The grand finale of the football season is upon us once more, and your home may soon be filled with friends and family ready to watch the big game.
Tailgating at home can seem like a heavy lift, but handling these key tasks before guests arrive can make them more self-sufficient and comfortable during their visit. Use these tips to host a watch party your guests won’t soon forget.
Go on the offense with a good deep clean
Before you can get to the fun stuff, it’s time for a tidying session. Make your home shine like the Vince Lombardi trophy with these pre-game cleaning tips.
- Don’t risk your guests tripping over that old stack of magazines – it’s time to declutter!
- If you’re looking for something environmentally friendly, you can make these nontoxic cleaners to get all you scrubbing done, fume free.
- If you live in a place that sees snow, clear a path outside so guests can safely get to and from your front door.
- Make sure your HVAC system is dust free to help your guests keep their cool all game long!
Pro Tip: Simplify your to-do list with last-minute tech.
Easily serve up a feast with these party tips
Food is one of the biggest draws of any tailgate. Apply these tips to your food setup to make serving up your delectable party food run more smoothly.
If you’re going the potluck route, be sure to have enough outlets and counter space for everyone’s crockpots and casserole pans. Also, have extra bowls and serving utensils ready in case your guests don’t bring them.
How to be allergy friendly
If you know some of your guests have allergies or non-standard diets, take the following steps to make the dining experience safe and fun for everyone.
- Designate an allergen-free/dietary restriction-friendly area.
- If only a few offerings are outside guests’ diet(s), clearly label dishes made with food they won’t be able to eat.
For multiple guests with different non-standard diets, use the following to help them identify food they can eat.
- Color coded tablecloths
- Unique serving dishes
Pro Tip: Add big, clear signage for everyone that readily explains how you’ve organized your beautiful spread!=
Keep the event flowing
Avoid mid-game disruptions in advance! Prevent bottlenecks by spacing out fan favorites, and clearly mark your trash and recycling so pizza crusts don’t end up mixed in with soda bottles.
Organize your drink station to keep your guests well-hydrated
Your guests will need beverages to wash down all that delicious party food. Make it easy for them by keeping your drink station stocked and well-organized to quench your guests’ thirst. By using the following tips, you can avoid any mix-ups or multiple half-finished bottles of the same drink at the end of the night.
- Put out one bottle of each type of juice or soft drink at a time.
- Keep backups nearby and chilled, so they’ll be ready at a moment’s notice.
- Properly label all drinks, and leave a Sharpie out to identify cups, especially if children will be present.
- Stock up on ice at least two days in advance to avoid overworking your icemaker.
- Purchase/bring out and wash enough plates to avoid a dishwasher cycle humming over a crucial play.
- Liquidate your inventory — send guests home with leftover drinks at the end of the night.
Pro Tip: At the end of the night, tally up what was consumed to know which food and drink to serve next time.
Run a strong defense with these guest bathroom essentials
Stocking your guest bathroom is a key part of making your home game-day ready. Take these steps to make sure you’re not grabbing toilet paper during the game-winning play.
- Fill your soap dispenser, and keep a refill jug under the sink.
- Store extra rolls of toilet paper on a holder or in the bathroom cupboard .
- Make sure your bathroom has a clean, sturdy plunger.
- Add room spray or a timed scent diffuser before guests arrive.
Pro Tip: Accidents happen, and sometimes, we end up with more guests than expected. Store backups and extras on the path from the TV to the bathroom.
Give everyone a good view: Pre-plan your seating arrangement
One of the trickiest parts of tailgating at home is figuring out your seating arrangement. A guest with nowhere to sit may not stay for long. Our seating guidelines give you tried-and-true methods for making sure your guests are comfortable.
- Test your chairs before game day to know how many you can use.
- Ask guests to bring chairs if you need a few extra.
- Arrange them the night before so guests know where to fill in any chairs they may bring.
- If applicable, have small children share a seat.
Show your team spirit!
Game day is not complete without team spirit, and there are plenty of ways to show your support for your favorite team! You can purchase branded merchandise, such as custom jerseys, couch covers, napkins, and soap dispensers online or in-store to make your at-home tailgate party something everyone remembers.
You can make it look good with limited logos
Not everything has to bear the team logo. For more cost-effective ways to show your team spirit, visit your local grocery or dollar store to find trinkets and supplies that help you sport the colors of your favorite team.
With this year’s faceoff between a red and yellow team and red and gold one, you can save more than usual, separating camps with small accents, like inexpensive stickers or decals.
A feast for the city
You can also set up a feast fit for a football champ, featuring foods from their respective cities, like the ones below.
- San Francisco 49ers: Celebrate with a batch of the coastal city’s famous cioppino (seafood stew), or focus on California’s Mexican heritage with a Mission-style burrito bar.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Host a scrumptious feast of Kansas City-style barbecue, and pay homage with other Kansas City delights, like chocolates from KC powerhouse Russell Stover.
Whether you’re an at-home tailgate party veteran or this is your first time having people over to watch the big game, the only win bigger than a successful Hail Mary by your favorite team is hosting a tailgate at home that’s enjoyable for all.