You probably know how to throw a good dinner party or host weekend cocktails with friends. When it comes to planning a stellar Super Bowl bash, things are a little more complicated. Guests expect great food, plenty of drinks, and a great viewing experience. Basically, they want the complete package, so failing to deliver on any of these fronts isn’t going to cut it.
That’s not to say everything has to be perfect. Someone will probably spill a beverage and a kid might have a meltdown. As long as you take care of the most important components, these little hiccups really won’t matter. In an effort to make sure you have a fantastic Super Bowl Sunday, we’ve put together an essential checklist. You’re just seven tips away from the best Super Bowl party your friends have ever seen.
1. Figure out the food
Before you worry about anything else, you want to nail down a plan for food. As corny as this sounds, the best way to get yourself organized is to pick a theme. We’re not talking a movie or your favorite decade, but something specifically related to food. Try to keep it somewhat generic, so you don’t even up with, say, 12 varieties of tacos and nothing else. Instead, go for spicy Mexican food because it will enable you to plan for a wide variety of dishes and flavors. If you don’t want some tacos, though, check out these five recipes.
Settling on a theme will also inform you what you can reasonably accomplish. As soon as you nail down how many recipes you can handle, fill in the gaps by having a local restaurant cater a few things or pick up some basics at the grocery store. If you’re having a potluck, assign a different type of dish to each of your friends. Again, this will ensure you don’t end up with a bunch of the same thing.
Lastly, planning the food will inform what types of plates, bowls, utensils, and napkins you need. Barbecue, for example, pretty much requires moist towelettes.
2. Keep drinks simple
Trying to figure out the best booze and the correct proportion of beer to wine to spirits is just going to make you crazy. That being said, don’t just settle for mass quantities of light beer. Your best bet is to offer a just a few types of both beer and wine, plus a little something for the cocktail-drinking crew. While you could set up a bar with different spirits and mixers, professionals say you’re much better off making one or two batch cocktails.
Whatever you decide to do, the only thing that’s really going to put a damper on the party is running out of ice. Your fridge likely isn’t large enough to store so many brews and pitchers of punch, so keep ice-filled coolers on standby. Martha Stewart recommended one pound of ice per person per hour, which is a pretty safe bet.
3. Divide duties
If you’re having a potluck, then obviously you want to assign different dishes as soon as possible. Even if you’re taking help with the food, don’t be afraid to ask your pals to pitch in with other items or tasks. If you’re taking responsibility for all the eats, this is even more true. Ask someone to bring disposable plates and utensils, someone to swing by an hour or so early to help set things up, and someone to assist with cleaning. Skimped on ice? Ask a buddy to pick up a bag on the way over.
As with food, it’s better to assign than just wait for friends to offer themselves up. You might end up with six people trying to cram into your kitchen while you cook and then no one to help pick up beer cans and plates at the end of the night. That being said, keep in mind what your friends like to do and what they hate. Begging someone who despises cleaning to assist with dish duty probably isn’t the best idea.
4. Get the proper equipment
If you already have a theater-like setup, this really doesn’t apply to you. For those who only have a small TV, though, an upgrade is definitely in order. You could go out to purchase a completely new setup if you were planning on doing so anyways, but no one is expecting you to shell out thousands for their benefit. This is where rental companies come in. Men’s Journal shared some great tips for figuring out where and what to rent.
Don’t forget about chairs, either. There’s a good chance most households don’t have enough couches and chairs to comfortably seat everyone. Party rental stores offer a lot of options for renting basic furniture. You can even reserve clothing racks to avoid the massive pile of coats on your bed.
5. Do a trial run
Waiting until five minutes before the game starts to make sure your setup is functioning properly is cutting it way too close. Those who are familiar with their equipment will have an easier time, but it still isn’t a bad idea to make sure everything is up and running a few days in advance. If something isn’t working right, you’ll have plenty of time to troubleshoot.
Trial runs are also critical for anyone trying out a new recipe. You may find a particular dish is way too fussy to pull off for a big group. Knowing this ahead of time allows you to adjust.
6. Have a backup plan
Sometimes all the preparation in the world isn’t enough to guarantee a seamless experience. Things go wrong, particularly when electronics are involved. No matter how tech savvy you are, always have a backup plan. This could be another TV in the house or a nearby restaurant you know will be showing the game.
If you have some sort of massive kitchen disaster, have a list of delivery places ready to go. Trying to come up with ideas for where to get grub is pretty difficult when you’re flustered. If you already have a plan, all you have to do is dial.
7. Keep the kids entertained
Chances are good that you’ll have a smattering of kids tag along to your bash. Unless you have fun and games ready, you’ll just wind up with a bunch of bored and fussy little ones. Coloring books, puzzles, crafts that aren’t too messy, and board games are all great activities. P&G Everyday shared even more great ways to keep little ones entertained. You also might want to consider stocking up on some children’s movies.