A Girl’s Guide to Tailgating
By Kristen Hamilton
Football season has officially kicked off, and tailgating – the pre-party of all pre-parties – is back. Avid football fans and party-goers alike are sending out mass tailgating invites and are planning for their next big tailgating extravaganza. You may even already have plans to attend one. There are plenty of articles on how to host a tailgating party but what should you do when you are invited to one? Is there a dress code? Do you need to bring anything? Don’t fret. Your tailgating what-to-wear-do-and-bring guide is here.
What to wear?
The great thing about tailgating parties is that you can wear practically anything. If you’re jazzy, wear a cute dress. If you are a more laid back type of girl, slap on some jeans and a t-shirt. Either way, if you are a fan of the home team or the visiting team, show some school spirit by sporting school apparel. Many of the college bookstores and athletic stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Football Fanatics offer trendy items to showcase support for your team. Even Victoria’s Secret and Old Navy have their own line of team-wear now! If you’re indifferent about either team, try supporting the school you sort of like by wearing their colors. If just don’t care, opt to wear neutral colors – you can never go wrong with black, grey, or white. By showing school spirit or sporting team colors, you’ll truly feel a part of the tailgating experience.
What to bring?
The tailgating party will have most of what you will need: good food, good people, and good fun. But there are some of just-in-case items that you might want to bring along…you know, just in case.
- Folding chairs. Most of your time will probably be spent standing as you play corn hole or walking around the stadium, visiting other tailgating parties. But there will come a time when you’ll want to sit down and relax. Since seating is often limited at tailgating parties, bring your own folding chairs. They’re easy to pack and are relatively hassle-free.
- Cooler. A tailgating party isn’t a tailgating party without a cooler. Most parties will have this essential item, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own mini-cooler. You can pack drinks for the kids and pack drinks that you prefer, especially if you are not into alcoholic beverages. One last thing: don’t forget the ice.
- Extra clothing.When it’s warm during the earlier part of the season, bring a hat and some sunglasses to fight the sun (in addition to wearing sunscreen). Also, as the weather starts to change, keep a sweater, cardigan, or hoodie nearby as it often cools down by game time.
What to do?
Just have fun, right? Right, but just like any other party, there is something I like to call ‘tailgating etiquette.’ Treat this party like you would any other event and do the following:
- Come with a tailgating gift. While I’m sure your tailgating host(s) will have everything they need, view the tailgating party as a huge potluck. Offer to bring a dish. Pick up some extra napkins and utensils for the party. Even if the host vows that they don’t need anything, bring a gift anyway. It’s a nice gesture, and it will ensure that the tailgating invites keep coming.
- Lend a helping hand. Don’t get me wrong – you are there to enjoy yourself! But if you are unable to bring a gift or if you just want something to do, offer to help set up or clean afterwards. You are the guest, so don’t feel obligated to help. However, the host will definitely take note and will more than likely return the favor when they attend your next party or event.
- Do some research. New to football but want to understand ‘football speak’? Need a refresher course? Read up on articles like “A Girls’ Guide to Understanding Football” or visit websites like Football 101 Women that break down football’s fundamentals. They key is to not overwhelm yourself. Learn the basics, and you’ll be more than prepared for both the party and the game.
Now that you know what to wear, bring, and do, prepare to indulge in what tailgating is all about: having fun. By following this simple guide, you will not only want to keep tailgating, but your fellow friends will want to keep inviting you. And who doesn’t love a good tailgating party?
Kristen Hamilton lives in Louisville, KY and is a web/copy editor for Hope for Women Magazine.