How to Throw the Best Tailgate Party – 12 Essential Party Ideas

Educational, Lifestyle

Crisp fall / winter air meets the anticipatory buzz of an upcoming game: It’s tailgating time!

What is a Tailgate party?

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According to Webster, tailgating is a social gathering in which food and drinks are served at or near the back end of a parked vehicle (such as a pickup truck) that usually occurs in a parking lot before or after a public event (such a football game or concert). For us, watching college football brings back fond memories of our youth, while Super Bowl brings all the laughs and nostalgia with family and friends. We believe every now and then, an NFL game first down showcases the indomitable human spirit.

PS – If you’re new to the game of football or unfamiliar with the rules, we would highly recommend learning the basics here.

How to Tailgate?

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Any seasoned tailgater will tell you it’s best to plan ahead. Packing a portable grill? Don’t forget the tongs and spatula. Carrying in some coolers? Be sure to bring lots of packaged Reddy Ice. Expecting guests? Grab a folding table and portable chairs. This is what separates the superfans from the fairweathers.

Remember, no proper tailgate party is complete without these three necessities:

  • Meats (burgers, brats, hot dogs, chicken wings, etc.)
  • Drinks (beer, soda, water, etc.)
  • Accessories (utensils, extra propane/charcoal, ice, chairs, etc.)


Plan to arrive four hours before the game starts. Then eat two hours before the game so you have plenty of time to set up and clean up.

Tailgating ideas

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We’ve done some research and learned tailgating hacks that will make you popular among your friends and guests. Here are a few of our favorites.


  • Learn the rules of packing a cooler.

Pack Your cooler the right way – drinks on the bottom – layer of ice over that – bagged foods and food in containers on top of the ice – leave little to no room for warm air.

How to pack a cooler

Infographic courtesy – buzzfeed

It is equally important to keep some food warm at a tailgate party. You can do this by using an insulated food carrier or portable hot food bag. If you are lucky enough to find a power source in your tailgating spot, you can bring your own small portable oven.


  •  Get beers (or your beverage of choice) cold in 3 minutes.

A common problem you’ll run into is needing to get a warm pack of beverages cold immediately. Submerge them in ice, of course, but also pour some water over the ice after that. Then add some salt. There’s a lot of physics that goes into this that we won’t explain but trust us, it works. You can make the process even faster by stirring the cans around in the icy water.

How to cold beer in 3 minutes
  • Turn a case of beer into a toss-away drink cooler.

In lieu of a cooler, get a case of your favorite drinks, empty it and line it with two garbage bags (so it doesn’t leak), then put the drinks back in and add ice. Afterwards, you can recycle the whole thing.

Turn a case of beer into a toss-away drink cooler
  • Prevent ice from melting

After filling the coolers with bags of cubed ice or block ice, cover them with a white blanket to reflect the sun and prevent ice from melting.

Prevent ice from melting
  • Premade cocktails

Mix up a few pitchers of cocktails the night before, and then pour them into mason jars for single servings. They can go right in the cooler full of ice with the beer and soda! We love this idea from The Chic Site.

Premade cocktails
  • Serve a specialty drink in your school’s color with a matching “anti-insect” cupcake liner lid.
Serve a specialty drink
  • Toolbox with all the essentials has to be added to your tailgate party checklist.
Top compartment Middle compartment Bottom drawer
spatulas trash bags condiments
bottle openers paper towels spices
tongs wet wipes seasonings
can opener hand sanitizer Plastic cutlery (spoons, forks, knives)
toothpicks sunscreen
wooden skewers first aid kit
basting brush poncho
mini flashlight plastic zip bags
masking tape
Husky Toolbox
Toolbox Essentials for Tailgate party

Photo courtesy of

  • Another storage solution: plastic storage bins with drawers

If tailgating is part of your life these plastic drawers are lifesavers. Keep them filled with napkins, plastic cutlery, koozies, etc. This is basically for all the bulky items that you don’t keep in your tailgating toolbox.

Tailgate storage drawers

Photo by Unoriginalmom.

  • An easy condiment caddy

Fill a six-pack holder with your favorite hot sauces and other condiments. These are easy to transport and carry to and from your tailgate, and keep the ketchup, mustard, and all your favorite sauces conveniently together.

Idea courtesy – buzzfeed

Condiment Holder

Photo courtesy of

  • Use a laundry detergent dispenser as a hand washing station.

One thing that you always need but never have when tailgating is a place to wash your hands. This one’s an easy fix. Just rinse out an empty laundry detergent dispenser, fill it with water and you’ve got the perfect hand washing station.

For your guests’ super convenience, you can even attach a paper towel roll.

Courtesy – diyncrafts

Hand washing station Outdoor
  • Use a few bungee cords to attach your paper towels to your canopy or hand washing station (shown above).

Love this idea by buzzfeed.

Bungee cords to attach paper towels
  • Trash bags laying on the ground or tied to a table leg are always asking for extra mess…not to mention a magnet for bugs.

Grab a pop-up hamper and stick a trash bag inside it! Better yet, grab two and use one for trash and one for recycling. Smart idea!

Idea source – Unoriginalmom.

Trash bags

How to dress for Tailgate Party?

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Tailgate parties are happening all the time and we want to make sure you’re ready for your next tailgating adventure. Here are some tips on what to wear when you head out to a tailgate party this weekend? But as we all know, there are no dress codes for these things. If it’s a day game then you want to keep cool in shorts or jeans with a shirt that is comfortable for all-day wear. If it’s an evening game, then dress up in your favorite jersey with some stylish heels and maybe even some cute jewelry to show off your team spirit!

Whether you are planning for a Super Bowl tailgate party, Dallas Cowboys tailgate party or hosting any other tailgating event, these ideas will make your job a lot easier. Watch this video by The List Show TV for a live demo of these tailgating tips:

Video –

Hope these tips will help you score a Tailgating Touchdown! GAME ON!