The Ultimate Tailgate Party Guide

Posted by Michael Shine

The Fall sports season has arrived! We are excited as you, going to a gathering is the perfect excuse for a fall party and a great way to support your university or local professional sports team and have quality family time.

Discount Pet Deals has compiled a list of tips and tricks to make this year's tailgate the best one yet! We also have a great guide to help you travel with your pet, Pet-Friendly Vacation Planning & Activities.

Tailgate Party

Tip #1: Plan and reserve your spot

Don't make the rookie mistake of waiting until the last minute to reserve a tailgating spot. Some locations use a lottery system and have individual parking lots that are more convenient than others.

Also, tailgating regulations vary from place to place — check the website to review the tailgating policies and parking lot guidelines. You'll find rules about start and end times for tailgating, pets, sound systems, alcohol, trash, charcoal disposal, catering rules, recycling, and more as well as information about what you can and can't bring into the stadium.

Tip #2: Bring your A-game with the food

Since the quickest way to anyone's heart is through their stomach, a straightforward approach to keep your friends around is to bring your A-game with the food. Fire up the grill — chicken, steak, burgers, hot dogs, and barbecue are all great tailgate choices. Include vegetarian or vegan options, too.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Start by shredding the meat from a rotisserie chicken. If you're feeling fancy, you can poach (or roast) and chop your chicken. Then, mix the shredded chicken with cream cheese, sour cream, cheese (we used a blend of melty Monterey Jack and classic blue cheese crumbles), scallions, lemon juice, and — of course — buffalo sauce.

What is buffalo sauce?

Classic buffalo sauce from a mixture of chile-based hot sauce, butter (for richness), vinegar, and seasonings like Worcestershire sauce and salt is best. We used Frank's RedHot — it's a classic and a staple in the Good Housekeeping test kitchen.

Watermelon Helmet

This festive fruit bowl is a simple and affordable option that's ideal for game day. Cut a watermelon in the shape of a helmet, scoop it out fill with fruit, and the watermelon. Done.

Chicken Wings

One savory Super Bowl snack will always reign supreme: the mighty chicken wing when it comes to game day. Wings are messy but fun to eat, and they're a reliable hit at your annual Super Bowl party. They're also remarkably versatile, so whether you're Team Baked, Deep-Fried, Spicy, or Sweet, there are plenty of saucy chicken wings recipes out there for you. Talk about a winner.

Tip #3: Gameday décor

Embrace the team spirit and bring on the game day décor. Some universities or organizations broadcast tailgating highlights or present awards and prizes to the most spirited or best tailgate. If you want a chance to win or see your crew on the jumbotron, be sure to deck out your tailgating spot (and yourself!) in team colors and gear.

Tip #4: Entertain your guests

A little pregame competition can heighten the energy at your tailgate. Here are some fun ways to entertain your guests.


You can buy these boards in stores or, if you enjoy DIY projects, hand-craft your own set with an online tutorial. Rules are simple — teammates stand on opposite ends and toss bean bags, scoring three points for getting the bag into the hole and one for getting it on the board. The first team to 21 points wins.

Ladder Golf

Like cornhole, you can buy a ladder toss/golf set or make your own. Individuals or teams can play. There are two ladders placed apart, and the object of the game is to wrap your bolas (two balls attached to a rope) around the steps of the ladder. The top rung is worth three points, the middle two, and the bottom one.

Football or Pet Toss Toy

And bring a football! Easy and simple. Nothing beats tossing around a football on game day! Or a Pet Toss Toy is another option.

Tip #5: Bring the right mix of music playlist

Music makes or breaks a party, and you need it if you want students to stick around. Be sure to bring speakers with reasonable volume to make your presence known and help your guests get excited about the game. If strangers walk by bobbing their heads — or better yet, stop to join your tailgate — you're doing something right.

Tip #6: Pack your car with this tailgating checklist!

Avoid the "oops, I forgot the napkins" scenario. (Once you're on location, last-minute grocery shopping is a major hassle if not downright impossible.) We have a great guide to help you travel with your pet, Pet-Friendly Vacation Planning & Activities.

The Ultimate Tailgate Party Guide

Tip #7: Make it count

You've probably been missing your friends and games and naturally want to make every second count. Don't leave your pets out of the fun. When you represent your team colors with pride, you reinforce that they need to create a new, independent life and make memories that will last a lifetime.

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