This Sunday is the big game! The end of the football season and the greatest collection of commercials we’ll see all year. It might as well be a national holiday.
No matter whether your team is playing or if you don’t even care about football, the Super Bowl Bash is a must. That’s why you need to invite your friends over, stock the fridge, cook up some grub and have a great time.
But what do you need to host an ultimate Super Bowl shindig?
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Yes, it is a Super Bowl party. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your party unique by having a theme.
Look at the teams that are playing. What are their team colors? If Green Bay is playing, have a green theme (or a cheese theme). What cities are the teams from? This year, with the Giants and the Patriots, you could have a Boston vs New York theme. The two cities are constantly trying to outdo the other, especially in sports. Split the room with the two teams team colors. You could even use tape as a line to divide the room.
Where is the game is being played? If it is in Miami, you could have a Cuban or Caribbean theme. If it is in Phoenix, go with a desert/southwestern theme. Or you could always go outside of the box. I’ll be attending a Christmas Super Bowl Bash this year. The host wanted to have the first holiday party of 2012. Hey…why not?
This is one of the toughest decisions. You have to decide what kind of crowd you want at your home. Do you want the mild, family crowd and the potential of kids running in front of the TV or spilling drinks all over the kitchen? Do you want a rowdy, party crowd and the potential of drunks standing in front of the TV or spilling food on your carpets? Maybe something in between is a safer option.
Mix it up. Invite a few people from each of your different social circles. If you know fans from both of the participating teams, make sure to have them at your party. A little friendly trash talk livens up every party.
This partly goes hand-in-hand with the theme. You want an inviting and playful atmosphere. Decorate the main viewing room and kitchen/dining room. These can be either theme- or football-related. While you can go big with neon signs or a foosball/air hockey table, you don’t have to spend much money to have an awesome atmosphere.
Start with a theme/football tablecloth for the table where the majority of the food will be served. Even better, if you can find some Astroturf or take a green tablecloth and turn it into a field with white tape or paint. Add some goalposts if you really want it to stand out.
You can print out team logos or pictures of paper and make a linked streamer that includes the pictures. Be creative! Guests love when their hosts think outside of the box and do something different. No party goer ever thinks, “I really wish they wouldn’t have come up with those cool decorations. They really ruined the party.”
Any Super Bowl party without food is a Super Bowl funeral. I don’t think I could even watch the game without something to nibble on throughout. Food and the Super Bowl just go together. But what do you serve?
Chips and dip, appetizers such as hot wings and potato skins, and pretty much anything that fits in a bowl that can be eaten by hand are traditional Super Bowl staples. (Pull out the Crock Pot and melt down some Velveeta and jalapenos for nachos!)
Your Super Bowl foods shouldn’t be health conscious (besides the fruit & vegetable tray). This isn’t a time for diets, cutting back or any of that hogwash. The Super Bowl, like the Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day, are holidays where food splurging isn’t an option, but a requirement.
Make sure your main course is greasy and that there is plenty to go around. Barbecue in a slow cooker. Chicken tenders. Or maybe just grab some $5 pizzas from Little Caesar or a chicken nugget platter from Chik-Fil-A. Maybe even go for the ultimate with the Bacon Explosion. If you want to try to save some money, grab party platters from a wholesale store, such as Costco.
Just remember that pizza chains, grocery stores, etc. are going to be swamped just before the game starts, so get your order in early, possibly even the day before…especially if you are going to try to get a delivery.
If you are having a group larger than 5-10, don’t feel like you have to provide food for everyone. Just let everyone know the theme and ask them to try to contribute something. Most people enjoy the challenge of making something that fits into the theme and other cooks like to show off a special recipe. Either way, as long as about half your guests bring something small, you’ll still have way more food than you need and you won’t have to slave in the kitchen from Thursday-Sunday.
Your guest list will help determine what type of drinks you will need, but the one must have for every Super Bowl party (except maybe a group of friends that met in AA) is beer. Again, you don’t want to necessarily have to provide everything for everyone, but provide a base that can be built on when people arrive with their own contributions to the party. Depending on the size of the crew coming over that could mean grabbing a keg or just a couple 12-packs.
Punches can also be great additions. You still get to create something and it doesn’t have to be alcoholic, so that you are able to provide something for everyone. A great way to build on your party theme is by making a punch. For example, for the Christmas Super Bowl Bash I’ll be at, there will be an alcoholic green and a non-alcoholic red punch. The punch bowls could also potentially highlight the theme.
***Don’t forget plates, cups, utensils for the food and drink. That would be a major disaster. And make sure you have ice!
No matter how amazing your decorations, how tasty the drinks are or how Wolfgang Puck your food is, the television will be the star of the party. Everyone will be focused on the TV to watch the game. It’d be great if you had a giant flat-screen plasma with theater-quality surround sound, but that’s not always the case. If not, quantity can replace the drop off in quality.
Most households in America have multiple TVs. Drag a smaller television out of the bedroom and set it up in the dining room as a supplement for your largest TV in the main viewing room. This will give people a chance to still enjoy food and drink without missing any of the game or the great Super Bowl commercials.
Worried about the size of your unit? Some electronics stores allow TV rentals. Another option is renting a projector that you can hook up to the TV. There is also the option of buying a new TV. Stores try to lure you with “Super Bowl Deals,” but the best deals are Black Friday, After Christmas sales, or about a month after the big game (when stores try to rid themselves of older models as the new models come out in the spring).
If you move a TV to the dining room or if you have to move your main unit to a larger viewing area, take the time to make sure the picture and sound are working long before anyone is to arrive. Nothing is more frustrating then messed up video or audio.
While people may spend the entire party standing and chatting with others, at least give the option of sitting. If this year’s game ends up being anything like last year, some people will wander around chatting each other up throughout the game, but every single person will be glued around the TV for the final five minutes or so. Make sure everyone will be able to see a TV and that they can do so comfortably.
People are coming to your party for comfort and friends. If they wanted to stand and have a blocked view, they would have went to a crowded bar. Besides the obvious couch, loveseat, recliner options that you already have in your living room, bring in the kitchen chairs, the bar stools, and any ottomans or foot stools you have around the house. If you have to, clean off the outdoor patio furniture. Not everyone has to be in a seat, though. Bean bag chairsand couch/sitting pillows work great because they create different viewing heights and therefore creating better sight lines.
What happens if the game turns into an early 90s Cowboys Super Bowl (really Buffalo? 52-17? Ouch!)? How do you keep people interested in the game? Put people’s money on the line.
The classic 10X10 grid pool is the simplest form of a Super Bowl pool and the classic continues to be an awesome way to keep everyone into the game, hoping their numbers come up. If you don’t think you can get people to pony up enough money for 100 squares, give everyone a certain amount of squares and give away small gifts at the end of the quarters, halves or game rather than money.
You can also have side bets. Who wins the coin toss? How many times they show a player’s wife? What the coach wears? Whatever. You can find a list of prop bets on any betting web site.
While we can’t promise the game will be any good, if you take care of all these things, your party is promised to be a great experience. Have fun and best of luck this Super Bowl Sunday!