tialgating tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And no, I’m not talking about Christmas — I mean football season, of course! Although the game is what we really care about, there are many pre-game rituals. Growing up, everyone in my house had a specific game day jersey. If your game day jersey was dirty on game day, then you could expect a loss. Now I think it was just a ploy by my mom so we would take care of our laundry….

That was fun, but one of the best pre-game rituals I can think of is the tailgate! If you have never been to a tailgate, then here are some basics to know: A tailgate is a party or social gathering leading up to the game. This tradition got its name because these gatherings usually occur in parking lots of stadiums where fans open their tailgates and party out of the backs of their cars! Tailgates usually include grilling food and having lots of fun, and you don’t even really need the tailgate. Simply bringing some camping chairs could do it!

How to dress

You will want to be wearing your fan gear, of course. Deck yourself out in your team colors, maybe even some face paint! The important part is to make sure you have comfortable clothes since you will be in them for several hours at least. Also make sure you have warm clothes. It sure can get chilly on those fall nights, so I would recommend layering. Remember, you can always take layers off — but you do not want to be stuck shivering with not enough to wear!

You can never go wrong with a pair of shades to see all the action, perhaps ones in your team colors. Check out our spirit shades that match this year’s top 10 college teams!

Food + Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

If you have a portable grill and/or are a grill master, then you are bound to be the king or queen of the party. Tailgates are all about the grills! The best foods to bring are obviously grillable, like hotdogs, burgers, bratwursts, etc. Be sure not to forget napkins and condiments.

Other tailgating foods are easy-to-eat finger foods, such as chips, fruits, veggies, and of course something for dessert! Tailgates tend to be like a big pitch-in or potluck, so remember that it’s good etiquette to bring something to share if you plan to eat.

One delicious and easy recipe that’s always a hit is chicken buffalo dip. To make this, simply spread two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese in the bottom of a slow cooker. Spread two 10-ounce cans of drained chunk chicken on top. (Be sure to break up the chunks of chicken a bit.) Cover the chicken with 1 cup ranch dressing and 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese on top and warm in your slow cooker. As it warms, mix all the ingredients together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Buffalo Chicken Dip [source]

Remember to bring a trash bag and a recycle bag; these things can get messy.


Of course, another aspect of tailgating is the drinks. For the 21 and up crowd, usually beer is the easiest way to go. Be sure to have some soda and juice available for the non-drinkers. On a cold day, have some hot water on hand with instant coffee, cider mix, tea, and hot chocolate mix.

Once you are decked out in your team colors and have the food and drink parts down, you are good to go. The most important element to a tailgate party is the fun. They are a wonderful time of camaraderie to get some pre-gaming in and celebrate your team!

Image source: Cookinglight.com