This Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens kick off their football season against the Buffalo Bills. Celebrate the start of another great football season by throwing a tailgate party! With a little planning you'll score a touchdown with your friends and family!
- reate a Guest List. Consider the size of your home when creating your guest list. Note the location of your TV and the number of seats available for people to comfortably view the game. Also take your budget into consideration. Unless your party is a pot-luck or BYOB, you'll have to determine the amount of people you can invite to keep your party within budget. If your neighborhood has a community center, you can contact the leasing office to see if it's available for rental.
- end the Invites! Using free services such as eVite or Facebook Events are great ways to spread the word about your party without incurring the cost of printed invitations. eVite allows you to customize your invitations with a football theme. These services also allow you to easily track who has responded and who has not.
- ind Additional Chairs. If your guest list outnumbers the seats in your living room, you may need to borrow some folding chairs from a friend or neighbor, purchase a set from your local home goods store, or maybe even rent a few from a nearby party vendor. Be sure to have enough tables or TV tables available for people to use for their plates and drinks.
- et in the Spirit! Dress yourself and your home in gameday colors. Find streamers, table cloths, disposable plates, and napkins in your team's colors or use football-themed styles to make your tables look like a football field. Oriental Trading, Party City, and other party sites have a wide range of options for you to turn your apartment or townhome into the ultimate cheering section. Be sure to have your clothing and any accessories for gameday ready to go! For fun favors, consider grabbing some team-themed eye black for guests to put on when they arrive or some temporary tattoos.
- reate the Menu. If you're planning a potluck, it's best for guests to bring side dishes, appteizers, and desserts. The host is usually responsible for creating the main dishes. Great game day options are burgers, hot dogs, barbeque, pizza, and Buffalo wings. Stadium-themed side dishes and appetizers include nachos, mozzarella sticks, dips with chips or crackers, pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, guacamole, and crab dip. A vegetable tray is also a nice touch and can be homemade or purchased at your local grocery store. If ordering pizza, it's best to order the day before and set a delivery or pic-up time so your guests aren't waiting hungry for pizzas ordered during prime hours. Whether you cater your event or cook the food at home, plan to have a little extra food as many people tend to graze over the course of a football game rather than sit down to a full meal. Buffet-style layouts are the best option for tailgate-style parties.
- uench Your Thirst. If your party is BYOB, you'll need to provide non-alcoholic beverages for your guests. Stock your fridge with water and soft drinks for everyone. If kids are attending, grab some juice boxes or kid-friendly drinks. Make some iced tea and lemonade to give people a few other drink choice and the option to create Arnold Palmers. If your party is not BYOB, be sure to grab enough beer or other hard drinks for all of your guests. Selecting a few different types is best, including light beers, lagers, and ales to suit different tastes. Setting up a poll for your guests on eVite or Facebook is a good way to gauge the tastes of those attending. Gluten-sensitive people can't drink traditional beer, but gluten-free options are available and most hard ciders and meads are great gluten-free substitutes.
- et Up Your Viewing Station. e sure your TV is viewable to all guests. If you have more than one TV, you can bring extras out into the living areas and play multiple games at once.
- Relax, Have Fun, and Cheer Your Team! Once the game has started, most guests will turn their attention to rooting for their team. A few other ways to have fun are to make predicitons for the overall score, winner, number of field goals, etc. and have a prize for the winners. NFL Trivia is a fun way to spend pre-game time competing against friends.
Who will you be rooting for this weekend?