Fall Outdoor Party Themes: Backyard Tailgate Party



Backyard Tailgate Party

Fall and football go hand in hand—and with it comes tailgating! Instead of heading to the game or stadium parking lot, give yourself the home-field advantage with a backyard tailgating party. Put on your best game day gear, fire up the grill, and invite fellow fans (and non-fans) over to enjoy a pleasant fall day of fun, football, and food.

Tailgate Party Décor

Whether you root for your alma mater or local NFL team, here are some ideas for creating a fun football atmosphere everyone will cheer for.

Ideas for a Fall Backyard Tailgate PartyCreate an authentic tailgating ambiance by decorating your truck or car with your team’s insignia and parking it on the back lawn. Add a pop-up canopy and portable chairs to complete the tailgating vibe.

Show your team spirit by hanging pennants, banners, and streamers that display your team’s colors and/or logo.


Photo courtesy of Amy’s Party Ideas


Football Paper Lanterns for Tailgate PartyFootball paper lanterns (pictured at left) and tissue paper pom-poms are another fun decoration: hang them at varying lengths from tree branches or pergola beams.

Put a football twist on seasonal items to liven up your décor:
- Use mums to display your team’s colors
- Carve pumpkins to look like football helmets and paint your team’s logo on them
- Transform a tall oval pumpkin into a football by painting the entire pumpkin pigskin brown and adding white laces down the center
- Make a scarecrow that resembles your favorite player, your team’s coach or mascot

Photo courtesy of Party City



AstroTurf Buffet Table for a Tailgate PartyFor a festive food display, turn your buffet table into a football field with this fun AstroTurf table runner idea from Uncommon Designs. Artificial turf can be purchased at your local home store, or you can use dark green felt as an alternative. To complete the look, use white athletic tape to add yard lines.

Include yourself (and your guests) in the décor by sporting festive football apparel, jewelry, and accessories like party beads, wigs, and foam fingers.

Photo courtesy of Uncommon Designs

Since the game is the main attraction, tune in to the pregame show while you pregame with an outdoor TV. Make sure the TV is positioned where everyone can view it. You can also rent or buy an inflatable outdoor screen if you’ll be entertaining a large crowd—or just want to really impress your guests!



Tailgate Party Food


A simple, self-serve menu of finger foods, hearty sandwiches, and quick-cooking fare will keep fellow football fans fueled from kickoff to the final touchdown—and prevent you from getting sidelined to the grill or outdoor kitchen. Tackle any appetite with these tasty tailgating food ideas and recipes.


Roasted Red Pepper, Ham and Parsley Torte – This delicious appetizer is perfect for a crowd, easy to make, and can be prepared a day ahead.

Football Themed Deviled EggsDeviled Eggs – Turn this classic finger food into football-shaped food by topping with pieces of chives in the pattern of football laces.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad – This recipe is a delicious fall alternative to traditional potato salad and will pair well with any type of game day grub. Get the recipe >>

Sub or Sandwich Tray – Subs are filling, tasty, and easy to make. Wrap individual subs or sandwiches in napkins so guests can grab both and get back to watching the game.

Photo courtesy of Party City

Burger Bar for a Tailgate Football PartyBurger Bar – Burgers are a tailgating staple and easy crowd pleaser. Set up a build your own burger bar with an assortment of condiments and toppings to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Take a tip from The Frog Prince Paperie’ s Touchdown Slider Bar and include labels so guests know exactly what they are trying—and don’t confuse the pickled peppers with the hot peppers!

Beer-Grilled Chops – You’ll score major points with these juicy and tender pork chops. Get the recipe >>

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie


  Find more crowd-pleasing football party recipes >>




Tailgate Party Games and Activities

Keep guests entertained before kickoff with a variety of tailgating games and football activities.

Quarterback Toss – Hang a 30”, a 36,” and a 40” hula hoop from a tree and write a point value on each one (the smaller the hoop, the higher the point value). Let each player have three turns at tossing a football through the hoops. The player with the highest amount of points wins.

Football Face Painting for Tailgate PartyFootball Fan Face Painting – Fans young and old will have fun putting on their game face. Make sure you have paint colors to represent each guest’s favorite team. Along with face paint, provide an assortment of football themed stickers, temporary tattoos, and colored hair spray–and see who gets the most creative!

Touchdown Bean Bag Toss – Form a small football field on the patio or lawn with masking tape. Divide players into two teams and have them take turns tossing bean bags onto the other team’s side of the field. Keep score for each team by tallying the yardage points where the bags land (touchdowns count as 0 points). The team with the lowest yardage points wins.

Photo courtesy of Party City

Football Bingo – Create Bingo cards with football terms and phrases (such as “touchdown,” “false start,” “field goal,” and “interception”) and have guests try to fill out their cards as they watch the game.




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