A Moocher's Guide to College Football Tailgating

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Some of us find tailgating synonymous with cracking open the tent, busting out the grill and prepping the best brats around. On the other hand, some of us find it synonymous with something else: free food. Let’s face it — in our heart of hearts, we all love to mooch.

Your best course of action when it comes to professional tailgate mooching is preparing early. Becoming BFFs with all your friends’ parents, staying tight with the locals and getting to know the concession stand workers are all great starting points. Sometimes you’re attending a game on the fly and need a last-minute strategy, though — and that’s OK. We’ve got you covered.

Pretend someone is your uncle

The first truth of tailgating: When it comes to food and booze, family tailgates have the best selection. If your family is actually halfway across the country, just respond to every question with, “Yeah, Jim is my uncle,” shoving your mouth full of food, and then move on to the next tent.

Wear the most ridiculous outfit possible

Everyone is sporting a little school spirit on game day, but not everyone will one-up even the mascot. The more ridiculous (and festive) your outfit, the more people will high-five you and invite you to eat buffalo chicken dip with them. Pro tip: Construct your costume so that eating is still viable. Full-face masks can render your efforts useless.

Carry a rare tailgating game, such as portable ping-pong

If there’s one thing in abundance at tailgates, it’s bags. To differentiate yourself from the masses (and create a little demand), you need to bring something that no one else has. Rolling flip cup tables are also a wise choice.

Become the campus mister

When football season is still sweltering, why not tote around a high-powered misting bottle? Simply spray down all your compadres, and watch the tailgating invitations roll in. Anyone will offer you a burger and a brewski if it means they’ll stop sweating off their face paint.

Pretend you’re the ambassador for a hot new social media startup

The one thing tailgaters love more than spontaneous flip cup sessions? Being featured on social media accounts. We’ve all seen them — those guys wearing endless startup swag, dispensing endless plastic sunglasses and branded koozies. Here’s how you do it: Find a desirable tailgate, pass out said gear and photograph the event.