Tailgating with friends, family, and even strangers (as long as they cheer on the same team) can make your football afternoon more memorable than it ever could be without it, but every participant has a role to play.

Properly tailgating takes more work than one might imagine, so we’ll lay out some of the most important rules and etiquette here.

Arrive Early and Choose Your Spot

If you want the tailgate party to last a while, you should probably arrive a few hours before the game. That’ll help you find a good spot, preferably next to a grassy area where you can spread out. It’ll also give you time to prepare the food, arrange the seats and games, and all the rest.

Know the Rules

You should try to acquaint yourself with the rules of the parking lot or facility where you will be tailgating. You don’t want to make all the preparations, show up, and start having fun, only to be told midway through the party that you need to leave because you unintentionally broke the rules. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Bring Food and Supplies

It’s an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how often some hope to just poach off other people’s goods. Let us be clear: bring your own stuff. Things like beer, meat, chips, ice, a chair to sit in, a table to sit at, buns, and condiments are all expected. Bonus points if you bring a grill or even a canopy.

Clean Up

Don’t leave your trash for others to clean. It’s just bad etiquette. Bring your own trash bags and make sure you collect all food, bottles, plates, and other materials left behind after the party is over. Remember that charcoal can stay hot for hours and shouldn’t be thrown in the garbage bin with the rest of the stuff. Pour the melted ice in the cooler over them if they’re still hot and use the aluminum pans that were used for food to discard them.

Have Fun

…But you already knew that! Follow the simple guidelines above and have a blast at your next tailgating party!