tailgating party ideas

Super Bowl Tailgating has become an American pastime as much as any of our sports. Not just for football, it is done at hockey, baseball, softball and soccer games.

The word comes from the term to describe the back end of certain vehicles: it is the tailgate. Tailgates are not on every car, though. Trucks, mini vans and station wagons are the vehicles with this type of feature.

You do not have to have one of these cars to tailgate, of course, but if someone in your party does, it makes it that much easier to get things in and out of the car and provides an extra place to sit. Not to mention, these vehicles have a lot more storage room for tailgating essentials than a traditional compact 4-door. Here are a few basic football tailgating party ideas.

Tailgate Party Basics

If you are headed off to your first tailgate party, there are a few essential things you should know about this type of get-together.

1. First, it is ultra-casual, so do not let the girls come wearing heels and mini-skirts. Sneakers, jeans and team jerseys are the way to dress for both sexes.

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2. Second, you have got to have beverages and food. Unless you are going to a party where the group or host insists you do not bring anything, bring something. That means a six-pack of brew or a bag of chips, at least. Better yet, ask what you should bring or bring food for yourself that you want to eat.

What kind of food you ask? The most casual, American-style fare will do. Think hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, cole slaw, chips and dip, baked beans, chili, cookies and cupcakes. It is basically a picnic but instead of being on a grassy lawn it is in the parking lot of the stadium or someone’s driveway.

Consider bringing a folding chair for yourself too. Do not assume there will be a place to sit for you. A tailgate can only hold so much weight and you never know how many coolers will be making an appearance.

5 Tailgate Party Tips

Now you know the basics, here are some tips if you are going to be the host of a tailgating event.

1. Invite people who have cars with tailgates. That means more places to sit, more food and the potential for more games.

2. Be prepared to come early and stay late. Tailgating is a marathon drinking, eating and carousing session. It is not something you do for a half-hour before you head in to the stadium. A lot of tailgaters bring portable radios and TVs instead of tickets to the game. A few hours before the game and one or two hours after the game is a solid amount of time and will help you get in and out of the lot easier.

3. Bring a small portable BBQ and put it in some good quality tin foil for an easier clean up at the end. Freeze the burger patties in between wax papers and put them on the BBQ/grill still frozen.

4. Freeze bottles of water for two reasons: They melt into cool water for hot days, plus they serve as big ice cubes keeping the other things in your cooler fresh without melt water at the bottom that you will then have to dump out later – not to mention the less weight you will have to carry around.

5. A nice checklist, zip lock bags and large storage bins will do you a world of good at your football tailgate (or any other for that matter). If you do have ice in your cooler, get your drinks as cold as possible before you put them in and leave for your destination; it slows ice melt. You should also have jumper cables, a first aid kit, plastic trash bags, antacid and sunblock. The sun can shine even on cold days and cause burns.

Tailgate Party Games

So let us say you are at a tail gate, everyone is stuffed, a little tipsy and runs out of things to talk about? It is time to bring out the games. Simple lawn games can be transferred to the parking lot quite easily. Here are a few to try or check out these Super Bowl party bets and games.

The Bean Bag Toss or Cornhole

The bean bag toss is just a piece of propped-up plywood with a hole in the middle; it is also called cornhole.

Ladder Golf

Ladder golf is a trade-marked game you can buy at the store or fashion yourself. It really is not anything like golf, but can be fun nonetheless. Essentially, you throw two balls attached with string in the middle at a ladder-like apparatus trying to snag the string so it catches on one of the rungs.

Sholf Kit

Finally, you can pick up a sholf kit. Sholf is a mix between shuffleboard and golf; you will have to buy it though as it is not something you can make easily yourself.

Tailgate Party Food

They say the way to a man’s heart is through food, so the most memorable football tailgate party will have a seriously kick-butt menu. Sure you can do the basics, but you can also look up tailgating recipes that are out of the ordinary and add some panache to the party.

Try things like buffalo chicken dip, cajun guacamole, honey jalapeno wings and stuffed jalapenos.

And offcourse, no football party would be complete without some very original football drinks.