating table right where the action is. Make sure you have upbeat and fun music and for a classic touch download your team's favorite fight songs so you can play them to pump up the crowd.

Don't Forget

Remember, that football games take place outdoors - at least most of them. This means you need to consider the weather. Bring layers so that a temperature swing of 15 degrees won't make you uncomfortable. I simple parka is a lifesaver when it rains, and a good cap helps too. For sunny days, don't forget the sunscreen, and to capture all the fun, remember to bring your camera.

If you bring the right food supplies and entertainment, your next tailgate will be a grand time. If you're wondering how to tailgate for a football game, just start with these key items and take it from there.