A DIY (Tailgating) Picnic in the Park

By Brittni • posted on 09/05/2023

A 'Winning' Drink Recipe // Spiked Pear Punch

I rarely shy away from a DIY celebration. If you have something to celebrate, I have an endless supply of decorative food trays and maybe even a party hat or too. Let’s go! So when Smirnoff ICE asked me to flip a traditional tailgating party on it’s head, and share my take on a ladies tailgating event, I was all over it.

Little known fact, when Jeff and I first started dating, he took me to my very first football game. And once I got a handle on the basic rules, scoring, etc, I got way more into it than I anticipated. 

Fall Picnic in the Park

So pack up the car, grab a few friends, and head to the nearest park (or grassy area, I’m not picky), by the field. These are my tips for throwing a carefree tailgating party with friends…

The very first thing that you’re going to need for a picnic party: blankets.

Don’t have any blankets? No worries. Go into your craft closet and grab the biggest piece of fabric you can find (I know you have fabric). It works just as well as a blanket. Bonus points if it’s a gingham print. Grab a couple of pillows from around the house too, for general lounging.

Gameday Food Ideas

A DIY Tailgating Picnic with Smirnoff ICE

Food and drinks are next on the list of must-haves. But you don’t have to go crazy. Keeping it simple will go a long way.

I brought along simple sandwiches and wraps, along with a pesto pasta salad (that I made ahead of time) to munch on.

Tailgating in the Park // Drink Recipes

Spiked Orange Creamsicle Cocktail with a Kick

And with a handful of ingredients to mix with the drinks, you can make these three cocktails (which were so, so good – you will love these)…

Spiked Orange Creamsicle with a Kick

Mix one bottle of Smirnoff ICE Screwdriver with a splash of raspberry lemonade, an orange slice, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Spiked Sweet Tea Recipe

Spiked Sweet Tea

Mix one bottle of Smirnoff ICE Original with 5 ounces of sweet tea. Add ice and enjoy.

Spiked Apple, Pear, and Pineapple Punch

Spiked Apple, Pear, and Pineapple Punch

Pour one bottle of Smirnoff ICE Green Apple over ice and add 2 ounces of pear juice and 2 ounces of pineapple juice. Stir and enjoy.

A DIY (Tailgating) Picnic in the Park

Store juices and fruits in a thermos, to keep things easy and convenient.

I found some really inexpensive thermoses at IKEA that ended up being perfect for our impromptu picnic. To give each thermos a custom look, all you need is some acrylic paint and a brush. I added some football laces to one of the thermoses and kept the other two simple, with repeat patterns. Add a spray sealant once dry (make sure the lid is on so you don’t get any spray on the inside of the container) and you’re done.

After lunch, if you’re feeling up for a couple of games, maybe some flag football, try these DIY ideas…

DIY (Tailgating) Picnic in the Park

DIY Ideas for a Gameday Picnic in the Park

Instead of choosing a color for each team, choose a pattern! Then make a set of team bandanas for everyone to wear. I painted polka dots on one bandana and a large ink blot on the other, to signify the two different teams. Once dry, you can wear the bandana anyway you want (head scarf, regular scarf, wrist wrap, etc).

I also turned a square piece of scrap wood into a DIY scoreboard by taping a diagonal line across the board, then painting each side a different color. After the paint was dry, I added sticker letters to spell out each team’s name. Keep score with a chalk marker.

Pear Punch Recipe // Served in Trophy Glasses for Gameday Picnic in the Park

DIY Ideas for a Gameday Picnic in the Park

Tailgating in the Park with Smirnoff ICE

DIY Scoreboard for a Gameday Picnic in the Park

Gameday Foods for a Picnic in the Park

Don’t forget your iPad to stream the pre-game…

DIY Ideas for a Fall Picnic in the Park

DIY Ideas for a Fall Picnic in the Park

Photography Sarah Eddy // Concept and Styling Brittni Mehlhoff

Think you’ll give a picnic tailgating party a try? I’m curious to hear what game day traditions you might have.

This post is in partnership with Smirnoff ICE. All reviews/opinions expressed in this post are unbiased & based on my personal view. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. Drink responsibly.

9 comments | Click here to reply

Thanks Kate!


This looks like so much fun and I love the thermos flasks! Cool idea 🙂


Definitely, Sarah. Perfect for a weekend with friends.


I love picnics, but I don’t generally remember to do one in the fall. This will be a great weekend activity with close friends!



Thanks Laura. The thermoses were fun to paint. And I actually went back to Ikea to get a few more to use for holiday gifts. They’re so easy!


Love this idea! The drinks look delicious, and I love the thermos! Thanks for sharing.

Laura Vorozilchak

Love this idea! Especially the drink ideas, and the creative thermos! Thanks for sharing.

Laura Vorozilchak

Thanks Kelly. Yeah, those spiked creamsicle cocktails were so good. You should definitely give ’em a try.


I love the idea of a picnic tailgate!! The pattern competition is PRETTY amazing! And that spiked creamsicle… I’m going to need to make a batch of that! Love seeing game day through your point of view, B!

Kelly @ Studio DIY
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