As you know, it is fall and football season! We are sharing ways to take the party to the game. Learn how to host a tailgate party in a parking lot or field while attending the game. We love to go watch our son play football and we are supporters of our local college team, so hosting a tailgate party for friends and family is so much fun.
How to Host a Tailgate Party
First steps in hosting a tailgate party is to make a plan and be prepared. Since your party is away from home it is important that you have all your needs before leaving.
- Menu Plan
- Eating Utensils
- Serving Utensils
- Cooler + Drinks
- Ways to Keep the Food Warm
- Game or Activity for Kids
- Tablecloth + Decorations
I quickly and easily decorated our folding table like a football field with some green felt as the tablecloth, white duct tape and numbers cut from white cardstock. I found this inexpensive tabletop finger football game for the kids to play. You can even make your own out of paper folded into a mini triangle and straws to form the goal.
To set up the back of the truck I layered the tablecloths to add some depth. First down was a disposable green tablecloth that I picked up at Walmart for a dollar, then my white cloth, and finally, a burlap runner. The green plastic tablecloth kept everything else clean on the bottom and I could toss it at the end.
We made the menu by using a white paint marker on a black foam board. Again, another dollar craft. This way all guests could see what we were offering at a glance and it added to the decor.
Since it is a tailgate party I wanted to offer items guests could grab and go. These treat bags I filled with caramel corn and tied a ribbon for closure.
I found the black and white tins in the Halloween section and simply removed the decorative lid. Now they look like mini referees and worked perfectly to hold the yellow penalty flag napkins and plastic eating utensils. No fear in the items blowing away!
We set up our mini camping/tailgating grill to cook the hot dogs. To keep them warm during your tailgate party you can wrap them in foil and keep it mess-free put them inside little black treat bags. Makes it even easier to eat while walking around outside the game.
For our main course, we served our homemade turkey chili. By using a slow-cooker you can prepare the meal before the game at home and keep it warm during setup. At Walmart, you can pick up a portable outlet that plugs into your vehicle. We use ours on road-trips and it is perfect for tailgating. Although your chili will be finished cooking at home, you can plug the cord in to keep it warm during the party.
Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe
Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe
- 2 lbs Ground Turkey
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 Jalapeños
- 8 cloves garlic
- 15 oz red kidney beans
- 15 oz ranch style beans
- 30 oz tomato sauce
- 30 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp ground pepper
Diced your onion and bell pepper. Saute in cooking oil over medium heat until onions are soft.
Mince and add garlic to your pan. Add your chili powder and cumin to your veggies and let your seasoning cook for one minute.
Add your ground turkey to the pan and brown your meat.
Add all contents from your pan to your slow-cooker, first.
Drain the juice from your cans of diced tomatoes and pour the tomatoes, along with cans of tomato sauce into your slow-cooker.
Pour your beans with juice into your slow-cooker.
Dice jalapeños and add on top in your slow-cooker along with your salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.
Before adding your ingredients to your slow-cooker you need to prep the veggies and brown the meat. Start by adding some cooking oil to your pan and dicing the onion and bell pepper. Sauté until onions are soft. Mince and add garlic to your pan. Add your chili powder and ground cumin to the veggies and let the seasoning cook for roughly a minute.
Add your ground turkey to the pan and brown your meat, while mixing into your seasoned veggies.
You can just smell the delicious spice while preparing this chili recipe and I love it.
Now that your meat has browned it is time to add to your slow-cooker. Pour the ingredients from your pan into your slow-cooker first, then add the remaining ingredients. I suggest draining the juice from your cans of diced tomatoes but leave the juice from your beans. Dice your jalapeños and place on top along with your sea salt and pepper. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Don’t forget your serving spoon! The chili was pretty hot when we served it and since this was a tailgate party with disposable dishes, I recommend using plastic or paper bowls over styrofoam.
The condiments that we offered with the chili was shredded cheese and sour cream.
Everyone loved it!
You cannot have chili without some cornbread! To make it simple to serve, I baked cornbread muffins and used these cute football cupcake holders to add to the decor.
We also served homemade pico and guacamole.
For an easy to grab dessert I made these s’mores on a stick. There is just something about fall that makes me want s’mores. Plus, what better treat to enjoy during a cookout tailgate?
DIY Football Party Treat Stand
- Styrofoam Circles – two different sizes
- Green Spray Paint
- Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
- White Duct Tape
To make a stand that was cute and disposable, I decided to craft using some styrofoam circles. The styrofoam securely holds the cakepop or marshmallow treat sticks in place. To bring out the football theme I spray painted the circles bright green. No need to paint the bottoms.
The paint dries within a few minutes and you can decorate the edges by using white duct tape. This gives the look of the field lines. I trimmed the excess white duct tape from the top styrofoam layer but only wrapped it under the bottom layer. Since I wanted the top layer to lay flat on the bottom I didn’t want any extra tape in the way.
Next apply some hot glue and place down in the center of the bottom tier.
Before making my s’mores on a stick I pre-poked holes in the base. This way I wasn’t trying to push the marshmallow treats down while the chocolate was still melted.
I used black and white stripped decorative straws as the sticks to really bring out the football theme. Then I added a few football themed food picks to the base.
They were a hit!
After eating, the activities started. My son thought it was hilarious to pour water down his big brother’s back.
Which in turn kicked off a water fight among siblings. My adult daughter got in on the action and was teamed up against by her brothers.
After cooling off with some water they played a tabletop football tournament of their own.
I would say the tailgate party was a success!