Tiger decorating: Make your party roar

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Rickey Heroman, owner of Rickey Heroman's Florist & Gifts, shows some of the LSU tailgating and entertaining items for sale in his store.
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Rickey Heroman, owner of Rickey Heroman's Florist & Gifts, shows some of the LSU tailgating and entertaining items for sale in his store.

In Louisiana, LSU football season is more than just fun. It’s a way of life — from the first kickoff in August to the very last play.

Nothing sets the tempo of the season like decorating in purple and gold and hosting a football party. For local floral designers and retailers, football season is big business.

“To host a football party, you always start with a table arrangement,” said Linda Pitre, floral designer at Rickey Heroman’s Florist & Gifts, counting ice buckets, cookie jars and purple-and-gold baskets as popular containers for centerpieces that set the mood of the party or even a tailgate.

“There are always the traditional flowers, like mums and carnations, but people now prefer lilies, roses and asters mixed in with a few mums,” said Rickey Heroman.

Although the centerpiece is a must, there are plenty of other places to decorate like mantels, entrances, sideboards, garden containers, patios and just about any other surface in your home.

“It’s the same as any holiday,” Pitre said.

For those who prefer something other than flowers, there are stuffed tigers, balloon bouquets and even rubber rain boots that make fantastic arrangements.

Later in the season, potted mums are very popular for decorating both inside and out. With a little care, these can last almost to Thanksgiving, when they can be planted in the ground.

A cocktail party any other time of the year might require your best platters, linen napkins and runners, but not at football season when casual reigns. Get out your fun things like themed scarves for runners, and look for paper products in bright colors.

There are hundreds of different LSU items available for entertaining including ceramic platters, drink dispensers, casserole dishes, pitchers, martini glasses and just about any item a hostess would want for a football party. Some of his most popular items are LSU plastic storage containers for tailgating or even for serving at a very casual party. They come in all sizes and are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.

In other parts of the country, people might be reluctant to stock up on sports-themed items but not in Louisiana, where football season leads to basketball season and then to baseball season. Some folks decorate LSU-style year-round. And that includes Christmas when they incorporate seasonal items into their decor, Pitre said.

A generation ago, the football party was one of the most popular forms of entertainment. However, today’s hostesses are often reluctant to schedule a pregame or postgame party because kickoff times change frequently to accommodate television schedules.

Never fear. Clever hosts have solved the problem by the “creative invitation,” which they word to say that the party will begin three or so hours before kickoff or after the game for an afternoon start.

Rickey Heroman is hoping that 2013 will be a winning season for LSU. “If LSU is winning, people go more. People buy more, and people decorate more,” he said.