Labor Day marks the beginning of football season, an exciting part of fall. That means Saturdays spent cheering on your favorite college team and Sundays sporting the colors of your favorite professional team. If you’re lucky enough, you can spend those days tailgating hours before the big game and then heading into the stadium with 70,000 of your closest friends. But what if your team is across the country or you just simply can’t make it out to the game? Host a tailgate and viewing party in your apartment using these tips and pointers.

Guest List and Invitations
Decide who you plan to invite to your tailgate party. If your team is playing against a good friend’s team, consider inviting that friend for a friendly matchup. Keep in mind how much space you have in your home to keep guests comfortable. Also factor in seating. Do you have enough chairs for everyone? Once your guest list has been set, choose invitations. For a quick invite, use online invitations, such as Evite or throw together a tailgate-themed invitation via email. Include the date, time and whether the party is BYOB. Encourage guests to wear their best spirit wear.

Tailgate Décor and Supplies
It’s your party, and you should decorate it the way you want to. Use your favorite team’s colors as décor inspiration around your apartment. Cover tables in inexpensive tablecloths in your team’s colors. Check out your local party supply store for cheap items, like tablecloths made to resemble a football field, football-shaped balloons and cheerleading shakers. Another way to incorporate the theme is to purchase paper plates with a football print. Purchase utensils, cups and napkins in your team’s colors.

Food and Beverages
Let’s be honest; the best part of the tailgate is the food – and maybe the beverages. Decide on how much stress you want to put on yourself. Should you provide all of the food? If you have too much on your plate, consider providing the main course. Possible options are burgers, hot dogs, low country boil or smoked brisket. If your team’s opponent lends itself to a possible theme, work off that. For example, if your team is playing Maryland, you could make crabcakes. Pick a main course and ask your guests to bring their favorite side dishes or dips that go well with what you’re making. In addition to the main course, have extras for during the game, including pizza, chicken wings and nachos. Don’t forget the sweets! Keep candy in dishes. You can also bake a simple sheet cake and decorate it to resemble a football field or add your favorite decorations to it. For the beverages, provide water, soft drinks, juices and ice and have the party be BYOB. Have plenty of coolers so your guests can keep their beverages cold during the party.

Television and Entertainment
Though you may be interested in one game, consider having televisions on around your apartment, or have more than one TV in the main viewing area. This way, you can keep coverage on of other games for your guests. A fun way to keep your guests engaged in the games is to record your guests’ predictions of the games on a poster board for bragging rights later. Have prizes for the guest that correctly predicts the most amount of winners. Another way to keep your guests entertained is to play traditional tailgate games. Use your apartment’s entry way for a modified game of beanbag toss or ladder golf.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto/asiseeit




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