Tailgating and football games go hand in hand. There’s nothing quite like getting yourself geared up for gameday than grilling out with like-minded friends, enjoying great food, cold beverages, and good company. Social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19 required tailgaters to get creative with their pre-game prep, and “homegating” was born. The concept is simple and doesn’t require much explanation, instead of tailgating at the stadium, the party moves to your house!
Homegaters have found that they can get more creative with their planning with all of the conveniences at home, so we believe that the homegate just isn’t a passing phenomenon, but here to stay. Here are 10 ways to make your homegate an event to rival a tailgate.
One thing is for certain: your guests will arrive hungry and expecting food. Your snacks don’t have to be complicated, in fact, we would recommend keeping things simple, but the last thing you want is to run out of things to munch on during the game. Have snacks in abundance with backups just in case. You can always use leftovers for the next game!
We also recommend having a variety of drinks in stock for your guests. Again, keep it simple, you don’t have to have a convenience store at your homegate, but you want to have a decent variety of beverages available, with plenty of supply.
To keep the tailgating vibes alive, we recommend having your homegate outside, either on your driveway or backyard. With this in mind, a large overhead canopy to keep your guests in the shade, or out of some rain will be a nice addition for your guests.
Don’t be stingy on showing off your fandom either! Now is the time to go all out on your gear, and pull out all the items you accumulated over the years. If you want to keep things classy and comfortable, consider a Luxury Sports Rug with your team’s logo on it.
This feels like a given, but a viewing of the game is a must-have for your homegate, and the bigger the screen size the better! An outside projector is a popular option, so that everyone at your home can easily keep an eye on the action, no matter where they are. Sound can sometimes be an afterthought for a large screen, but there’s nothing like celebrating along with sound of the fans at the game, so make sure you have good speakers connected for your audio.
It’s always a good idea to have a solid playlist of tunes for your guests to enjoy when the game isn’t on. Awkward silence can be a buzzkill for a good party, so take some time to put together a playlist of popular songs to keep your family and friends feeling engaged and excited.
Chances are you and your friends have enjoyed many different meals and snacks while watching home games. Cooking up some of these fan favorites can make your homegate feel like your at the game. Hot dogs and burgers are an obvious choice, but don’t forget about pretzels or loaded nachos with stadium cheese sauce with pickled jalapenos. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Make sure there is plenty of seats for everyone attending your homegate. The last thing you want is to force some guests to stand for the entire 3 hour game. You don’t have to go all out, and can probably find good seating options from around the house. Patio furniture, camping chairs, even dining room chairs could be a good option for seating.
Food will be one of the centerpieces of the party, with guests continually milling around to refill on snacks and beverages. A well-organized display will keep guests from forming a line so they don’t have to miss any of the action. Make sure you have everything readily available for the guest, such as plates, napkins, and utensils. Plastic utensils and paper towels are totally fine and easy to clean up!
You may have some guests who aren’t very interested in the actual game. Sometimes an uninterested partner or children might have come along and start to feel bored early on. Consider having some games around that can provide additional forms of entertainment. Some of our favorites are:
If you aren’t expecting a large number of guests, a little extra effort can make a small crowd feel right at home with a little personalization. Consider writing their names on cups, having a snack pack for each guest, or utensils that are wrapped in napkins with names on the tag. Small things like that will make your family and friends feel like you truly care to make their time an enjoyable experience.
Don’t forget to include a dessert with your snacks! Again, you don’t have to go all out and spend hours baking football shaped mini-cakes, but a couple of different dessert options will be the icing on the cake for everyone who spends gameday watching with you.
Next time you throw a homegate party, if you follow these steps, you'll be sure to impress your friends and family, and they'll be looking forward to the next big game!
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