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Tailgates: Football food and fun

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Whether you're planning to get together with the guys, a girls' night out, or you just want to hang with your neighbors, football season gives everyone a good reason to plan a party.  What you serve and whether you plan activities other than watching the game will likely depend on who is on your guest list.  One option is a casual get- together serving snacks throughout the day.  To minimize your prep and satisfy everyone's appetite, you can serve easy, flavorful and filling items, which can be served on a coffee table and eaten on the sofa or floor while camped around the television.  Some easy ideas might include:

If you're looking for something a little more elaborate, you can host a full-blown tailgate party.   Start with a few well-placed decorations, like a buffet centerpiece, football shaped serving dish or paper plates, napkins and silverware in your team colors.  A few well-placed sets of mini pom-pons will encourage team spirit.  Next, you can set up some refreshment stations and put together an impressive array of appetizers.  Some suggestions are:

If your crowd includes people who might not be die-hard football fans, you may want to consider having other activities that either tie into the game or happen independently of the game.  Good activities for mixed crowds might include a bags game, card games like 31 Knock or try one of these other fun game day ideas.  If kids are on the guest list, try wall football or coloring pages to keep them occupied during the game.  You could even plan your own half time show!