5 Essentials for Hosting a Homegating Party

Homegating – it’s like tailgating, but at home, with all the perks that you can only get in your own space. Guarantee a great sports season with new and classic ideas for serving up food and drinks, decorating your space, entertaining the crowd and more. It’s Frontgating at its finest.

Field goal fare

We may like the football but we really like the food. Go classic with burgers, brats and dogs. Create a taco or chili bar with all the toppings. How about a pizza station – featuring homemade pizza crafted by you and your guests?

Don’t forget the snacks! Opt for easy finger foods like a charcuterie board, chips and salsa, and dips. Stock up on ready-made frozen snacks that can be heated in the oven or microwave (jalapeño poppers, please). Present them in a pretty way and accept the kudos when guests compliment your cooking (wink wink).

If you’re quarterbacking the party, you’ll want to prep some of the food beforehand. Many dishes can be made a day or more in advance – dips and desserts among them. Prepare foods such as chili before the big day and then keep warm in a slow cooker during the party. Shape the burger patties and prep taco and chili toppings the day before.

Not into cooking all of it? Potluck for the people! Ask friends and family to sign up to bring dishes that will enhance your menu. Need more seating or serveware? Allow the “non-chefs” to choose to bring these too. It takes a team to make a winning dinner.

Frontgate flair: For easier setup and cleanup, store prepared foods such as dips and salads in the dishes you’ll be serving them in.

Serve it up!

For serving ease, it’s a buffet for the win! Arrange the dishes on the table in the same way you would serve a sit-down dinner. Begin with appetizers, followed by the main course and accompaniments. Dessert may be served in another room or brought out later. Place dinner plates at the beginning of the buffet and utensils and napkins at the end of the buffet. This will enable your guests to serve themselves unencumbered.

Put a variety of serveware in the starting lineup. Platters, trays, bowls, baskets, wood boards and condiment caddies all have their roles in the buffet game. Mix and match textures and colors, or opt for a coordinated collection.

If it’s a party, there’s bound to be a spill (or three). Durable yet elegant eco-friendly performance napkins have been specially coated to prevent stains from foods such as chili and salsa, making them ideal for a spirited tailgate gathering.

Frontgate flair: Caterer-style stainless steel serveware, such as hot/cold trays, contain a thermosensitive core that keeps food at its ideal temperature.

Five-star bar

Any flat surface can be transformed into a libation station, but a bar cart or cabinet also provide storage for glasses, bar tools and spirits. Bar carts move easily from indoors to outdoors, too.

Beer is the star of the tailgate bar. Whether you choose kegs, cans or bottles, make sure there’s plenty of ice. A double-walled stainless steel beverage tub offers maximum cold retention without condensation. Stock the bar with other standards such as wine and seltzers, and perhaps add an unexpected offering such as a themed cocktail inspired by your team’s school or location. Alabama Slammer, anyone?

Frontgate flair: Ensure a frosty sip by arranging glasses upside down in an ice bucket beside the beverages.

Show your team spirit

Decorate your home with balloons, tablecloths and napkins in your team’s official colors. Adorn sofas and chairs with throw pillows and cozy throws in your team’s hues.

Make a welcome first impression for guests by styling your front door. While banners and flags will proclaim your team loyalty on gameday, changing out summer wreaths, planters and doormats for autumn décor will invigorate your front entrance all season long.

Frontgate flair: Personalize a doormat with your favorite team’s name.

Get your game on

Lastly, it’s time for the halftime battle! Get your competitive juices flowing with cornhole, croquet, table tennis or bocce – or a combination. Set up a card table for dominoes and Scrabble. Games also provide entertainment for kids or guests who may not be interested in the game.