I only look forward to football for the food. This means I don't actually want to go to a game, but I don't mind Homegating! These Tailgate Ideas will help you host your friends and family on game day in your home.
These simple party ideas are the key to throwing a football party at home that you'll enjoy too.
My goal with any gathering is to create fun details but keep things as stress-free as possible. If you like to tailgate at home, these easy tips to help you party with ease.
What is Homegating
For me, football = yummy food! But if you're looking to give your guests a little more of a game day experience, you may want to put a little more thought into it.
I've never been to a professional football game. But it's on my bucket list just to experience it.
I hear tailgating is super fun at a stadium. But until I get to experience that, I will just invite people over to watch the big game at my house.
What is homegating?
When you party at home for a football game, it's called homegating. Tailgating is traditionally when you grill and hang out by your cars outside of a stadium. But sometimes homegating is also referred to as tailgating at home.
For me, it's not really about the game, it's about connecting with people and enjoying an afternoon together.
Yes, some people won't want to talk or have want any distractions from the game. But others will be happy for the distraction.
I'm not a big sports gal, but I am a big entertaining gal!
Tailgate Party Ideas for at Home
When I host a party at home, I like to create an atmosphere that goes along with the reason for the party (in this case, football) but also lets me stretch my creative muscles a little bit.
Our guest list usually includes kids and adults so we try to come up with things that will keep everyone happy.
There are three areas that I focus on at every party: food, activities and decorations to make sure that ALL the guests have a good time.
Sure, you can hang up store-bought decorations, but I always like to put a little of my style into it too.
This easy Football Banner is cute and easy to hang. I also string a few knotted yarn garlands around for some texture.
As I mentioned above, there are two types of people who attend football parties. Those who love the game and those who are along for the ride who care about the food.
The hardcore football fans won't care about your decorations, but the people who are there for the fun of it all will appreciate the effort.
I keep things festive but simple. You can buy a ready-made set from Amazon to keep it super easy.
Tailgate Food and Drink Ideas
Serving a meal can get stressful especially when your house is small, like mine, and it's hard to find a spot for all the guests. So keep that in mind when you are planning your football menu.
I set out a Moscow mule bar...so you know there were some good times had by the adults...
You could even let the kids make a Moscow Mule mocktail.
Or just set out some beer and sodas and keep things really easy.
A cooler of drinks makes it really self-serve. And paper or plastic cups are a must (and probably expected) which makes clean-up super easy.
I like to make sure I have one or two hearty items to really fill people up and then have lots of snacks around to graze on.
Pizza is always a great idea for a homegating party. Whether you make frozen or order delivery, you usually can't go wrong.
When we use frozen, I like to put a few pizzas in the oven throughout the afternoon and serve smaller slices but more often. That way everyone could eat when they were hungry and there was no full-on dinnertime to try to juggle.
If you would rather cook, you can browse this list of Instant Pot Recipes for football parties. Easy tailgate recipes will help you feed everyone well without getting stuck in the weeds on the day of.
You could always make a casserole ahead of time and then just throw it in the oven to warm through. This Chicken Enchilada Casserole with Manwich sauce would be perfect.
Or try these warm Salami Sandwiches. With onion and pepperoncini they are full of flavor and delicious straight from the oven.
I always try to set out fresh fruits and veggies at my parties. My kids are grazers and if it's out, they will eat it.
Plus with dietary restrictions, there will be something for everyone. I always hated when my son was left out due to his allergies (mostly outgrown, Amen).
Snacks are great because they can be set out and people can enjoy them at their leisure. Usually, I serve items that don't have to be refrigerated and can be left out for the duration of the party.
Here are some tasty snack ideas to serve:
- Chex Mix recipe is the best ever and this recipe with Old Bay is even more tasty.
- Chip Dip is a must. This version, also with Old Bay is unique and craveworthy.
- Caramel Popcorn is a sweet treat that people will keep coming back to.
- Cinnamon Walnuts are easy to grab when you're looking for something delicious and crunchy.
- Baked Salami Chips are a great football treat.
- Dried Beef Roll Ups are salty and creamy and a unique snack that your guests may not have had before. Plus they are easy to make ahead.
If you want to make something, check out my list of great fooball party appetizers. My go-to when I want to cook are these Chicken Taco Cups. YUM!
For desserts, Football Cookies are a must.
And so are beer infused brownies! Topped with some beer whipped cream, you've got a fun, slightly boozy treat.
Or browse all my alcohol infused cupcakes for more fun ideas.
If you really want to be decadent this Bourbon Bundt Cake with Sauce is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!
Kids love to be active so we made sure to set out some footballs for them to play catch with.
In my experience kids don't sit and watch whole football games. I also made sure there were paper and pens set out for drawing for the kids who weren't into sports.
We set up a super simple photo booth, with props, in the kitchen so the kids could get silly. You KNOW kids love to take photos of themselves.
Just think of the number of selfies you find on your phone. For the backdrop, I kept it super simple with a cute football-themed garland and some easy braids made out of crepe paper streamers and used ready-made props.
It was total boys club in front of the TV watching the game. The kids didn't hang too long but the men stayed parked here all afternoon. We won! Just kidding, I don't even know who was playing.
Do you love homegating? Share your go-to menu in the comments below.
- Artichoke Dip Sliders
- 20 Appetizer Ideas That Pair Great with Netflix (but are great for football too!)
- Loaded Tater Tots with Buffalo Aioli
- Blue Cheese Steak Bites
- Blue Cheese Nachos
- Easy Football Party Appetizers
- Dried Beef and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups
This post was originally published on October 26, 2015 and has now been updated with even more ideas for your football party.
Susan Christy says
Always a Chief's fan even when they aren't winning!!
Taryn Stout says
Everything looks so awesome! I love the idea of coin a tailgate party in the comfort of my home:) My favorite team is whichever team is wearing the best color combo and/or has the best mascot! Isn't that he way everyone chooses their favorite team?
Football is not big in our house except SuperBowl or maybe some other bowl but we do enjoy gathering people and food for a fun afternoon of food and friends (and maybe a bit of rivalry).
John Burgner says
Don't get a chance to watch a lot of games.
However it can't get much better than watching a game while enjoying good food with great friends!!! Go SeaHawks!!!
Marilyn B. says
I can't wait to make the dip it sounds so good! I guess I would have to go with our local football team to bad we don't have one!
Brenda Haines says
My favorite football team is the Oregon Ducks!!! I am a HUGE fan, as noted by the blanket I'm using and the shirt and socks I am wearing right now! My favorite player, since Mariota is gone now, is Vernon Adams. He is stepping up his game and becoming a true Duck, I can't wait until Thursday!!! YELL-OOOOOOOOOO!!!! :D
Sharon Garofalow says
Thanks for entering Brenda! You won! I'll be emailing you to get your mailing address!
We don't watch football at home (other than the Super Bowl), but I'll totally deal with it if I can have my house look as pretty as yours!!! and if it has lots and lots of dip.
wow, your decor looks amazing! The pizza looks great too haha
My fave team is Greenbay Packers! Thanks for the chance to win!!