For many students, football games are one of the biggest events to look forward to throughout the fall semester. But what do we do those weekends when Spartan Stadium is empty? Football game fun doesn’t have to end when the players are away. Here’s a few ideas for how to host a party that rivals any home-game tailgate—assuming our Spartans put on a good game for us to watch.
1.) Find the perfect venue to host your party.
Anywhere with a TV will do, whether that’s your four-bedroom apartment or even a dorm room—just make sure there’s plenty of seating for everyone you plan to invite. If you find yourself with a large guest list, ask a friend who has a house if you can host it there. If there’s only two or three of you, don’t be ashamed to watch the game in your dorm from the comfort of your $35 Target futon.
2.) Gather your friends.
You can’t have a party by yourself. Well, you can, but then you wouldn’t be able to give anyone that double high-five when the Spartans score a touchdown. So text, Facebook message or send a handwritten invitation to all of your buddies, both the die-hard football fans and those who just like an excuse to show all the creative ways they can mix and match their green and white.
3.) Create the party menu.
The best types of food for a party where you’ll be looking at a screen most of the time are the ones you can just grab and munch on throughout. Try finger foods and snacks like pigs in a blanket, chips and salsa or trail mix. You should probably also act like you eat healthy occasionally, so a pre-made fruit bowl or veggie tray from Meijer is always easy. If you’re looking for a more filling meal, have everyone pitch in a few bucks for a pizza delivery from Cottage Inn, or even ask if each guest can bring a small dish for a potluck.
4.) Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
You can’t scream “GO GREEN!” or sing the fight song all afternoon if your throat is dry, so make sure you provide drinks for your guests. Before the game starts, make a pitcher or two of something simple yet delicious like lemonade or a fruit punch. Buying a couple 2-liter bottles of pop is also an easy and acceptable option, and if you’re over 21, make sure you have a few beers at the ready. You’ll need one if the other team starts to gain on us.
5.) Set up some fun games for commercial breaks.
If the weather’s nice and you’re lucky enough to have your party at a house, get outside and set up a game of cornhole, one of the Midwest’s most beloved party games for one of our most beloved football teams. If the party is at an apartment or in a dorm room, choose something that takes up less space, like card games, puzzles or Cards Against Humanity. You can start these games while you’re waiting for the real game to start, and you can easily continue them during each commercial break.
6.) Consider implementing a swear jar.
Looking for a quick and easy way to make up the money you spent on this elaborate away-game viewing party? Simple. All you need is an empty mason jar and a quarter for every time one of your guests gets a little too upset as the ref. Give it a few plays and your piggy bank will be restored in no time.
7.) Be prepared for anything.
No one is perfect, and sadly, neither is our football team. Feelings will be hurt, people will be enraged and food will naturally get thrown, so make sure you buy some Clorox wipes on that Meijer run so you’re prepared to clean up any food fights that ensue.
8.) Have a box of tissues on hand for when we lose.
We want to think optimistically, but we have to be realistic. Hopefully the tears will be scarce this season, but it’s always good to have a tissue for your friends—or yourself—at the ready just in case. Planning is everything.
Grace Beltowski is a junior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing and a minor in creative writing, so she really does not like to read or write. Her many talents include, but are not limited to, making chocolate chip pancakes, stalking her favorite YA authors on Instagram and scaring people with her inflatable dinosaur costume.