With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging strong in the United States, the best way to hang out with friends is online. But when you finally do want to meet up in person, it’s best to keep as much distance as you can. Even though many of us are allowed to meet in small groups this summer, practicing social distancing is key in keeping everyone safer.
As summer hits its halfway point, you might be wondering how to throw a safer party for you and your friends. The best option? Planning a tailgate party! When everyone gets together with their own cars and gear, you’re able to enjoy each others’ company without worrying about spreading the virus. Keep in mind that you should still be washing your hands often and drinking plenty of water in the hot sun.
Tailgates got their start as a great way to pre-game before a big football game. Countless fans arrive hours before a game starts to grill food and indulge in a few drinks in the parking lot before the game officially begins. Not only is it a great way to save money on the expensive food and drinks offered inside, but it’s also key to bonding with your fellow fans.
Tailgating used to seem like a phenomenon solely used for pre-game festivities, but just about everyone enjoys a tailgating party. This form of gathering is especially beneficial during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Tailgates have been around for what seems like ages. Everything from birthday parties to bachelor parties have been spent around the back of someone’s pickup truck.
Luckily, you don’t even need to look for used trucks for sale to throw a party — many people are comfortable doing it right from the trunk of their sedan. With the affordable prices for used cars right now, however, it might be the perfect time to invest in a new truck for the occasion.
Planning a tailgate party is a safe and fun activity between friends, but only if you do it right. Here are some of the best tip you should follow when you start planning a tailgate party.
Find a great location
The first step to planning a tailgate party is to pick the ideal location. Some people are comfortable hosting it in their front lawn so long as the homeowners’ association allows for cars on the grass. Others have found that setting up shop in a cul de sac gives people the best bang for their buck since they don’t have to travel far and they can even invite their neighbors.
If you don’t have these two options available to you, you can always get permission from a church parking lot who has invested in great asphalt paving services. Since these locations often have lulls in traffic and many are closed for COVID-19, there are likely countless churches that would be willing to host your party. You can also do the same thing with public parks or at your local beach, so long as it isn’t too crowded. After all, going somewhere that’s too busy will defeat the point of social distancing.
Again, just be sure to check in with the owner of the parking lot before you set up shop. The last thing you want to do is get arrested and shell out for a bail bond to keep partying.
Luckily, contacting your local bondsman beforehand can offer you ample information about the current laws in your area. Trespassing laws might be even more strict in light of the current pandemic, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.
The ideal location will also have access to a nearby bathroom and an air-conditioned space to stay cool. The heat and humidity of summer can cause heat exhaustion in just about anyone so having access to someplace cool is key. Watch for the signs of heat exhaustion, including clammy skin, excessive sweating, and nausea. Since you’re parting on the asphalt, it can be easy for your guests to overheat. As such, you should also rely on a designated driver who isn’t drinking.
You should also bring ample chairs and tables for the convenience of your guests! While many people think tailgating needs to happen from the back of a car, there’s no shame in setting up a blanket to sit on, especially if you go to the beach or set up shop at a local park.
Finding the right location isn’t always easy but it can be done. Rely on social media sites to help you find the perfect place for planning your tailgate party.
Craft the perfect menu
The real key to planning a tailgate party is the menu. Most people want to sip cold beers and indulge in delicious grilled goods. However, it’s important to appeal to all tastes on the menu, especially since many people are eating more consciously, both in terms of environmental responsibility and for health concerns.
Firstly, water is a given. If you can, invest in individual bottles of water and bring a marker so people only drink from their own bottles. You can also encourage people to bring their own bottles of water if that makes it easier. If you’re sharing alcoholic beverages, try to go for options that are available in cans to prevent too many hands from touching the same bottles. Even though it isn’t the most environmentally-conscious decision because of the aluminum cans and plastic bottles, you can always recycle these items later. Just be sure to rinse them out and use hand sanitizer whenever possible.
When it comes to food, more people than ever have gone vegetarian and vegan. Before you buy steaks and burgers and brats, consider investing in veggie burgers, vegetable trays, and sweet treats too. Making a smoothie with pure cranberry powder is surprisingly easy if you have a portable generator or access to an outlet. Once you’re done with the smoothies, you can transition your blender to serve up iced cocktails and margaritas, too.
You might also want to consider gluten-free bread options, though this isn’t always necessary. Be sure to ask about any food allergens before the party, or simply ask that your guests bring their own foods to eat. While a potluck is a fun idea, it might not be the best during the time of COVID-19. Consider asking all of your guests to bring their own food or look for ways to stay safer when you’re eating together. For example, if you’re grilling for the whole party, ensure that the designated chef wears a facemask. These simple changes are great for staying safe while you’re planning a tailgate party.
Consider your garbage
There’s nothing worse than a sea of garbage and trash left after a great tailgate party. While partying with your friends is fun, you have a responsibility as a citizen to limit your garbage creation and pick up after yourself. Some locations might have dumpsters on hand, but you might need to rent a garbage can to keep your tailgate party clean.
This is especially important since most folks should rely on disposable silverware and dishes. COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, meaning that all the forks, knives, and napkins could be inundated with the virus. This is especially true since many people are carriers of the illness without showing any outward symptoms of the disease. As such, relying on disposable goods instead of reusable forks and knives will work to keep everyone safer. The less contact you have with other peoples’ germs, the better. You should also be sure to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in convenient locations, like by the trash, stationed by any games, and near the bathrooms.
Your trash will also incorporate any decorations that you want to throw away. Banners, balloons, and any other table toppers you used for decor. Setting the stage with great decorations is just one way to make the tailgate seem more fun. You can always get decorations and extra goodies, like tables and chairs, from your local pawn shop if you wanted to save a few bucks planning the event. Put some thought into how your party will look and it will make a world of a difference.
Plan fun activities
Think of the perfect tailgate: it usually includes lawn games. Unfortunately, many of the lawn games we know and love encourage frequent touching of the same objects over and over again. Cornhole demands that we touch dirty beanbags time and time again while frisbee and ladder ball follow suit. Even though you cannot imagine planning a tailgate party without these classics, they should really be put on the backburner for now.
Luckily, there is a myriad of fun social distancing activities that you can do together. From word games to fun apps that you can play on your phone, there’s no end to the activities you can do. Try downloading a few drinking games, like “Never Have I Ever,” or invest in a voting game to determine who in the group would be most likely to do X thing.
For the more athletic participants, you can always try out activities that are in line with social distancing. Fishing can be a fun way to relax and chat from a safe distance. But even archery fans can practice shooting at a distant target as long as you’re in a safe area. Just be sure to encourage the archers of the group to shoot at trees and not at your guests or your car. Auto glass repairs can be expensive and it might be awkward to reveal how you broke your window to your mechanic.
Even artists can have fun by bringing notebooks, canvases, and a few bottles of paint. While this is a messier exercise, this can be a fun way for people to bond, whether you’re a child or an adult. Dare each other to paint the landscape or just let loose and allow your creativity to shine. Since you can engage in these activities alone, doing them with friends can be a great way to make concrete memories of your favorite times together.
COVID-19 demands that we’re more careful than ever before. Even though planning a tailgate party seems fun, you should still remember that we’re in the midst of a pandemic. At the end of the day, it’s about connecting with the people you love: as long as you bring your voice, even talking to your friends can be a great way to pass the time.
Planning a tailgate party with safety in mind
Planning a tailgate party can be a lot of fun. Choosing the right destination, the perfect menu, and the right games is all a part of the big day. But with the COVID-19 virus demanding that we practice social distancing, we might have to get a little creative.
Luckily, there’s a multitude of ways to enjoy a tailgate party with your friends. After all, your friends are probably itching to hang out with you again, whether you remembered the fishing poles or not.
Summer is halfway through meaning that it’s the perfect time for a tailgate party. Rely on these tips to make the most of your summer — and stay safe.