Scenic view of trees at camp

Theme Night In A Box: Tailgate Party

by Anna Birch

Theme Night in a Box: Tailgate Party header

It’s time for another Theme Night in a Box! It’s obvious that football season is in full swing and whether you’re the faithful fan or the “I’d rather just chat with my friends than watch the game” type, a tailgating party can be super fun! Have you wondered how to have an at-home tailgate party that has a campy feel? We’ve got you covered! Here are some fun ways to make your next football watch party seem like you’re back at camp for a theme night!


Let’s start with the decorations. This can be as easy as setting out green table cloths to look like turf, adding “jerseys” to the soda bottles, or putting out a basket of yellow napkins to look like referee flags. We love this homemade concession stand! For the DIY-er’s, these homemade pennants add a fun flair too.


What about the food? Other than the game itself, snacks can draw a crowd! We love these popcorn balls with M&M’s that you can make to represent the colors of your favorite team! It’s easy to put out a big bowl of peanuts in the shell, and you can’t go wrong with these sliders. Want your party to feel like you’re at the stadium? You’ll love this Frito pie in a bag! For a super-easy football brownie, try this recipe. Then there’s the ultimate classic camp combination—Dr Pepper and Dibs! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can set out a basin with ice, Dr Pepper, and Dibs for people to grab for themselves.


Let’s talk costume ideas! You can’t have a true theme night without some wacky costumes… and it’s more fun to think outside of the box. Dress up as your favorite coach, complete with clipboard, wig, and headset. The more retro the coach, the better. Don’t forget that you can dress up as the people who aren’t on the field—members of the marching band, the concession guy, baton twirler, your favorite snack (now you know how you can re-use that hot dog costume from camp!), or a really loud fan with face paint! Want to include your baby in the fun? Dress her up as a football! For added fun, designate someone to be the “party referee” with a yellow towel or napkin to throw on the ground anytime a guest doesn’t use a coaster or follow any other hilarious “rules” that you make up!


Just watching the game can be fun, but there are plenty of ways to spice it up a little. Before the game, choose a couple of friends to be commentators throughout the party, making announcements and calling the “play-by-play” of the party (such as anytime the host pulls something out the oven or a touchdown is scored)! Camp cheers make mealtimes more fun, so why not add them into your party? Create a cheer for a keyword that the announcers or refs might say, such as “penalty,” “touchdown,” or “sack.” You could also use a current cheer to amp up the crowd: every time a successful field goal is kicked, everyone says the “Good Job” cheer. There’s also commercial bingo

Want to get up and move a little throughout the game? Pick a certain time like the two-minute mark of 3rd quarter or anytime someone scores a touchdown, and have everyone do a certain dance move (like the Wobble). During halftime or a commercial break in the third quarter, there is plenty of opportunity for fun! Skits, a touchdown dance competition, and minute-to-win-it games (such as the Oreo face game) are just a few ideas. You can also set up a field goal kicking competition with finger footballs and a goal made out of Lego bricks

Don’t forget to cover your lawn in camp classic games such as corn hole, bocce ball, ladder golf, Kan Jam, or Mölkky. A game of flag football before the game starts will definitely get everyone ready to watch! 

Finally, just like at the stadium, a bumpin’ playlist is a must! Here’s a fun Spotify playlist we think will get everyone ready for some football! 

No matter what decorations you put up or what activities you decide on, your theme night-inspired party is an excellent opportunity to be others-focused. Invite that neighbor who just moved in, the friend you’ve been meaning to bring to church, or that couple you’ve been wanting to have over for dinner! This could be a great opportunity to get to know people you might not hang out with all the time. 

Happy tailgating!

Posted Oct 16, 2019

Anna Birch

Former Staff

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