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In its purest form, a true tailgate party is a social event hosted on or around the open tailgate of a vehicle during a football game. With months remaining until the end of our beloved NFL season, there’s still plenty of time to plan one TOUCHDOWN of a tailgate party – whether in the parking lot under the shade of your favorite stadium or in the comfort of your own home. Indoors or out, there are a number of elements that any football-themed party should comprise and a few strategic ways to score a victory with your guests.
Present a Good Offense:
The most significant word in the phrase “tailgate party” is PARTY! It’s important to set the tone for a festive gathering. Even when celebrating at the traditional tailgate, you can decorate with your team’s colors, offer games for guests to play – like cornhole, horseshoes and the like, feature music and pre-game commentary via Bluetooth stereo or on a travel screen and (OF COURSE) provide a great spread of food and beverages. Be sure to pack a folding table to set up your buffet and provide plenty of disposable plates, napkins, cups and utensils – along with large trash bags for easy cleanup.
Depending on your location, Woody’s BBQ welcomes the opportunity to help you with that last element – a great spread of food. From pulled pork and slabs of slow-smoked ribs to bbq beans and creamy cole slaw, we can provide a number of crowd-pleasing entrees combined with comfort food sides. We’ve even got you covered where dessert and sweet tea is concerned. To view our locations and menus, be sure to visit
If taking the party indoors, all of the above becomes a little easier and more “contained.” Make sure you offer comfy seating, plenty of TV screens for once the game begins and delightful distractions for any guests who are less than enthusiastic about the big game – video games are always a big hit with kids, while board games can help pass the time in a fun way for non-football loving adults.
Present a Strong Defense:
The enemy to any tailgate party… inclement weather! If hosting a traditional tailgate party outdoors, consider bringing a pop-up event tent and several umbrellas if it starts to rain. You might want to pack a number of blankets if temperatures drop, as well. Before you head to the parking lot, be sure to have a Plan A, B, C and D on where you hope to set up – text your destination to all your guests once you arrive. Make an effort to arrive at least four hours before kick off so you can set up, eat/play/entertain and then break down/clean up before you head into the stadium. If you plan to provide adult beverages, be sure everyone drinks responsibly and has a ride home if they don’t.
If hosting at home, make SURE you’ve got the required channel to watch the Big Game with your guests.
Give ‘Em a Couple of Surprise Plays:
To really create a memorable event, don’t rely solely on awesome food and a great game to get the job done. Offer a little something extra, such as…
• Show your Super Fan-Side: Elevate the game by making sure NO ONE questions which team you’re cheering for – between spirit wear to team-themed plates and napkins. You can even dress up your automobile by painting the windows with family-friendly phrases.
• Take a Cue from New Years Eve and Add a Little Noise to the Festivities: Whether you elect to invest in cowbells or make your own DIY shakers/noisemakers to hand out to your guests, it’s an easy way to get everyone revved up to cheer their favorite team to victory. You can also bring temporary tattoos, face paint and colored beads for guests to step up their look.
• Set up a Photo Booth Experience: The best way to create a memorable experience is to CAPTURE the memories. Pack a football helmet, pom poms, megaphone and other football gear that your guests can use in a series of selfies.
• Freeze Water Bottles: They can serve in place of ice in the coolers during the tailgate party and then pulled out of the cooler to melt and handout for everyone to drink on the way home from the game.