Football Season Tailgating: What To Bring, Food And Hacks

By Jessi Stickel on September 22, 2016

It is officially football season, which means people will be attending games, especially college students. Whether it is a NFL game or college game, tailgating beforehand is all a part of the experience.

It is the time you spend in the stadium parking lot with your family and friends before the game, eating, playing games and just having a good time.

However, if you have never been to a football game, or just have never tailgated at a game before, you may not know what to expect or what to take with you.

Here are tips for tailgating at football games this season.

What to bring:

1. Chairs and tables

Tailgating is meant for hanging out and eating, so you will definitely want to bring at least one table for food and drinks, along with several chairs. If you have family and friends joining you, remind them to bring chairs as well.

2. Blankets

For the colder months, it may be windy and a bit chilly either when tailgating or during the game. Pack a few blankets in your car just in case you or your family and friends are cold.

3. Extra gloves

During the cooler months, it’s hard to forget to bring a jacket; however, not everyone remembers to bring along a pair of gloves. When tailgating you are going to be outside for a while, so bring a few pairs of gloves for any of your family or friends who forgot them.

4. Games

Tailgating is the perfect time to play outdoor games, such as corn-hole, ladder ball golf and horseshoes. Don’t forget to bring these types of entertainment at your tailgate party; if you don’t own any of these, ask your family and friends if they have them and can bring them. Playing these games is a great way to meet other tailgating groups as well.

5. Plasticware, plates, napkins and cups

For all the drinks and food you make and bring to your tailgate, you will need to bring silverware, plates, napkins or paper towels and disposable cups. Your tailgate could be a mess if you forget to bring these items.

6. Grill

Bringing a grill is optional, but sometimes a great idea depending on what type of food you want to have. If you want hamburgers and hot dogs, it is probably best to cook them at the tailgate rather than at home and hope they stay warm.

7. Coolers

Of course you will need coolers for your drinks and other food items that need to stay cool.

8. Canopy tent

If you are going to an early (still summer) game and planning on tailgating, it will most likely be pretty hot in the parking lot. If this is the case, you may want to bring a canopy tent to shade your food and guests.

9. Trash bags and/or trash cans

It is a good idea to bring a large trash bag or even a trash can for any trash you have including plasticware and food.


Tailgating should be fun, and so should the food. Change up the menu a little from simple hotdogs to these fun foods.

1. Taco cups

These taco cups are simple to make and are easy to eat when tailgating.

The ingredients include: ground beef, taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, black olives, green onions, and jalapeños. You will also need 9 oz clear plastic cups, which can be found at most dollar stores.

After cooking the beef, you can layer the ingredients in the clear cups to your preference and serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

For further instructions, go here.

2. Mac & cheese bites

When tailgating it is difficult to eat certain foods, when you’re not in your typical eating scenery, but these mac & cheese bites take traditional mac & cheese and transforms it into finger food.

The ingredients include:  elbow macaroni, garlic and herb cheese, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, unsalted butter, eggs, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper and crushed Ritz Crackers. These bites are oven baked in mini muffin pans, so it will require planning before tailgating.

For further instructions, go here.

3. Buffalo chicken tortilla roll-ups

Buffalo chicken tortilla roll ups are perfect finger food for tailgating before the big game.

The ingredients include: shredded cooked chicken, light cream cheese, Buffalo wing sauce, crumbled blue cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, large flour tortillas and thinly sliced green onions.

You will need to combine and mix the blue cheese, cream cheese , sour cream and cheddar cheese. Also, mix Buffalo wing sauce and shredded chicken. You then will spread a layer of each mixture onto the tortillas, and roll up tightly. After chilling in the fridge for two hours, slice the rolls into round slices and garnish with green onions. This recipe does take two hours and 20 minutes (because of the chilling), so plan your time accordingly.

For detailed ingredients and instructions, go here.

Tailgating Hacks:

1. Replace ice with frozen waters

By using frozen water bottles for ice in your coolers, you will have money and space. Once the frozen bottles have melted you have ice cold water for you and your guests.

2. Use a balloon for friends to find you

When your family and friends are meeting you in the stadium parking lot, it can seem impossible for them to find you through all the crowds of people. Buy a large balloon and tie it to your car — that way they can easily spot you.

3. Use a fitted sheet for a tablecloth

Fitted sheets are perfect for tablecloths; they fit snugly and don’t try to blow away in the wind. When you get home you can throw it in the wash for an easy clean.

4. Use a cupcake liner for a drink lid

Between bees and flies, drinking any type of sweet drink can be annoying at tailgates. Use a cupcake liner on top of your drink and poke a straw through to keep out any bugs.

My name is Jessi. I love entertainment news and enjoy writing about my favorite celebrities and films. I love to travel and see different places. I hope you enjoy reading my articles. I am happy to be a part of Uloop's national team!

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