At most colleges and universities, Saturdays mean one thing: football. No matter if you're a sports fanatic or not, everyone can cheer for tailgating. Fall weather, friends, and food are a winning combination. But, executing the perfect tailgate takes thought and preparation. So, even if you don’t know the difference between a touchdown and field goal, you will be sure to score big with your friends by taking our advice on how to throw the ultimate tailgate in style.
Create a buzz and get your friends excited by sending out invites beforehand. An easy DIY idea is to make the invitations in your school’s colors and in the shape of pennants. That way the invitation is fun, stands out, and doubles as a way to cheer on the team.
2. The playlist
The right music is key to any occasion, especially tailgates. Make an upbeat playlist of classic ‘80s tunes and current jams to keep the crowd pumped. Throw in your school’s fight song for good measure and some pre-game hype.
3. The drinks
If you're underage or want a non-alcoholic option, try this fall-inspired fave: Combine apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate, and orange juice. Stir until dissolved and then slowly pour in ginger ale. Top with apple slices for the perfect seasonal splash.
4. The food
Everyone will be serving the usual fare off the grill. Kick it up a notch by elevating traditional tailgate treats. Bacon-laced mac and cheese, black bean burgers, and grilled shrimp skewers will outshine everyone else’s basic grub.
5. Ditch the red cups
Red plastic cups are ubiquitous at tailgates. Instead, get creative by serving your beverages in mason jars with pretty paper straws in your school’s colors.
6. Mark your territory
Be sure to decorate your space with something distinctive so your friends can locate you in the crowds. Whether it be fun balloons or unique flags, pick an item that is cheeky and reflective of your personality.
7. Dress the part
Instead of opting for the basic collegiate T-shirt every undergraduate owns, scour the local vintage shops for the best sports apparel. The goods you'll find there will be unique, one of a kind, and definitely eye-catching, even in a crowd.
Besides the food and atmosphere, be sure to keep your guests entertained at your tailgate. Bring board games, create word searches, and even have a football handy for a good ol’ fashion tossing of the pigskin. Earn extra points among your BFFs with a simple nail art station featuring polishes in your school’s colors.
9. Make a custom hashtag
What is a social outing without some social media? Create a custom hashtag and encourage your guests to tag their photos with it. This way, you and your friends can create some buzz during the tailgate and relive the party for days afterwards.
10. Take-away treats
When the tailgate is over, that doesn’t mean the party has to end. Give your guests a bag of trail mix or chocolate-covered pretzels to sneak into the game and enjoy during halftime. Personalize the bag with a custom tag and message.