The 2022 NFL season is in full swing, with the landscape of the league finally starting to take shape. With seven weeks behind us, teams are gradually staking their claims as “contenders” or “pretenders”.
Interestingly, there are also a ton of teams in the middle this season. The NFC, in particular, is completely wide open—there is a five-team logjam at 3-4, with the Rams currently occupying the seventh seed due to being on bye at 3-3.
All that to say, this is still an exciting potential playoff season for fans of pretty much every team that isn’t Detroit or Houston. That means there are plenty of opportunities for watch parties and “homegating” experiences over the remainder of the season, for those who enjoy hosting.
It’s definitely something that I enjoy, particularly around Halloween. For those who follow me on Twitter, you know how much I enjoy costuming, and watch parties around Halloween provide an excellent opportunity for creative fans to express themselves.
Oh, also to watch (hopefully) good football, drink beer and cocktails, and enjoy some delicious eats, of course. If you’re interested in hosting your own Halloween homegate, then read on for some of my ideas from past parties and events I’ve hosted, attended, or simply thought about hosting.
Obviously, if you’re hosting a Halloween homegate, you don’t have a ton of choice as to which game is on. Thankfully for Atlanta Falcons fans, there should at least be a good opportunity for the team to get a win this week against the Carolina Panthers. So it works out nicely this year—always more fun to host a party when your team wins.
I personally think it would be fun to have everyone show up in NFL-themed or inspired costumes. Currently, I’m thinking of dressing as the Great Metal Falcon, aka Samuel L. Falcon, but not quite sure how to pull it off. Another idea would be dressing in a white-and-black referee shirt. Carry around “flags” in your pocket and throw them every time someone shakes your hand or gives you a hug. “Roughing the passer,” get it?
Obviously, you can always throw on a jersey, helmet, and pads and go as your favorite player, too.
In terms of food, I’ve always been partial to wings, but can never get the recipe just right. There’s no shame in ordering takeout! It saves time, energy, and usually ensures that you have at least one edible item of food by the time the guests arrive.
What I do like to cook is fresh sausages. Bratwursts, andouille, hot Italian: All are terrific for game day whether you make them on the stove or on the grill. Get a nice spicy and/or Dijon mustard to pair them with along with a pan full of roasted peppers, onions, and jalapeños and you’ve got some good, ready-to-serve eats with minimal cook and prep time needed.
If you’re looking for more of an appetizer, a real easy one is to make fresh pico de gallo and add some chips. Dice up three to four beefsteak tomatoes, add a few diced rounds of red onion (to taste, I generally like the onion but it can be quite strong when fresh), chop up some fresh cilantro, and juice and zest a lime. Mix it all in the bowl and you’ve got fresh homemade salsa. If you and your buddies are fans of spice, chop up and add a bit of fresh jalapeño too. Add just a little at a time though, it can overwhelm with spice quite easily.
In terms of drinks, it’s really a matter of preference. I love a good Oktoberfest beer for late fall games, and my go-to up here in the northeast is Jack’s Abby’s Copper Legend. Southern Tier’s Pumpkin is also a terrific pumpkin brew with plenty of ABV kick. In terms of cocktails, I love mixing up various liquors with honeycrisp apple cider, cinnamon, and cranberry juice. If you’re looking for alcohol-free beverages, you can just hold the liquor on that same mixture above.
These are just a few ideas of mine. The possibilities for a fun Halloween homegate are really pretty endless. What matters most is spending fun times with the people you enjoy most. Also, the Falcons getting a win would be nice.
What are some of your best memories of fun fall homegating experiences? Any ideas for your own parties this season?