It’s almost game time: 5 tips for a winning tailgate party

(BPT) – Your favorite time of year — football season! — has finally arrived, and it’s time to huddle up and get ready for your best-ever tailgate party. No matter how well your favorite team does this year, you can count on having a blast if you follow these tips to enjoy all the pre-game action with your family and friends.

1. Tighten up your game plan

While it may sound fun to just get everyone together and fly by the seat of your pants, the truth is a good game plan goes a long way to ensuring everyone has an epic time. Well before the big day, spend some time checking items like:

  • The weather forecast: This can help you not only decide how many layers you might need to wear, but also whether to pack extra ice and cold drinks or some thermoses of hot cider and cocoa!
  • Stadium rules: Make sure you know the rules and regulations, and share them with your team. Know what’s permitted to bring to the venue, how early you can arrive before the game (the earlier, the better!) — and scope out a parking lot map to pick some prime real estate, ideally with a little shade.
  • Draft players: Assign friends to help out by bringing more food, ice, coolers, extra napkins and wipes, plastic bags, etc. — as long as people know their assignments, you’ll have enough of everything you need.
  • Your lineup: Counting how many people are coming can help you make decisions about food and drink quantities, plus the right amounts of plates, cups and silverware.

2. Satisfy their appetites

You can make it super easy for yourself — and please the whole crew — by putting HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays at the top of your tailgate party shopping list. Whether you choose the Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray or the Hard Salami and Pepperoni Party Tray, you’ll have the most convenient collection of tasty, satisfying snacks to please everyone at your tailgate party. HORMEL GATHERINGS® Trays are versatile and delicious for any occasion, and they’re made with premium meats and cheeses the whole gang will love.

Even better, they’re the epitome of easy entertaining, because they’re ready to eat and easy to serve, requiring no cooking, cutting or assembling — just open a tray and enjoy. You can pair them with your favorite bread, fruits, veggies, dips or sauces to create endless combinations. They’re also available in different sizes and varieties to suit different needs and preferences. From small snack trays to large party trays, from classic meat and cheese trays to supreme trays with olives — packing a few of these in your tailgate cooler will guarantee your day is a hit.

3. Quench their thirst

Be sure you pack your cooler with plenty of cold drinks for your guests — including enough non-alcoholic options to keep everyone well hydrated, and for your designated drivers. Careful cooler packing can ensure you have enough for everyone. Remember to fill a thermos or two of hot drinks if the temps are getting chilly.

4. Bring on the fun and games

Include plenty of fun activities for everyone to enjoy during your shindig. You can bring along classic yard games like beanbag toss and horseshoes (or make up your own!), plus face-painting supplies for the diehard fans, a football or two to throw around, upbeat music to jam to — and some portable outdoor seating for when people need to chill and relax.

5. Leave time for cleanup

Make sure you have enough time for cleaning everything up before kickoff time. Bringing plenty of trash bags along and assigning team members for the assist will make cleanup a breeze — so you’re ready to go and enjoy the game!

Before your next tailgate party, family get-together — or just to have on hand in case friends drop by — check out the tasty possibilities at