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Fall Tailgating: Kickoff Fall With A Perfect Tailgate

Whether your family is getting together with friends to catch a pro football game, college matchup or even the local high school team, tailgate parties are a popular way to get into that game day spirit. Here are a few simple ways we make sure our tailgate parties are successful.

Pre-Game Plan

In the days leading up to the tailgate party, make a plan. Choose food that can be cooked in advance and safely transported to the event in a slow cooker or grilled at the party site. I suggest a large slow cooker full of chili served with all the toppings and Town House Crackers on the side. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser that’s easy to prepare and share!

Pack disposable dishes and serving utensils for quick and easy clean up. Other essentials include disposable wipes for hand washing, garbage bags, and a first aid kit.

football tailgate food

family tailgate fun

family football game

Fueling the Home Team

Keep the snacks simple and fun. Offer colorful bowls of Cheez-It, Gripz, Scooby Doo Graham Cracker Sticks, fresh veggies or even grapes for easy, kid-friendly pre-meal snacking.

Town House Toppers are the perfect vehicle for our family's favorite easy appetizer. Take a block of cream cheese and place it in the center of a plate. Top the cream cheese with a savory pepper jelly, salsa, Buffalo Wing sauce, or cocktail sauce. Arrange the Town House Toppers crackers around the cream cheese dip and watch the entire plate disappear!

Everyone loves Rice Krispies Treats and they are easy to transport. If you have time and are feeling creative, cut out the Rice Krispies Treats with a football shaped cookie cutter and add the ball’s laces with a bit of piped icing.

Kickoff the Fun

Show off your team spirit by dressing in team colors and this includes the tailgate party area too. Start with inexpensive tablecloths, napkins, plates and cups in coordinating colors. Next add a team jersey, flag or mascot to the mix. Get the kids involved in making signs and banners and there will be no question as to which team your group supports.

Activities for All Players

Make sure you set up your tailgate where the kids will have room to move. Pack Frisbees and footballs for the kids to toss back and forth. You can also set up a craft table for the kids. Cover the kids craft table with white butcher paper and bring some markers. The kids can create their own game banner with messages and artwork of their own. Many discount stores and craft stores carry inexpensive foam craft kits the kids can use for making pennants, visors, and signs to show their team spirit.

Get a Whistle!

People tend to shy away from coaching when they feel like they "don't know enough", but especially with young kids, most teams just need some help keeping everyone in one place, so why not jump in and help coach? Coaches can also always use someone to volunteer to be the "team parent" to do work such as send e-mail notices for practices and games and coordinate a snack schedule, as well as the end of the year party. While it does take some time, being a team parent is a great way to get to know the players and parents while doing something for the team.

By keeping the preparation and clean up simple, you will have more time to enjoy the company of your group and will be able to enjoy the pre-game festivities! Go TEAM!

Do-It-Yourself Tailgate Party Ideas

Save a few dollars this football season and decorate your tailgate party with simple household items! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Cardboard Football Invitations – Create your own football-themed invitations by cutting football shapes out of corrugated cardboard. Print the party details on a separate piece of paper and bind the two pieces together with white shoe laces woven through the punched holes.
  • Construction Paper Pennants – Most construction paper already comes in popular school or team colors. Simply cut out triangle shapes with your little ones, write the name of your favorite team and hang them around your tailgate area.
  • Plastic Football Fun – Find some plastic, toy footballs, attach some fishing line or a kite string to them, and make your football viewing party really kick!

Keep Your Tailgate Moving with a Variety Snack Packs

Perfect for children at tailgates home or away, single serve, Variety Snack Packs featuring Cheez-It, Chips Deluxe and Fudge Stripes cookies always provide the freshness of a newly opened package every time. Pass along any of the following when you’re watching the game with your home team.

Healthier Tailgating

Here are a few ideas to boost the nutrition content and interest of your favorite tailgating snacks:

  • Sprinkle yogurt with low-fat granola for a crunchy, nutty taste.

Tailgate Trials

Don't worry if your kids are a bit fussy about trying new foods — a family tailgate party is a great way to test out a new recipe or snack. Between all the excitement of the game and the party, it's the perfect time to encourage kids to take a bite of something new, but don't force them!

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