What to serve, what to do and how to keep all guests happy.
The tradition of the Super Bowl party is unique. Unlike baseball, basketball or hockey, the Super Bowl is one game, winner takes all. It’s the most-watched event in American sports history and one of the most widespread parties of the year.
Chances are, you are either attending a Super Bowl party or throwing one. If the latter is true, there are little things you can do to make this party one to remember. The Super Bowl is full of fun ways to let loose, win some money, stuff your face and cheer for whomever.
Super Bowl parties are all about finger foods. The game is over three hours long, so providing appetizers is a good way to keep your guests happy throughout the party. The benefit to having only one kitchen is that you can cycle appetizers as the game progresses, i.e. bring out wings and chips, followed by jalapeño poppers 15 minutes later. Typical appetizers include:
- Chips and dip
- Buffalo wings (varieties like BBQ or spicy)
- Mini corn dogs (or other mini foods like burritos, pizza bites e.t.c)
- Meat and cheese spreads
- Vegetable trays
- Fruit trays
- Potato skins
If you want to really go the extra mile, make your own appetizers. Cooksrecipes.com has a whole section of appetizers that are quick, original and tasty. Click here for those recipes.
What to provide
This is always a touchy topic. You have to consider two things; your financial position, and your relationship with your guests.
If you are inviting a group of close friends over, feel free to provide all of the food and beverages and ask for a set contribution. If you do not know the guests well, or if it’s a mix, you typically don’t want to charge an admission fee.
Usually, the best bet is to have everyone bring something. This will lessen your financial burden, assure that each guest will at least like one food item, and open your party to different and creative dishes (everyone is known for something, chances are they’ll make their most loved dish for your party)
Hosts should always provide the main dish, plates, cutlery, cups, decorations, and some selection of non-alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, be sure to make it known ahead of time what the main dish will be so guests can avoid duplicating the exact meat. For example, if you’re serving hot dogs, you don’t want someone bringing pigs in a blanket as an appetizer.
It is perfectly acceptable to request that guests bring their own beer and liquor, even if you don’t know them well.
What Super Bowl party would be complete without games? It’s a great way to add more interaction among guests and more interest in the game itself. (NOTE: Some involve gambling, drinking or other “use your best judgment” components.)
The most common game is Super Bowl squares. This consists of a series of squares arranged in a 10 by 10 grid. Guests purchase the squares before the game for 50 cents or more per square. Once all the squares are purchased, a random number is drawn (1-10) along the left and top sides. Each number is used once per side. At the end of each quarter, the last number of each team’s score is used to track that place on the grid. Whoever’s square that lands on is the winner of that particular pot of money. Usually money breaks down to:
- 1st Quarter winner: 15%
- Halftime winner: 30%
- 3rd quarter winner: 15%
- Game winner: 40%
Download a preset grid here. http://www.docsports.com/pdf/super-bowl-squares.pdf
Beer pong is a wildly popular game at the moment, and can be played with a table, 20 plastic disposable cups and two ping pong balls. The point is to “shoot baskets” into your opponents’ beer cups, forcing them to drink every time you score. Rules are available on the internet.
Commentators can be a major source of drinking fun. Have those familiar with sports write down a list of common and not-so common phrases sports announcers might use. Assign a drink total for the party to consume every time the listed phrase is uttered. Obviously, smaller drink allotments will be tied to common actions (like “first down”) and heavier allotments for rare feats (like “interception”).
Don’t forget that there will likely be some guests who don’t drink or don’t care for football. Make sure that you have other options for them. Put some board games out or handheld gaming devices just in case.
Keep these ideas in mind for a Super Bowl party worth remembering.
Double your pleasure
You can never have enough TVs. If the weather permits, put a T.V. outside with chairs and tables. Guests always like to have more than one place to catch the game, since there are few living rooms big enough for all partygoers at once. This will also be a good way to offer separate sanctuaries for each team’s fans.
If there will be several kids at the party, set up a bedroom nearby full of kids stuff. Young children don’t really care for football, and chances are their parents wouldn’t mind having a little free time either. So set the kids up in a room with movies and toys. Each parent can take a set amount of time checking in on the kids, or you can assign a full time “babysitter.” No doubt this will also be appreciated by all other party guests.
Make it a good cause too
Anytime there are a large number of people gathering, you can have everyone participate in a small scale fundraiser. If you’re covering the food, try asking for a $5 donation to a set charity at the door. Better yet, ask each guest to bring a non-perishable food item. Carol Rock did this for a recent party and ended up hauling a huge bucket of items to the SCV Food Pantry. It’s a great way to easily make a difference, and it will likely suppress the personal guilt over a day of nacho cheese gluttony.
However you celebrate the Super Bowl, be sure to have a great time. Between Manning and Breeze, Wayne and Colston, Clark and Shockey, you’ll have little influence on the outcome of the Super Bowl. But if you play your cards right, you can have a greater impact on the quality of Super Bowl Sunday as a whole.