Lifestyle expert Kris Schoels of Young Married Chic has some simple suggestions for making the most of football parties.
The aesthetics of a party are half the fun, so give guests something fun to look at when they aren’t engrossed in the game. Pick up plates, cups, napkins and flags with a football theme from a party store. Schoels also recommends making your own football-themed decorations by taking a football-shaped stamp, inking it with your favorite team's colors and stamping white napkins and plates.
“To really get in the game-day theme, trade out a tablecloth for green turf and paint your own goal lines for a table topper,” Schoels says. “Fill football helmets with chips for a more creative touch and swap out serving trays for chalkboards to label foods and chalk out ‘plays.’”
Drinks are a great opportunity to use some color to express team pride, advises Schoels.
“Use a glass drink dispenser to show off a bright red punch for the Kansas City Chiefs; add some blueberry juice to seltzer with a squeeze of lime for flavor to make a blue fizz for the New York Giants, or add a few drops of green food coloring to lemonade to show love for the Green Bay Packers,” she suggests.
If you are planning on having a kid’s table/viewing area, provide mini bottles of sports drink so the kids can get into the game as well.
Put a new twist on stadium foods at home
When it comes to game day food, there are some classic favorites, both at home and at the stadium like nachos, chicken fingers, hot dogs and soft pretzels. For your next party, Schoels recommends putting a new twist on them with an ingredient that everyone loves – melted cheese.
“A ready-to-eat fondue like the ones from Emmi of Switzerland are perfect for dipping soft pretzels, pigs in a blanket, french fries and chicken fingers, and even using as the cheese for nachos – it’s a perfect way to enjoy stadium foods at home,” says Schoels. “Emmi even sells a football helmet-shaped fondue pot at Emmi.com that is sure to get your guests in the zone on Sunday while they enjoy some warm, melted cheese.”
Whether satisfying a gridiron sweet tooth or keeping it light, there are creative ways to serve football-inspired desserts.
“Use a tube of white icing to create laces on football-shaped treats, like brownies cut into the pigskin shape, cupcakes with chocolate frosting or chocolate-covered strawberries,” says Schoels. “If opting for a healthier dessert option, try cutting out a watermelon in the shape of a helmet and filling it with fresh-cut fruit.”
Games and activities
Plan some activities for the pre and postgame to make your gathering more than just a viewing party. If the weather is still nice outside, ask your guests to come early for a quick round of touch football. Once the game is underway create areas where kids and/or non-football fans can talk without bothering the viewers. For non-athlete guests, Schoels recommends a tamer game that everyone can enjoy.
“You can make a ’pin the football in the goal‘ game,” she says. “Just tape up a paper goal post cutout to wall; blindfold players and having them try to tack paper football inside the goal area.” Buy small prizes for winners like koozies, gift cards and team memorabilia to make the games more competitive and enjoyable for guests.