Party Pointer: Tailgate Decorating Part 2

Tailgate Decorating Part 2

Decorating your party table
• For your table, you may already have tablecloths, blankets, sheets or bedspreads in your colors to make your tailgate more attractive. You may also find inexpensive fabric or vinyl in the correct colors at the fabric store or at local thrift shops. Washable fabrics or vinyl/plastic tablecloths you can wipe down can be used over and over again if you tailgate often. Disposable plastic tablecloths or a roll of plastic tablecovering in your team colors can be purchased inexpensively to cover your table.
• Hang purchased pennant garlands, streamers or banners on the front of the table against the tablecloth. You can also make your own banners on your home computer and printer, and pennant garlands can be made by attaching triangles cut out of felt, cardstock or craft foam to ribbon or string.
• Napkins for your tailgate can be paper for easy disposal, but if you want to use something more “green” or stylish, inexpensive napkins or bandanas in team colors are easy to wash and iron for use at the next tailgate. You can also cut fabric squares with pinking shears to use as napkins or purchase inexpensive terry washcloths or small hand towels.
• Clear or solid-color disposable cups can be less expensive than fancy decorative ones, and can be easily decorated by you or your guests. You or your children can put purchased sports stickers on the cups, or you can create your own stickers on the computer, printing them on mailing labels. Bring colorful permanent markers for your guests to mark their own cups. Instead of just putting their names on their cups, as a pre-game activity, ask them to write the numbers of their favorite players on the cups or to write their favorite piece of sports trivia which they can share with the guests.
• Plain white, clear or solid-colored disposable dinner plates can be jazzed up with colored borders drawn on by you or your children. Creative borders in team colors or written cheers or predictions for the team’s success can be written around the outer edges for decoration. Stickers will also work on the borders.
• Plain or colored disposable cutlery can be rolled in white or solid-colored napkins and tied with twine or ribbon so that guests can easily pick them up as they are getting their food. Picnic packs of prepackaged napkins and cutlery can be also be bought in large quantities at discount warehouses if you tailgate frequently.
• Serving containers for food items can be decorated—snack foods like popcorn, nuts, trail mix, chips, and party mix can be served in plain or colored paper bags which can be also hand-decorated. Small colored take-out boxes, decorated disposable cups, recycled cans covered with colorful scrapbook paper, or cones made of stiff paper or cardstock are also decorative containers for snack foods.
• Sports or team-related partyware can be purchased at party stores or from online suppliers.

•Centerpieces can be created out of many different items:
• Centerpieces for buffet tables can be larger than those at seated meals, but remember that since you are probably not bringing more than one-two larger tables to the tailgate, more space on the main table must be allowed for the food.
• Sports or team centerpieces can be purchased from party stores and online suppliers.
• Real cut flowers may be difficult to transport to the tailgate, but potted bedding plants may be more easily used (for example, potted mums in the fall or potted impatiens, geraniums, or petunias for spring or summer tailgates)
• Sports balls, hats or helmets, pom-poms and other sports souvenirs/memorabilia can be incorporated in tailgate centerpieces
• Your team mascot can be a perfect centerpiece feature—a stuffed version or a colored cardboard cutout of the mascot can be raised on a box or stand and surrounded by decorative items or food.
• Create a non-violent centerpiece related to the opposing team your team is playing that day—for example, you could use a large toy bulldozer with a sign saying, ”Doze the Blue Devils,” if they were your opponents, or you could use a toy horse and knight figure with a tent-card, saying, “Unseat the Knights.”
• Purchase large inexpensive wooden or Styrofoam letters to use in a centerpiece to spell out your team or school name or words like “Win” or “Go, Team.” Large letters or words can also be created on your computer and printed on cardstock. Then these can be made to stand up by attached an easel back to each letter/word or by putting them on an easel or in a clear acrylic frame.

• Decorations can also enhance your food items and, thus, your table:
• Food items can be shaped in sport or team shapes—a cheese ball can be shaped like a football; desserts like cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and cakes can be easily shaped. Desserts can also be decorated with team colors—cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes, and pies. Letting your guests decorate plain cookies or cupcakes with team-colored icing and candies is a great pre-game activity.
• You can put purchased sports/team decorated toothpicks in food items so your guests can easily pick up the small pieces or just for decoration. You can also make your own picks by gluing construction paper, cardstock or craft foam sports shapes onto plain on the end of the toothpick or skewer between to create cute picks.
• You can cut out newspaper or magazine clippings about your team, attach them to cardstock and dowels/BBQ skewers, and stick these into some of your food items.
• You can make team-colored ice for drinks at home by adding food color to your ice trays or create flavored cubes for iced tea or lemonade by filling the trays with a colored fruit juice in place of water.

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