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How to Throw a Great At-Home Tailgate Party

A diagonal row of hot dogs next to carrots, nachos, and other small dishes on a green and white tablecloth

Football season is upon us once more, and your home may soon be filled with friends and family ready to watch the game. Tailgating at home can seem like a heavy lift, but our tips can help you host a watch party your guests won’t soon forget.


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. If you know some of your guests have allergies or non-standard diets, be sure to have an allergen-free/dietary restriction-friendly area or clearly label food made with ingredients they won’t be able to eat.

Pro Tip: Space out the fan favorites to prevent bottlenecks in the kitchen or at the snack table, and have clearly marked bags or bins for trash and recycling, so pizza crusts don’t end up mixed in with pop bottles.


If you’re serving drinks from 2-liter bottles or gallon containers, put out one bottle of each type of juice or soft drink at a time to avoid having multiple half-finished bottles of the same drink at the end of the night. Be sure all drinks are properly labeled, especially if children will be present. You can also send guests home with any leftover drinks, so your fridge doesn’t get overloaded.

As every veteran of hosting knows, don’t forget the ice! Make sure to prep your icemaker or grab ice the day before so you don’t have to run out as guests are arriving. If you have a chest freezer, store a few bags in there to keep your beverages and cold appetizers at the right temperature until the final whistle blows.

Pro Tip: For food and drink, be sure to tally up what was consumed so you can get an accurate idea of what to serve up next time.


To make sure you have enough functional chairs, try to get a head count ahead of time so no one gets the wobbly swivel chair no one likes to sit in. If you’ll have more people than seats, don’t be afraid to ask guests to bring their own to make up the difference! Small children may be able to share a seat.

Pro Tip: Arrange as many of the chairs beforehand as possible, so people know where to put new chairs to be out of the way of foot traffic.


Prep your bathroom ahead of time so you don’t get called for assistance during the game-winning play. Make sure the soap dispenser is full, and that extra rolls of toilet paper are readily accessible. Keep a sturdy plunger available and keep your bathroom smelling fresh with a scented candle or plug in, as described in our article on decorating for fall.

Pro Tip: Make sure the backups to your backups are somewhere on or near the path from the game to the bathroom—if you have to take a 2-minute timeout to fix or replace something, you won’t want to go far out of your way to get it. As it sees more traffic over the course of the game, your bathroom will be ready to go without needing frequent attention.

Team Spirit!

Game day is not complete without team spirit, and there are plenty of ways to show your support for your favorite team! Branded merchandise, such as custom jerseys, couch covers, napkins, soap dispensers, and so much more can be purchased in local stores or online, and make your at-home tailgate party something everyone remembers.

Pro Tip: 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 rep your favorite team. Feel free to get creative and set an ambience that relates to your team’s mascot, like the following:

  • Knights: Try a “Knights of the Roundtable” theme with helmets, flatbreads, and fruit skewers on sword toothpicks.
  • Cowboys: Chili, cowboy hats and boots, and button-down shirts can help set the stage for a fun Wild West theme.
  • Bears: Have everyone wear fuzzy socks or fleece jackets in your team’s colors, and incorporate honey into different foods, like honey barbecue wings and baklava.

Whether you’re an at-home tailgate party veteran or this is your first time having people over for the big game, the only win bigger than a successful Hail Mary by your favorite team is covering your major home systems and appliances with an APHW home warranty. Call 888.351.3681 or visit APHW.COM today for more information.

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