Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when football season approaches. Not only does it mean temperatures will start to drop, but it will mean Friday night lights, team apparel, camaraderie, lots of yelling at the TV, and delicious snack trays. Football fans are die-hard, lifelong, in-it-to-win-it type of people and the electricity once late August rolls around is palpable.
If your friends and family have a deep love for football (or you’ve found yourself hosting a game-day watch party), here are four main tips that will ensure your guests will not only enjoy the game but the environment you’ve created as well.
Tip #1: Keep the Food and Drinks Well Stocked
Football fans have a reputation for enjoying the classic snack foods like nachos, chips and dip, pretzels, and wings. If you’re hosting a party centered around football, know that you’ll want to have plenty of food on hand. For most other types of parties you’d do well to focus on serving high quality, unique snacks – but not for this kind of party! Think quality over quantity. And, since you’ll likely be serving plenty of salty snacks, make sure you’ve got enough beverages to go around. Cold beer is always a popular choice, but lemonade, sweet tea, and colas are great options as well. You can even make a football-themed cocktail like this Gatorade Margarita or these fun and festive Team Colors Cocktail Pouches.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to “Over” Theme
Football fans are obsessed, in the best of ways. So, if you think you’ve gone overboard with the football-themed decorations, you’re wrong! Grab another pack of your team’s colors’ balloons, find fun ways to incorporate mascots, buy plates, cups, and napkins that are football or team-themed, and even plan your outfit around your team colors. (Pro tip: make sure you check who your team is playing against and avoid that color combination!) Having a fun photo area is a way to “level-up” and help your guests document what a fun time they had. Grab props like footballs, helmets, jerseys, and whistles and keep them in a box by a blank wall. Encourage your guests to take pictures by taking the lead and taking photos of your own as well as offering to take their picture for them.
Tip #3: Check Your TV Setup
There is nothing worse than hosting a football party and going to turn on the game and finding you don’t actually get the channel it’s being broadcast on! Before your event, check to make sure that your cable/streaming selection will cover the specific game you’ll be watching and that your internet/cable is working properly. If you happened to have just bought a new TV (an upcoming football season can sometimes bring about great TV deals!), make sure you’ve got it set up and know how to work the remote, etc.
Tip #4: Tailgate Like a Pro
If you’ve found yourself needing to plan a tailgate party before (or sometimes after) the game, fear not! These celebrations can sometimes be easier because you’ve got to be able to fit everything in the car. Here’s a checklist to use:
• Table (for food and drinks – extra points for a themed tablecloth)
• Folding lawn chairs (like these; don’t feel like you need to bring one for each person, just a few will do and guests can rotate who is sitting)
• Ice + cooler
• Napkins, silverware, and cups
• Any alcoholic beverages, preferably canned (check the location you’ll be at to ensure these are allowed before bringing them)
• Portable games (e.g. a football or frisbee to toss, ladder golf, cornhole)
• A gallon jug of water (again, great for cleaning and washing off everything once you’re done)
• Sunscreen (if needed)
• Bug spray (if needed)
• Simple decoration (think napkins and cups in the team's colors and a football-themed banner to drape on the table)
• Trash bags
Strategically pack up all of this in your car and then you’ll simply unpack and arrange once you’re at your tailgate spot!
One of the best things about football fans is that they don’t usually need anything fancy to watch the game. If you’re providing the game on TV, something to eat and drink, and somewhere to sit, they’ll almost certainly be as happy as a home team with a 28-0 lead going into halftime.