The Etiquette of Tailgating - How to Avoid a Party Foul

To some, autumn means that the air is cooler and the days are shorter. To many more, it means the beginning of Tailgate Season. The time of year when you spend your weekends cheering on your favorite team and enjoying the company of friends while making new ones. There is an etiquette to Tailgating though. Read on and learn how to avoid making a party foul whether you are the host or a guest.


1. Always Bring Something

It’s just good practice to show up to any event, be it a dinner party, cocktails, or even a Tailgate, with something to offer.



Bringing food isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to a perfectly executed Tailgate. If you are friends with the host it pays to discuss offerings ahead of time and bring whatever is requested. If you want to bring food but can’t cook, that’s not a problem. Chips, pretzels, fresh veggies, and dip, or even something store-bought are more than acceptable.



You can’t have a good Tailgate without drinks. Just don’t be that person who brings the cheap beer and expects to drink the good stuff. Bringing something you love to drink, and that you aren’t willing to share is also not suggested. Instead, bring something you enjoy and love seeing others enjoy too. Keeping a good balance of non-alcoholic beverages is also a good idea. Things like soda, juice, and especially water are great additions to any Tailgate party. If the weather is cold - coffee, tea, cider, and hot cocoa are fabulous substitutions for an ice chest full of cold beer.





If you tend to attend larger Tailgates bringing food and drink may seem a little on the daunting side. Instead, providing extra napkins, ice, solo cups, and plates will never go amiss. Bringing your own chairs is always a good idea. There will be a lot of people at this event and may not be enough seating for you. Avoid annoying yourself and everyone else by sitting on the cooler. Bringing entertainment is another great way to contribute. Ladder ball, washer toss, and other easy games, like corn hole, are always welcome at a good Tailgate.


2. Be Respectful and Tidy

Supporting your favorite team with others can get rowdy. However, there’s a line between a rowdy good time, and just being unpleasant.


Being a Cheerleader:

It’s fun to cheer for your team. Showing your support in a myriad of ways which can include wearing team colors, waving team flags and foam fingers, or just being an enthusiastic cheerleader. It’s even acceptable, no- expected, that there are a few friendly barbs traded with the opposing team’s supporters. That is as far as it should go though. Being a shenanigator; purposely disrupting the good times and taking pleasure in stirring things up is unpleasant for everyone.


Fun and games:

Taking part in party games at a Tailgate is a great way to pass the time before the main event. Remember to be respectful of the others tailgating in your vicinity. Recreating the greatest catches ever, or holding a long throw competition is probably not advisable in a crowded parking lot. Smaller games are a better idea. If you remembered the solo cups, a game of flip-cup can be just as fun as going long, so can being the washer toss champion. Challenge the ‘Gaters next to you to a friendly round-robin tournament and make some new friends or rivals.


Pace yourself:

Tailgates start early and last until game time, sometimes longer. A day of drinking, even if it’s just beer, can leave you flat out drunk. Pace yourself, a Tailgate is about enjoying the game and the camaraderie.


Tidy up:

When it’s time to pack it in and get to the game you should be helping to tidy up. Make sure that everything gets packed away and the garbage is cleared. Leaving garbage and food will attract scavengers and isn’t pleasant for anyone to have to deal with.




3. Safety First

There will be a lot of people there, whether they’re Tailgating with you or partying it up a few parking spaces away, remember to keep the safety of yourself and others in mind.


First Aid:

A good host will have a basic first aid kit on hand, but it pays to have a couple of things for emergencies just in case. There’s always that one person who manages to cut themselves while opening something. Whatever the accident, keeping a clear head and a few essentials on hand is always prudent. Hot or cold, dehydration and overconsumption can happen. Make sure to have water available not just for consumption, but for cleaning too. For anything worse than minor burns, scrapes, or bruises, always call for a professional to come and help.


The Venue:

Check with the venue prior to the Tailgate to ensure that all rules and safety regulations are followed. There’s nothing worse than being told to leave because a rule was broken. Some requests include no glass bottles, no gas generators, and no charcoal to name a few. If you’re the Tailgate planner, ensure that your guests know these rules ahead of time as well.


Playing with Fire:

No Tailgate is complete without some delicious grilled cuisine. When it’s time to pack up and enter the stadium, remember that your grill is still likely to be hot. Consider shutting things down at least an hour before game time to allow things to cool off. If using charcoal, dousing the coals and placing them into a non-inflammable container, like a metal garbage can with a locking lid, is a good idea. Remember not to place coals that have been doused, or are still hot into your vehicle for any reason. Nor should you place them near propane canisters, the bag of unlit coals, or any of your outdoor furniture, until they’re completely cooled and have gone out.


Now that you know The Etiquette of Tailgating and How To Avoid A Party Foul you are ready for the next big game. Prepare for good food and team spirit with some inspiring recipes from our Recipe Blog. You can also learn more about the grilling way of life by reading articles on our BBQ Blog or watching our Facebook page.

Happy Tailgating!