Hosting a football party this Sunday? From healthy recipes and home organization to sophisticated decor, check out these 5 tips to throw the best football viewing party from home.
Invite Your Guests
This step may seem like a no-brainer, but determining your invitees can be trickier than you might expect. To achieve a balance of minglers and engrossed viewers, you’ll want to create the perfect mix of avid enthusiasts and casual football fans so that your party stays lively but doesn’t become overly rowdy.
And remember, you’ll want to limit your guest list to the number of people who can be comfortably seated in your hosting space. Typically, that’ll mean a party with 15 to 20 guests. Thanks to this intimate number, you won’t have to be in constant host mode. After all, you want to be able to enjoy the party too.
When inviting your guests, whether you’re sending out a text message or making it more official with a social media event or an evite, you’ll want to notify everyone at least two weeks in advance, so they can mark the date on their calendars and make arrangements to attend. But if you’re mailing invitations and expect your guests to RSVP, send your cards out even earlier and set your RSVP deadline at least a week before the party. With leftover or returned cards, you can even repurpose these invitations by making them into party supplies.
Regardless of how and when they’re sent, make sure your invitations include a defined start and end time so friends don’t show up before your home is prepped and family doesn’t overextend their welcome after the game is over.
Prepare Your Home
After deep cleaning your kitchen and living room, prioritize organization in other spaces where your guests will be spending their time. Stock the bathroom with toilet paper, clean hand towels, and plenty of soap. If you’re utilizing your outdoor space, put together backyard games and take out cushions for patio furniture in advance.
Messes are bound to happen, but you can do your best to minimize accidents with thoughtful preparation. Put away valuable, breakable, or stainable items like area rugs. Put out coasters and napkins in multiple places throughout your home. Consider setting up a “Spill Station” with cleaning supplies like wet wipes, vacuums, or all-purpose spray where kids—and adults—can tidy themselves up.
Get comfortable with your electronics. Practice controlling your smart TV, home audio system, projector, and all other devices before game day, so you never miss kickoff, halftime shows, or the punchline to a hilarious Superbowl commercial due to technical difficulties.
Most importantly, provide enough seating for all. The sofa might work for your family, but stadium-style chairs, as well as unconventional seating like poufs, pillows, footstools, ottomans, and piano benches might be needed to accommodate large parties. When determining the layout, keep in mind the flow of your guests from the snack table to their seat to the bathroom. Ensure pathways are open and intuitive and arrange chairs so that everyone can view the TV.
Sports decorations don’t have to be tacky. Keep your decor simple and elegant by sticking to an elevated palette that incorporates your team’s colors. To avoid a cluttered space and time-sucking clean-up, opt for decorations that are both minimalistic and functional. And look for pieces that can be used again and again—whether for future game days or even the holidays!
To liven up your space, introduce greenery and floral arrangements that incorporate your team colors. Fold your linen napkins to look like a jersey or a field post at the dining table. Create a sophisticated football concession stand. Do the glam version of referee shirts with black-and-white patterns like leopard-print runners or zebra-striped chairs. Lay down a paper tablecloth that doubles as a drawing canvas where children can color and sketch out plays of their own. Or let your food make the statement by serving visually-appealing dishes like a game day charcuterie board or football snack stadium.
Sight isn’t the only sense to consider when creating your party ambiance. To get your guests in the cheering spirit, set the perfect outdoor vibes from the comfort of your couch by burning fall-scented candles. Support the Huskers with the NoMad Wax Co. GBR Nebraska Candle from Made in Omaha. Choose from scents like Autumn Farmhouse, October Nights, or Mulled Cider in your Prairie Girl Wax Melts by Prairie in Bloom Marketplace. Fill your home with cozy and crisp smells like Fallen Leaves, Pumpkin Patch, or Apple Cider Donut with Haven Candle Co’s Fall Collection. Or pay a visit to Nomad Wax Co. Studio and select your own fragrance oils to make a custom candle at the Pouring Bar.
Don’t forget the tunes. Have your favorite playlist on deck in the event of catastrophic technical failures or lighting disasters. Or quietly play instrumental music in the background to fill lulls in conversations before kickoff or during commercial breaks and halftime.
For whatever you decide to serve, do the bulk of meal prep before showtime. That means, chop and store all veggies, meats, and toppings before guests arrive. Plate dishes and snacks that can sit out ahead of time. Fill condiment jars and coolers well before the game starts.
Get the party started with football-themed cocktails. Keep your bar cart fully stocked and have separate drink stations for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Keep a collection of wine suitable to the food you will pair it with.
Ideally, you’ll want to provide at least three snacks to tide your guests over until halftime. Most will prefer to munch on finger foods. Choose from classic football foods like baked spinach artichoke dip, loaded nachos, or meatless options like cauliflower wings and veggie trays. Or arrange cute, edible party platters with foods like chocolate-dipped strawberries decorated like footballs or Teddy Grahams with frosting jerseys. You could even carve a football helmet from a watermelon shell and fill it with fruit salad.
Around halftime, give your party heartier foods like instant pot chili, walking tacos, or burgers and hot dogs. Cook plenty, but don’t overdo it. Plan for every guest to eat at least one and a half plates worth of food. This entree should last guests the remainder of the game, but keep leftover snacks and desserts nearby to nibble on during the fourth quarter and overtime.
Try to accommodate the dietary restrictions of your guests and have a variety of healthy and unhealthy options. For parties with children, be sure to create a kid-friendly menu with options like ham and cheese sliders, bacon mac n’ cheese, or soft pretzels.
Let’s face it: football games can be boring. All of your guests might not be super into the sport, so prepare activities like a fantasy football league, a friendly wager, or a round of Super Bowl Bingo to keep everyone entertained. Or when the weather allows, take the party outside to compete in bags or other backyard games.
And if there are children at your viewing party, ensure you have a separate space dedicated solely to them. Most kids won’t have the interest or attention span to sit through an entire sporting event, so make sure you have a safe area in your home where they can run around and play. Prepare entertainment with activities like football-themed coloring pages and pin the football on the field goal. Or if the weather is nice, send them outside for a relay race or football toss.
Lastly, block out social media. Establish this party rule as guests walk in the front door. This ensures everyone is present and engaged in conversations without peeking at the score from their app. Plus, it saves you from any embarrassing photos posted the next day!
Not sure what to wear at your football watch party? Shop our collection of game day apparel at Alumna House!