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How to throw a great Super Bowl party

Flickr/adrian, acediscovery

Although many devoted Patriots fans may not love the matchup for this year’s Super Bowl, it doesn’t mean watching the game can’t be a good time. Super Bowl parties these days are comparable to any other big holiday party. So if you are going to throw a game day soiree, there’s got to be some planning involved to make it enjoyable for all. Event planning can be very stressful, so here are a few tips to get you started on putting together the ultimate football bash.

Invitations

Guests are the key to a party’s success, but think of what kind of mood should be set at this shindig. Is it ideal to be surrounded by a bunch of hardcore football enthusiasts who fight back tears when the opposing team scores? For many people, it may be better to invite laidback sports fans who permit others to speak during commercials and the game without freaking out.

Either way, invites should be sent out as early as possible. Obviously, this will increase the odds of a solid turnout. No one likes making a ton of food for a party only consisting of a devoted friend and distant cousin.

Facebook is an excellent event planning resource. Friends, even family members, often can’t get off of this social media site and enjoy the visual reminder of party commitments it offers. Remember, filling the room to capacity can be a very real issue if an invite list gets too long, and flailing, cheering arms can be dangerous in a tight space. Lastly, get creative and make those invitations enticing with witty promises of lots of balls – footballs and cheeseballs, of course!

Decorations

What good party doesn’t have decorations? It’s not necessary to go overboard with the decor, but in order to gussy up the place, grab some football-themed plates, napkins and tablecloths. For those people who are feeling pretty fancy, hang up streamers around the house in Baltimore or San Francisco colors.

Serving food on a college budget

Super Bowl parties are great in the sense that nobody really cares about having a five-star meal. For snacks, a good host can’t go wrong with simply setting out bowls filled with various types of salty chips – Lay’s, Cheetos, Frito’s, Doritos, Tostitos … you get the idea. Another must-have dish on the snack list is the plate of nacho chips made with greasy, cheesy, ooey-gooey dip. Don’t be stringent on the snacks; there will need to be enough goodies to last through the pre-game, halftime and post-game.

The main course only has to fulfill two requirements: unhealthy and filling. Some easy ideas are wings, finger sandwiches, pizza or other take-out food. Set up the food “buffet style” and keep it accessible to guests throughout the night. Desserts are also a must. Super Bowl-themed cupcakes or brownies are always a crowd favorite.

Drinks

One word: beer. Ditch the fancy martini and margarita mixes and stick to the classic football-watching beverage. To save some money, suggest that guests bring their own drinks. However, a good host will be sure to have other options available like soda, water, or non-alcoholic punch for the sober crowd. Beverage diversity is key to having a happy crowd. Be sure to have planned a way for intoxicated guests to safely get home.

Setup

The whole point of a Super Bowl party is to gather around a television, so make sure it’s big. If the party’s venue isn’t sporting a big TV, don’t sweat it. All the matters is that the guests can see the game.

Make sure there is enough sitting or standing room for everyone, but if space is an issue a radio or a separate television is a suitable alternative.

Keeping it interesting

Make a game out of watching the game to keep guests who aren’t so interested in football engaged. Draw up a chart and have people place bets on which team will score the next touchdown and what the final score will be. Creating stakes will give any fan an extra adrenaline rush of victory no matter what the scoreboard says.

Cleanup

For an easy cleanup after the wings are cold and the tables are trashed, keep garbage bags stashed around the house. Use disposable products instead of glass, and tidy up a bit at halftime so the mess is less overwhelming by the end of the night.

Beth Cormack can be reached at bcomack@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @BAC_pack.

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