There’s nothing quite as fun as kicking off football season with a game day party. And it happens to be one of the easiest parties to host. Food prep is simple, serving is ultra casual, and the entertainment is built in. Simply throw open the doors, let that crisp fall air fill your home, and tune in to the cheering of the crowds, the music of the marching bands and the thrill of the battle.
Start by sending out Mixbook’s Game Day party invitations. Usually with parties we recommend mailing invites with details at least three weeks in advance, but with a football party you can get away with sending (or passing) them out one week in advance. Use the front of the card to list details like time and place, plus a suggestion of what to bring. You can either leave the back of the card blank or use it to inspire a little pre-game team spirit by including fan – extra points for any shots of the hosts sporting team colors with face or, better yet, body paint. And if you are including fans from the opposing side at your party, you can start by congratulating yourself on your benevolence, then consider using some…um…creative layout techniques to minimize the threat of the opponents. It’s a good-natured way to instigate a little fun team rivalry, which will surely play out by setting the scene for a lively party. Unless your team loses, of course. Which it won’t.
Once your invites are sent, think about the best setup for your living room. Make sure there’s a comfortable vantage point for everyone to watch the game. Unless you have a home theater, it’s likely this will mean moving some furniture around. Consider moving your coffee table off to one side. That way, guests will have a place to set drinks and snacks, but the floor in front of your sofa can be appropriated for throw pillows and football fans.
Think ahead to game times. Depending on your party time, you might want to set your DVR to record your game or other big showdowns scheduled for earlier in the day. You’ll likely have one game that’s the main attraction, and that one will be featured on your largest screen. But if you have another television or two in the house, you might want to move it out into the living room. Having multiple screens displaying all the big games will infuse your party with the lively spirit of a sports bar with the benefit of comfort and great food.
Speaking of food, the fans must be fed. Whatever you choose, keep it simple, make it manly, choose good ingredients, and have some fun! Keeping to those general guidelines will ensure that you don’t work too hard and no one goes hungry. A taco bar is a great way to feed a crowd easily. Set up a buffet table with taco shells plus big bowls of meat, veggies, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and plenty of hot sauce options. Or marinate lots of chicken in advance and throw it on the grill at halftime along with some burgers and dogs. Put out lots of chips, nuts, and even bowls of fruit for all-day snacking. And if kids are invited, whip up a few football-inspired treats. You can pretend that the fun theme is only to delight the children, but we all know that even the most hardened football fanatics can’t resist little brownies shaped to look like their beloved zeppelin-shaped ball, piped with white icing that looks just like laces.
For drinks, think beer or bloodies. If you’re serving beer, make sure it’s ice cold. For bloody Mary’s, make them spicy. The spicier they are, the more intimidated your opponent will be. Whatever you choose, make sure there are also plenty of nonalcoholic options for nondrinking adults and for children. You’ll also want to set up an ice water station so guests can quench their own thirst when the cheering reaches a fever pitch.
Have fun and remember to practice good sportsmanship ☺