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Fall Party Planning: The best tailgating strategies

Just about a month ago, we posted asking you to vote for the type of fall blog series that you'd like to see from the official House Party blog. Well, you voted, we listened and without any delay we bring you - as requested - your new fall series on...(drumroll, please) planning! For this first installment, we thought that no good party planning blog worth its salt could miss starting things off by covering the delicious (and rowdy) phenomenon of tailgating and no, we're not talking about the dangerous and obnoxious practice of drafting behind someone on the highway. Since we're always willing to go the extra mile for you, this blog post comes to you after in-depth studying and arduous practice of some of the best tailgating practices we found the world over. After all, sure enjoying the game is important, but that can certainly be set by how you approach the food and merriment leading up to kickoff, tip off, batter-up, etc.

1. Bring the spice: I might ruffle some feathers, but I'm going to simply say a tailgate affair requires SPICE! The experience isn't truly complete without the oh-so-familiar singeing of the taste buds and gentle burn in the nose. Now, I realize there are plenty of folks that aren't big fans of spice and I respect that. While I respect it, though, I don't completely understand it. After all, the occasion is a celebration of the competitiveness of sports and as we all know in sports: 'No pain, no gain!' I'm not advocating spice simply for spice's sake, however, so let these recipes for chicken wings (Buffalo variety is a must!), chili and gumbo persuade you that spice means flavor just as much as sweat. If you're a spice rookie, fear not - I've got a guide that will help you move up to the big show in no time!

2. Beverage 'outside the box': While there's always the beer and soda option, don't miss your chance to show some creativity with your drinks at any tailgate get-together. Beverages are an oft overlooked part of the party that deserves to get a little special treatment all its own. Whether that's making a beer cocktail (yes - you read right), a spiced cider recipe to keep you warm (for instance, if you're huddled outside Lambaugh Field for a few hours prior to kick-off) or even a coffee-based drink (whether spiked or au natural) there's a world of possibilities that awaits the true tailgater.

3. Bring the fun

Games are a crucial part of any tailgate. The easy ones are to bring along and play Cornhole, Ladderball, Washers and Kan Jam. Yahoo! Sports also offers a great list of games that will get you in the competitive mood.

4. Arrive early

In order to fully enjoy the tailgate, make sure you arrive with enough time to partake in all necessary activities: set up, cooking and eating, games, hanging with your group, and break down. You'll also need time to find the right parking spot. How to do this: locate the groups of football fans and the bathrooms and get as close to both as you can. Also if the stadium has any covered spots (Lincoln Financial Field has solar panels that work quite nicely as a roof), they may be great if rain or snow is in the forecast.

5. Dress for success

Depending on the time of year you're attending your tailgating event and the type of sport, one thing you need to do regardless - layer! Chances are you want to don the jersey of your favorite team but if it's going to be a long day with temperature changes, you might need to layer under AND over your garment. Check the forecast and your seats (are you going to be in the sun or shade, is it covered or exposed, is your field typically windy?) and bring more than you need. Nothing is worse than shivering for hours: earmuffs, heated socks, mittens/gloves, scarves and hats are your best friends, and can all easily be removed. Pair these with the hot beverages mentioned above and you should be ready to cheer, not shiver!

6. Bring the right equipment

Of course you can't tailgate without a grill and some chairs. Here are some great portable grills that stow away easily and some team branded chairs that ensure you can relax while you partake in the yummy food and beverages you brought. Of course if you want to kick things up a notch, there's always this.

What are your favorite tailgating tips? Share them with us here!


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