Your Guide to Hosting the Ultimate Super Bowl Party
It’s that time of year again. The holidays have come and gone, and the long winter months are looming in front of us all. But there’s no reason to get the winter blues. After all, winter brings so many things you can’t find any other time of year.
There are winter sports like snowboarding, skiing and ice-skating. There are snow hikes, snowball fights and plenty of opportunities to stay inside where it’s warm and read a good book or two. Best of all, winter means it’s finally Super Bowl season.
For many families and groups of friends, their annual Super Bowl party is one of the most fun events of the year. It’s an opportunity to get together with your favorite people and watch an exciting game. There are snacks, drinks, competition and an overwhelming sense of excitement.
And of course, every family and friend group needs someone to host the party. Maybe that’s your job, and you’re already a pro at it. Or maybe you’ve never tried before, but you’re determined that this is the year you step up to begin hosting a successful Super Bowl party.
Whatever your situation, we understand how important this party is, and we’ve got your back. We’ve compiled the ultimate Super Bowl party hosting checklist, and we’ve got plenty of additional tips and ideas to help your party be the best one ever. By the time you’re finished reading this, you’ll know everything there is to know about how to host a Super Bowl party.
Tips for Hosting a Super Bowl Party
One of the keys to hosting any successful party is knowing how far in advance to start planning. If you wait until the last minute to make your plans, the party will inevitably suffer. We’ve broken this guide down into different sections based on when you should begin thinking about each step.
Weeks Before the Party
Some things, such as cooking, can’t realistically be done until game day or the day before. But when it comes to planning a party, there are plenty of things to get started on ahead of time. Here are the things to take care of in the weeks leading up to the big day:
- Decide Who to Invite
The guest list is one of the first things to settle. That way, you can get a head count and began planning food and other things. Depending on your circumstances, the guest list and invitations can be as formal or informal as you like.
It doesn’t matter if your party consists of family, friends or both. Ask yourself who you want at the party. Ask yourself who will feel slighted or left out if they aren’t invited. Ask yourself if any of your guests have friends or significant others whom it would be rude to exclude. Ask yourself who will cause trouble if they’re invited. For this step, it might be a good idea to brainstorm with a friend or partner. That way, you can be sure no is accidentally left out.
Once you have a solid idea of who you want to invite, it’s time to start letting them know. You can do this in whatever way works best for you. If you like a more traditional approach, there’s nothing wrong with sending out invitations in the mail. Or if you prefer to do things in a more laid-back way, you can shoot them a quick email or text with the details. One of the easiest ways might be to make a Facebook group or event that you can use to post all the details.
However you choose to spread the word about your party, make sure that your guests give you an RSVP. It’s crucial to get a headcount, so you know how many people to expect. If some of your guests are reluctant to give you a definite answer, ask them again, explaining you want to know so you can be sure to have enough food. Don’t forget to ask your guests if any of them are bringing guests as well.
It’s important to do this step far enough in advance. If you wait to invite people until a week before the game, they may have already made plans with someone else. Make sure your guests get your party on their calendar with plenty of time to spare.
- Decide Who’s in Charge of the Food
While you don’t need to decide the exact menu until closer to the event, it’s a good idea to get an idea of who is providing the food beforehand. Are you, as the host, planning on cooking for all your guests? Or are you opting for a more potluck style instead, where everyone contributes a little bit? Or maybe you’re planning to order takeout for the whole group.
Whichever route you choose, it’s important to establish this ahead of time. If you decide to ask everyone to contribute a dish, snack or drink, make sure to let them know up front. This gives them time to plan what they’ll bring. It might be a good idea to come up with a list of dishes you’d like to have at the party, then ask everyone to sign up to bring one thing from the list. For example, your list might require two or three entrees, two appetizers and two desserts, or whatever you like. Let your guests choose which item they would like to bring.
If you decide to order takeout, or even if you decide to cook for all your guests, take some time to decide how you want to handle the money. If you want to pay for everything yourself, that’s fine. However, if you choose to ask your guests all to chip in a little bit, this is something you should tell everyone in advance. Most likely, they will expect it and will be willing to help. Make sure the expectation is clearly communicated, and everyone is on the same page.
The Week Before the Game
Depending on how fast or slow you like to work, these are some tasks you might want to start working on over a week before the party or just a few days before.
- Plan Your Menu and Go Shopping
It’s time to get down to brass tacks, and that means figuring out the finer details of the food. This can lead to a few headaches, so it’s a good idea to do this with a friend or family member. That way, you can bounce ideas off one another.
If you’re choosing to buy takeout, decide what and how much to buy. If you’re buying pizza, think about what kind of toppings will have universal appeal. If you’re ordering wings, what sauces and flavors will your guests want? Will they want sides? Appetizers? These are all things to consider.
If you plan on doing the cooking, or even some of the cooking, it’s time to start thinking about recipes. We recommend digging out all your favorites for such an important occasion, but it’s also worth it to scour the internet for new ideas. You might also ask your friends if they have any recipes they’d recommend.
When you’ve got your menu planned out, make a thorough list of all the ingredients required for every recipe. Check your cupboards to be sure you aren’t buying duplicates of anything you already have. Once you’re armed with your list, head to the nearest grocery store and start stocking up.
- Think About the Drinks
When it comes to drinks, it’s best to have options. If you and your guests want to have some alcoholic drinks, make sure to ask around to get a feel for what everybody wants. This way, you won’t end up with all the leftovers that no one wanted to drink.
In addition to these drinks, make sure to provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. Buy a few different kinds of soda, or try your hand at making punch. Don’t forget to provide plenty of bottled water if you don’t drink your tap water. If there are going to be kids at the party, make sure to have something they’ll want to drink.
And while you’re busy planning out the drink menu, don’t forget to buy ice — lots of it. Most likely, your fridge won’t have enough room for all your food and drinks. So drag your cooler out, or borrow one from a friend and fill it with ice to keep the drinks cool. Remember to provide additional ice for people to put in any drinks they want.
- Plan Some Themed Decorations
Of course, this is an optional step. Not every Super Bowl party needs decorations. But we all know that the most fun and most successful parties are the ones with a great sense of fun and atmosphere. And what better way to create a better atmosphere than through some decorations?
Drive to your local party store and browse through the seasonal Super Bowl section that should be out this time of year. Grab some banners, some streamers and anything else you think might help spice up your party space.
If you’re crafty and good with paints, pens, calligraphy or other artistic skills, you might also create your own decorations. And if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, try recruiting some friends or family members who are naturally artistic and see if you can convince them to help you out.
Once you’ve got some great decorations, hang them up around the room, house or apartment until it feels like the party is ready to start.
- Deck out Your Home Theater Set-Up
It goes without saying that the most important part of any Super Bowl party is the Super Bowl itself. That means you and your friends are going to want to watch the game in style. It means a big TV, great speakers and plenty of seating surrounding your setup.
Not everyone has this kind of home theater in their house, however. It’s fine if you don’t. But if you plan on hosting the Super Bowl party of the year, it might be time to think about an upgrade. It doesn’t have to be a permanent upgrade, either. See if anyone you know has a large TV they’d be willing to lend you. If you don’t have any luck borrowing one from a friend, there are plenty of stores and companies that allow you to rent this kind of equipment for a day or two. Just be sure to take good care of it if you do choose to rent or borrow.
The next order of business is seating. For this occasion, it’s perfectly acceptable to drag every couch and chair you own into the TV room. Cluster them around the TV so that everyone will have a good view. If people are going to need to sit on the floor, provide plenty of comfortable pillows for them to sit on or lean against.
Remember, there’s no need to set up the TV or the seating until the day of or the day before the party, but it’s a good idea to make plans in advance. There’s nothing worse than waking up on Game Day and realizing you have no TV to watch the game on.
- Double Check With Anyone Who Hasn’t Given an RSVP
Got someone on your guest list who still hasn’t given you a definite answer on whether they’re coming or not? Shoot them a text, an email, a phone call or go knock on their door. Be polite but firm, explaining that you need a definite answer one way or another so you can make your plans.
Sometimes they have a legitimate reason for not being able to commit one way or another. If that’s the case, reassure them this is fine. Plan enough food so that if they do show up, they’ll have something to eat. If they don’t, there will simply be more for everyone else. It’s always better to have too much food than not enough.
- Plan to Keep the Kids Occupied
If you or any of your guests are bringing young children, realize that they probably won’t be interested in watching the big game with the adults. Consider setting up a laptop or second TV in the basement or a bedroom and pick a selection of kid’s movies for them.
If you’re worried about the sound of their movie being too loud, you could also provide a few games for them to play, although these might get noisy as well. Other options include things like coloring pages, puzzles, books or video games, depending on the age of the children.
Another option is to simply make your party an adult-only party and ask your guests to leave their children with sitters or at home. Realize, however, that this may not be an option for everyone, and may prevent some people from being able to attend your party at all.
- Plan Some Games
This depends largely on your preference. If your friends are up for it, however, Super Bowl parties are a great place to play some fun games. If your guests are arriving early, you can play some games beforehand, getting everyone into the spirit of the day.
You can also play games that last all evening long, like Super Bowl Bingo, or games involving rating every commercial you see. There are plenty of great ideas for Super Bowl games out there. Try some well-known games, or invent your own with your friends.
The Day Before
The big day is almost here, and it’s time to make some last-minute preparations. Here are the things you should be doing the day before the main event.
- Get Cooking
If you’re making even some of the food for your party, this is the time to get started. If you’ve already gone grocery shopping, you should have all the ingredients readily at your disposal. Now comes the task of assembling the dishes.
Try to adopt a methodical approach to what might seem like a daunting task. If things need to bake at the same temperature, put them in the oven together. If something needs to bake for a long time or chill in the fridge for a while, do these things first. If you have friends or family members living with you, ask them to help you with tasks like chopping veggies and other ingredients.
- Run Out for Any Last-Minute Supplies
Inevitably, we all forget something. Maybe it’s an extra bag of ice, a few more bags of potato chips, or paper products like plates, silverware and cups. Whatever it is, run through your checklist the day before the party so you have plenty of time to dash out and buy it.
- Set up Your Theater
It’s time to start moving couches, chairs, beanbag chairs and pillows into the TV room. Cluster them around the TV, making sure that no matter where anyone sits, they’ll have a great view of the game.
If you’re renting or borrowing a TV or any other equipment, now is the time to go out and pick it up. Bring it back and set it up today, not tomorrow. Plug everything in and fire it up. Make sure everything works exactly as it should. If something does go wrong, it’s better to notice it today, when you still have time to fix it, than tomorrow, when the game is about to start.
- Plan the Clean-Up
Cleaning up after the party is going to be a big job, and the last thing you want is to be stuck doing it all yourself. Instead, plan to ask your guests to pitch in and help out. With everyone helping, the job will go much more quickly, leaving you with more time for party games and other fun activities.
Draw up a list of everything that will need to be done after the game is over. Include things like washing and drying the dishes, putting the furniture back, taking out the trash and anything else you can think of. When guests arrive, ask them to put their name down under one of the chores. Then, when the game is over, everyone will know exactly what chore they’re expected to help with.
Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. If you’re properly prepared, you should have almost nothing left to do. Here are a few minor things to run through before your guests start arriving.
- Finish Cooking
Are there any finishing touches to add to any of your mouth-watering game-day dishes? If so, now’s the time. If you’re ordering takeout, order it early in the day and let the restaurant know what time to deliver or what time you’ll arrive to pick it up.
- Clean up Around the House
One of the unfortunate consequences of any party is the mess that always follows. There’s not much you can do to prevent that, but you can at least make sure your house or apartment is spic and span before the party. Vacuum, sweep and pick up anything cluttering up the main living spaces before everyone arrives, and hopefully, the cleanup process will be a little smoother.
- Set up the Food
Right before your guests arrive, it’s time to set all the food out. Line things up on the table or counter so your guests can help themselves in a buffet-style. Set out plenty of paper plates, cups and plastic silverware. If things are supposed to stay hot, leave them under foil wrapping, or leave the lids on the dishes. Be sure to set the drinks in coolers full of ice, leaving the lids closed to keep the cool inside.
- Have Fun!
Take a deep breath and relax. Your work is finished. Now, it’s time to sit back, eat some good food and enjoy an exciting game with your friends and family.
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