On February 4th around 6pm, most of America will be tuning into a certain football game, and probably celebrating the “holiday” with family, friends and lots of snacks.
While this day could certainly be considered a national holiday, sometimes it can be hard to get into the super spirit if your team is not in the game. Or if your team is in the game, and you are really pumped, you might be looking for an awesome atmosphere to catch the game and don’t know where to turn.
Just about every sports bar in town will have the game on, but throwing your own “Big Game” party is the perfect way to watch, especially if you want to get the whole family involved. Whether you have a big party and invite everyone you know, or just want to make the evening a little more festive for your family, I’ve got some tips for throwing a successful “Big Game” Party.
Tips for a Fun Football Party
Every great party is anchored by three main things: food, activities and ambiance. On this particular Sunday in February the food usually takes the lead as the most important.
You could go with traditional football snacks, such as wings, pizza and nachos. Or you could even grill burgers and hot dogs. But if you really want to impress your guests, plan all your food around a specific theme.
This year you could have food from Philly and Boston. For example, represent Philadelphia with cheesesteaks, cannolis and Yuengling beer; New England with clam chowder, Boston creme pie and Sam Adams beer.
You could try and help everyone stick to their New Year’s resolutions and make your theme healthy versions of traditional football snacks. You could do cauliflower crust pizza; grilled wings; veggies and dip instead of chips and dip; nachos made with bell peppers instead of chips; and even cookie dough dip from chickpeas (I promise it’s good!)!
If healthy snacks or regional specialties are not your taste, why not theme your food around “pigskin”? All the dishes would have to incorporate bacon, ham, sausage or pork and you can let your guests get creative with what they decide to bring.
As the hostess it’s easy to overwhelm yourself and think you need to provide all the food, but people will always ask, “What can I bring?” Having a theme will make it easier to assign a dish to your guests (who really do want to pitch in) and ensure you don’t end up with 17 bags of chips.
Although eating is probably the most important activity of your “Big Game” party, (yes, even more important than actually watching the game for a lot of people) a party everyone will be talking about on Monday will have some other activities to keep your guests entertained. A few games, especially ones the kids can play too, will make your party a hit.
Here are a few ideas on games you can play.
Print Bingo cards with different things people might observe while watching the game, such as 1st down, pick 6, penalty flag, beer commercial, etc. When something on your card happens in the game, you get to mark that square. We played football bingo at last year’s party and it was such a hit everyone requested it for the next year. I had one guest tell me, “I watched more of the game this year than ever, just because I’m trying to get a bingo.”
Big Game Trivia
Google some fun facts about the teams playing, the traditions surrounding the game, the commercials and the half time show. Have your guests take the quiz as they arrive and give a prize to the person with the highest score at half time.
If you like to have a stake in the game, even if your team is not playing, Squares is a fun way to participate. You create a 10×10 grid, with the first column and row labeled 0-9, with the top row being one team and the first column being for the other team. Each guest can buy squares on the board, or you can assign squares if you’re not playing for cash. If the score at the end of the first quarter is 7 to 13 the person who bought the square that aligns with 7 and 3 (always the 2nd digit in a 2-digit score) wins 25% of the pot.
You can charge a quarter, a dollar or more for each square and award a winning square at the end of each quarter. If you want to raise the stakes as the game goes on you can give a smaller prize at the end of each quarter and make the prize at the end of the game 50% of the pot.
Be sure to inform your guests ahead of time if they should bring cash. Even if you’re not a gambler, playing square is a fun way to care about the score when your team is not in the game.
As guests arrive assign each person a brand or company. Pick brands that traditionally advertise during the Big Game, such as Pepsi, Apple or Frito Lay. You could even Google the commercials ahead of time, but that could be a spoiler for you! At the end of the game have every guest vote on the best commercial and the person who was that “brand” will win a prize. Your prizes don’t have to be anything big, even candy or silly dollar store toys can be fun and they add to the competitive atmosphere of your party.
Your local Publix or Party City will have balloons in team colors and plenty of football themed party décor to deck out your space. An inexpensive way to transform your space is to create goal posts on the wall around the tv with yellow streamers or balloons.
Most people will be focused on the tv though, so don’t worry too much about the decorations! If you have a couple of footballs on hand you can even use those as decorations, or send your kids outside to toss them around and burn some energy while you prep for the party!
No matter which team ends up winning, your party is sure to be a hit and can be a tradition your family builds upon year after year. What other ideas do you have for celebrating the big game?