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While kickoff and big budget commercials are still days away on Super Bowl Sunday, its crunch time for prepping a flawless game day party. We know the different types of guests to anticipate: the die-hard football fans, the commercial break enthusiasts, and the finger-food lovers. No matter the crowd, it shouldn’t take days of planning to make your party a smooth success. Catch the highlights below for six tips you need in your playbook.
Nothing is certain except death, taxes and……Grandma getting to the party 45 minutes ahead of schedule. Plan out where guests can drop their bulky coats (and possibly snowy shoes) since your hall closet is probably already at capacity-we recommend an easily accessible spare bedroom. Wrangle one lucky child to be head coat collector and take the task out of your hands. Most importantly, don’t get caught without a full tray of food and drink ready! Assemble your snacks and cocktails in advance so all you’ll have to do is pull them out of the fridge, which leads us to the next step.
Want to really impress your guests where it matters? Go all out on an eye-catching charcuterie board overflowing with yummy finger foods. We like making a few different boards that can easily be presented as one, large tray or passed separately around the room. Create a “Mexican” themed board for your chips and dip, a sweets board that appeals to both kid and grown-up taste buds, and an attention-grabbing main board loaded up with wings, sandwich bites, shrimp cocktail and veggies. Don’t bother with a generic, pre-made centerpiece: cut a football shape from a block of cheddar cheese and decorate with pepperoni laces (you get bonus points for being both on theme and edible).
It’s a given you’ll need a stocked cooler of beer and soda at the ready, but don’t miss the opportunity to make the party special with a signature cocktail sized for a crowd. Prepare batches of hard and soft cocktails ahead of time that guests can easily serve themselves in pitchers during breaks. Set up a drink station with plenty of coasters, napkins and clean glasses at hand. The key for food and drinks is to focus on things you can set and forget so you don’t miss precious game time taking dishes in and out of the oven.
No matter how delicious the food and drinks are, everything takes a side seat once kickoff happens. Make sure there’s an easy view to the TV from all angles of the living room and plenty of seating. Guests will play musical chairs with spots as they get up to grab refreshments, so make sure that there are options other than prime couch real estate. Grab dining room chairs for extra seats and bring down large Euro pillows from the bedroom to act as fluffy floor cushions. Clear out any non-essentials like coffee table books and throw blankets that could get in the way and be a food-spill target. Maximize vertical space with shelves and carts serving up snacks and simple decorations. A chalk board or lightboard is an easy, no-mess way to leave a greeting for guests while still adding personalization to the space. Chic, neutral window curtains are a final touch that won’t interfere with TV viewing but make your room cozy and polished.
Get everyone involved in what’s going down on the field with games for all ages. Print out a premade Super Bowl squares sheet and pass it around with a pencil so each guest can write their name down. Bingo can be catered to both the game and commercials so guests will stay engaged during down time. Don’t forget to set out a couple other games if you have young children coming, but don’t stress since in all likelihood they’ll be snoozing by halftime.
Don’t let your party become ground zero for a cold and flu breakout and stock up your bathroom with essentials. A stack of clean towels, soap and hand sanitizer are your best defense in close quarters like this. Leave another bottle of sanitizer near the charcuterie to encourage guests to clean up before they dig in-and let’s hope you don’t have too many double dippers!
Our secret to a successful Super Bowl party is not overthinking it: simply elevate what you already do on game day. It’s not the day to test out that trendy vegan casserole for the first time or splash out on elaborate party supplies you’ll only use one day a year. Let the excitement of top-notch football and superstar music performances do the real work of entertaining for you, and sit back and enjoy the game with your crowd of family and friends.