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Tailgating Ideas for Your Fall Sports Celebrations

Sure, Fall is the time for pumpkin spice everything, cooler nights, Halloween, Thanksgiving—but don’t forget tailgating! If you’re gearing up to support your favorite football teams this season, we’ve put together some of our favorite tailgating food, apparel, and game ideas for your next tailgate event.

For more spirited Fall ideas, check out our DIY Halloween ideas and Thanksgiving team names!


Arguably one of the best parts of tailgating is the food. But sometimes it’s not so easy to bring your favorite dishes along with you to the parking lot. These bite-size versions of classic game day favorites are easy to make, tote, and share!

Loaded Tater Tot Skewers—think loaded cheese fries, but on a stick! Bake up tater tots and put them on wood skewers. Lay the skewers on a pan and top with cheese, bacon, chives, or any of your favorite toppings! Bake until melted and transfer to a container with a lid that will retain heat. Bring them along with dipping sauces like sour cream, ranch, and hot sauce.

Mac and Cheese Muffins—skip the bowl and fork! Cook up your favorite mac and cheese recipe like you normally would. When it’s done, scoop it into lightly greased muffin tins. Top with a little extra cheese or bread crumbs and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Let them cool, then move them to a container to bring along with you. These are sure to be a fan favorite!

Buffalo Chicken Rollups—we all love Buffalo wings, but we could do without the mess. Switch it up and fulfill your craving with these Buffalo chicken wraps. Cook chicken breasts in a slow or pressure cooker until it can be pulled apart with a fork. Shred the chicken and add your favorite Buffalo sauce. Cook in the sauce for 10-15 more minute until it absorbs the flavor. When the chicken is done, lay out tortillas and fill with the chicken, blue cheese, cheddar, celery, or any of your favorite wings toppings. Roll them up as you would a burrito, and cut into slices. These pin wheels are easy to transport and easy to eat with one hand while chanting at the tailgate!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Football Pretzels—just because it’s game day doesn’t mean you can’t have a sweet tooth! This dessert is easy to pop in your mouth and super satisfying. Get a bag of waffle or “snap” shaped pretzels, a jar of peanut butter, melting chocolate, and white icing. Lay the pretzels on parchment paper or a cooling rack and put a dollop of peanut butter on each. Put a pretzel on top to create a sandwich. Push them flat and heat up the chocolate. Dip each sandwich in the chocolate and let cool completely. When they’re done, use the white icing to draw football seams onto each sandwich from corner to corner.


It might seem pretty obvious what to wear to a tailgate—but there’s so many options! Football runs through various seasons, so it’s good to have a variety of tees, hoodies, and hats for all your game day events. Official NFL or college team gear is awesome, but can get expensive. If you’re looking for some fan gear that won’t break the bank, check out some of the great apparel you can create at Custom Ink!

T-shirts—you can never go wrong with a tee. Perfect for those early September tailgates, it’s easy to put your team’s logo or saying on a t-shirt in our design lab. We have tons of colors to choose from, so it’s easy to find that perfect team color. You can upload your own art, or use our Mascot Finder Tool to find your team’s mascot!

Sweatshirts—as the seasons change, team sweats are great for tailgating in cooler months all Winter long! Hoodies are always a classic, especially if the weather brings rain. Or, we have versatile and stylish ¼ zips, crewnecks, and performance sweats.

Hats—hats are perfect for keeping the sun out of your eyes or your noggin warm in the snow! We offer a range of classic caps that are easy to personalize with your mascot or logo. We also have tons of beanies with poms or stripes in your team’s colors to perfect the look!

Jerseys—if you want to look like a true fan, customize your own jerseys! We have tons of performance shirts and jerseys to choose from. Once you upload your logo or choose your mascot, your look will be the real deal!


What’s better than going to a game? Playing games! Heat up the competition at your tailgate with some of these fun activities.

Cornhole—cornhole and tailgating go together like t-shirts and ink! Grab some basic hardware store supplies like plywood, 2x4s, and a saw, and you can have your own platforms built in no time. We like this fully DIY project. Or, lots of vendors online sell the pre-built platforms, and you can customize them yourself. Once you have your set, decorate them to show off your team pride! Maybe stripes of your team’s colors, or paint on your mascot! Have a cornhole tournament with your friends, or even invite fans of the opposing team to play for some friendly competition.

Tailgate Football Bowling—this game is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. You might not have tons of space at a tailgate, but this game is easy to do in a confined area. Buy brown solo cups and use a white permanent pen to draw football seams on each. Find a small, soft football (check the kid’s section)! Stack the cups into a pyramid with 3 on the bottom, 2 in the middle, and 1 on top. Set a line a distance away from the pyramid and let everyone take their shot at knocking down as many cups as they can with the ball.

Tailgate Scavenger Hunt—it’s fun to tailgate with friends and family, but it can be fun to meet other fans, too! Come up with a list of items for your scavenger hunt list. Divide your group into teams and go off into the crowd of fans to find all the items on the list. Some good ones to add are—buffalo wings, a jersey, a backwards hat, a striped scarf, a foam finger, a grill, and more! Have one person on each team with a smartphone be in charge of taking photos of the items as you find them. First team back to your base after finding them all wins!

Frisbee—need a game that’s classic and super easy to bring? Get a frisbee! It’s fun to throw around the disc with your group or get others involved around you. Custom Ink offers some great frisbees that are easy to personalize with your team mascot or logo. They’re also a lot of fun to buy in bulk so every member of your group can keep them to remember the day.

If you want to create some awesome custom gear to support your team, it’s super easy to use your school’s logo. Custom Ink is officially licensed with hundreds of universities across the country, which means we have entered into agreements that allow us to print official logos, mascots, and more. In order to print these designs we go through an approval process—find out how we handle that for you. We hope some of our ideas help you plan for the best tailgate ever!

Kate wants her work to impact the little but important moments in people’s lives—like birthdays, anniversaries, and family celebrations. She loves coming up with witty copy that might inspire someone to create an awesome t-shirt!

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