The calendar has somehow flown by in 2022, with the month of October coming to a close. And, this time of year brings about a number of fun holidays to bring people together—especially to watch some pigskin.
While it wasn’t the greatest of starts for the Cincinnati Bengals this season, they’ve since turned things around and are at the top of the AFC North along with the Baltimore Ravens. And, their next matchup is Monday Night Football’s Halloween Night offering, pitting the festive orange and black team against their bitter rivals who also don a similar color scheme (that was on purpose, in case you’re a Bengals history buff).
As we know, Cincinnati throws some of the best in-person tailgates in all of the land. Be it from Bengal Jim, Jamie, James, Tom, Marcus and a slew of others who put on a weekly autumnal party, the awesome gang with Bengals Bomb Squad and everything in-between, Cincinnati fans know how to throw a shindig.
However, as unfortunate as it may be, not every single Bengals fan can attend a game or a tailgate in person. Plus, the home-watching experience keeps upping its own game, giving fans an enjoyable opportunity for get-togethers while watching Joe Burrow and the boys.
A couple of months ago, we gave you some ideas for “homegaiting” as the season kicked off. Making sure you prep the right food for incoming guests is a must, as are fun games and drink options for people of all ages.
Coke Zero and Diet Coke were and are options du jour on Sundays, as we noted then, but as “spirits” are part-and-parcel of the upcoming holidays—from Halloween themes to wintertime soirée. For that, Smirnoff has you covered in a variety of ways, too!
Of course, the standard tailgate games of “cornhole”, table tennis and even “lasso golf” are solid for outdoor staples. But, depending on where you live this time of year, space heaters and/or some cozy Bengals winter gear might be needed.
Inside games are also great. If you have the space and financial means, a billiards table situated by a TV streaming the big game is always a great idea. Of course, placing some fun, friendly wagers are another way to spice things up.
Create a list of prop bets for the day and have some fun with it. If you’re having a big get-together, you can have people bring prop bet prizes as their “entry fee”, or as a pot-luck style session.
If you’re a parent, grabbing one of these build-and-play wood field goal posts from Lowe’s, both provides a fun mini-project for kiddos, only to reward their completion with a fun paper football contest. And, sometimes, if you bring the little ones into their stores, they may have some extra pro bono ones for them. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to keep them occupied with little projects as you all watch the game (supervise their play and projects, of course, parents).
One thing that is paramount to the pregame process is audio—both in terms of tunes, and of course, Bengals podcasts. We’re partial to our slate of shows here at Cincy Jungle, including The Orange and Black Insider, Talking Football with Bengal Jim and Friends, as well as the Coach Speak and Chalk Talk episodes with “The Coach” Matt Minich. All are available on all major audio streamers and respective YouTube channels.
Of course, there are MANY other great Bengals and broader NFL podcasts out there—both that have been around a while and some newer ones. And, with the work of a lot of great contributors and connections being made, there are a lot of great guests you’ll hear from on an array of shows, along with astute analysis.
But, also—the tunes! If you’re still using an old school iPod, blast your playlists through an auxiliary cord, go for it. But, with Bluetooth technology, smart TVs and stereo systems coupling with platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc. (also where you can find our Bengals’ podcast channel), it’s easier than ever to create an atmosphere conducive to a true “homegating” experience.
Food and Drink
You can have all of the fun things you want for attendees to do at your home party, but you won’t keep them there very long if they aren’t fed and satiated with food and drink. In terms of snack foods, there’s been a new Queen City development on the potato chips front.
Ja’Marr Chase has unveiled his own brand of barbecue-flavored chips appropriately named “Uno Chips”. These are must-haves for Bengals fans at any kind of tailgate experience.
If you’re going to cook, get something both seasonal and low maintenance so you don’t have to hover over the grill and miss valuable “homegate” and game-watching time. Oktoberfest season is popular for sausages, bratwursts and the like.
There are pork, chicken and veggie options for guests of all palates. You can throw these on a grill, or smoker/grill combo and let them cook with just the very infrequent turns of the meat.
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As mentioned, an array of soft drinks should be provided for guests young and old. Differing brands of soda waters are always refreshing and a low-sugar option, while caffeinated staples are also crowd-pleasers.
And, with fall and winter come two warm drink options that are awesome at tailgates. Hot cocoa can be festive for the next few months, ranging from the addition of marshmallows shaped liked ghosts, to candy canes later in the year.
“Hot Toddys” are another warm adult beverage and can be made in a number of different ways. Warm up some apple cider and create a delightful seasonal cocktail.
Oh, and let’s not forget about eggnog. Whether it’s for the kiddos or a fun mixture for adults, that’s another drink staple this time of year.
Smirnoff has a fun peppermint-flavored vodka to spice up those drinks and make them truly festive. Give an extra kick of holiday taste to your nog or add it in to your cocoa.
The good news about those aforementioned soft drink options? They’re also great mixers for a wide variety of products from Smirnoff. Their staple vodka goes great with flavored soda waters and even cola, especially when you bring in the lime wedges.
If you’re working drinks for a game on the early slate, Bloody Marys or fun margarita-style drinks can be made with Smirnoff’s Spicy Tamarind flavored-vodka, too. The awesome-looking bottle also glows under black lights, which is good for those eerie, nighttime Halloween parties coming up!
Of course, hard seltzers are the rage right now, and Smirnoff was one of the originators in that department with its Smirnoff Ice line. That has grown exponentially with a lot of different options.
You’ve also got to stock up on the orange soda and other accoutrements for those Bengals bomb shots!
Share your recipes, traditions and entertainment options at your weekly “homegates” and those during the holidays!
Of course, Smirnoff products are to be enjoyed by adults aged 21 and over. Please drink responsibility at tailgates and your “homegates”.