Championship Winning Home-Gate Game Plan

Just because you don't have tickets to get into the stadium, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the joy of tailgating. You can easily enjoy all the fun of a parking lot party and get excited about watching the big game at your own home-gating bash! 

Home-gating is a great way to cheer on your favorite team with all your friends, without the hassle and hustle of actually going to the game. No traffic, no weather worries and no crazy expensive tab for substandard hot dogs and warm beer. Plus ... you get full rights to the remote control. 

Arrange Your Arena

With just a few simple decorations, you can set the scene with a stadium-inspired theme. Think pennants, streamers and fun party-ware like cups, plates and even serving platters with team logos. Add extra chairs, beanbags or floor pillows to accommodate all your guests in the TV room and pipe the audio throughout your place and yard with bluetooth speakers to keep everyone in on the action. 

If people want to flip between several games during the day, designate a "Ruler of the Remote" to avoid tussles over which to watch. In the case of the Super Bowl, your RotR is in charge of volume control both for the TV and the crowd, to make sure no one misses those great commercial breaks! 

Plan Your Plays

Come up with ideas to keep the action going during halftime or between games - or to entertain the folks who are less than enthusiastic about watching sports. Great game day go-tos include touch football, beer pong or corn hole. If the weather's too crappy for outdoor activities, let people pick squares in a box pool where winners are determined by the score at the end of each quarter. Prize ideas could range from coffee mugs with the team's logo to tickets to an upcoming game to a team jersey.

Create a Football Feast

If you're planning to party from pre-game to post, you want to make sure you've got plenty of food and drinks on hand to keep the troops satiated. A mix of make-ahead, self-serve and fresh off the grill options allow people to easily grab snacks as they move and mingle. 

If you're thinking of cooking, your crock pot is a great way to make a hearty, one-pot meal that serves as its own warmer throughout the party. And, don't be afraid to dial for delivery ... there's no shame in ordering pizza and wings from the local spot to make things super simple. For dessert, cookies and cupcakes are an easy, crowd-pleasing way to go. 

Or, another idea is to make brownies and cut them into football shapes. Add "laces" by piping on white icing. Adorable! 

As for drinks, beer's the obvious choice for the imbibers. Grab a couple cases of bottles or even cans, or ramp things up with a mini keg. Put out a bucket of ice with sodas and water for the kids and adults who want a non-alcoholic option. For the cocktail fans, consider mixing up a batch of something special in honor of your favorite team. Anyone up for Patriots Punch or Seahawks Sangria? 

There you go! Your home-gate game plan is set and you're ready for the big day. Hope you have a blast with your friends and go team! 

Be sure to check back in and let me know how it goes! Share your favorite football party ideas with me below.