Whether you are hosting a College football playoff bash or a Super Bowl blowout, these decorating and menu ideas will make sure your football party is the year’s most anticipated event.
It’s the beginning of a new year and to a lot of people that means New Year’s resolutions, going back to the gym, and getting ready for football playoffs.
I have been hosting super bowl parties for too many years to count…and they have gained a reputation as THE super bowl party to attend among my friends.
Now with college football playoffs, there are even more opportunities for hosting football parties (especially since Clemson has been doing so well in the last couple of years…go Tigers!)
With all of this experience, I have learned a few things about what it takes to throw an unforgettable football party. So I thought I would share some of my easy decorating ideas, tips for getting everyone involved (even the people who don’t really like football!), and go-to menu items that have helped to make my parties a success.
1. Set Up Your Room Like A Sports Bar
Since the cooking part of a Super Bowl party takes quite a bit of time, I limit the decorations to things that are necessary (arranging TV’s & furniture for the best viewing angles) and things that don’t require much effort.
I move television sets from all over the house into the living room and set them up like a sports bar so that people can see the game from anywhere. (If you have a large screen TV that everyone can see, this step may not be necessary for you.)
Then I move out all large pieces of furniture that take up space and don’t provide a lot of seating. My favorite chaise always gets moved to the garage for game day.
Finally, I find every extra table and chair I own (including the patio furniture from outside) and move them into the living room.
This is one party where I’m not too concerned about what it looks like…I just want to seat as many people as possible in the space.
If you live in an area where the weather could be nice enough to sit outside, setting up a seating section and TV outdoors allows people to go outside if they want to. Some people prefer to watch the game away from the crowd (and in my house I can use all the space I can find!)
Unlike most of my other parties, I try to avoid hanging things from the ceiling or creating tall centerpieces for the tables. Both of these tend to block the view of the TV’s. Since most people do actually want to see the game, I like to have as few TV-watching obstructions as possible.
2. Make a DIY Football Field Rug
For some reason, football parties seem to have more spills than usual (probably because of the number of people). So I like to take my area rugs out of the living room for the party.
I replace them with an inexpensive football field rug that adds to the game day atmosphere (and protects my hardwood floors).
To Make The Football Rug
What You Need
How To Put It Together
1. Use the duct tape to tape together the 2 pieces of artificial turf across the 8′ end (so you end up with an 8′ x 12′ piece of “grass). This will form the center line.
2. First tape out the lines that extend the full width of the turf:
a. From the center line, measure 20″ out and make a mark on both sides of the rug.
b. Tape from one side of the rug to the other to join the 2 marks together. Make sure to match the center of the tape to the pencil marks so that the line is fairly straight.
c. Do the same thing on the other side of the center line.
d. Continue measuring out 20″ and taping the lines across the turf in both directions until you get to the end of the carpet.
6. Then create the short lines between the full-width lines:
a. Mark lines every 4″ between each set of two full-width lines, on both sides of the rug. There should be 4 marks between each set of full-width lines.
b. Cut 6″ pieces of tape and tape it onto the turf so that the end of the tape lines up with the side of the rug, and the tape is centered on the marks .
7. If you want a more finished look to the rug, you can tape around the edges of the whole rug. Fold the tape over the edge to prevent the edges from fraying.
3. Add Football Field Table Runners
I cut football field floor runners* into the right lengths to make table runners for all of the tables in the room.
It’s is a really inexpensive way to create a cohesive-looking football party theme.
4. Or Add A Bit Of Glam
Sometimes I get tired of all the green and decide to go for something a little different. As long as there’s food and beer available, the guys don’t mind. And it just makes the room look a little nicer.
These leopard print tablecloths were left over from my Alice In Wonderland party, so they didn’t cost my anything extra. I think the black and white goes pretty well with the green.
5. Make Penalty Flag Napkin Holders
Glue a “Penalty Flag” sign to the front of a galvanized tin pail and you have the perfect easy-to-access place to store napkins.
And they look great on the tables, too!
6. Dress Up Your Crock Pot
To make your crock pot seem like part of the décor, wrap it with football-themed napkins* and tape it at the sides.
I am always surprised at how many people think the crock pot actually comes this way!
7. Use Team Banners, Flags and Tableware
That way people can choose which side they’re supporting.
Although I have to admit, since you don’t know very far in advance who is playing in games like the Super Bowl, it can be hard to find the team gear in stock.
When that happens, I go with some generic “game day” banners and tableware.
I almost always use the Game Day plastic table covers* for my buffet area. They are easy to clean up afterwards and when you put them out over a bunch of different sized tables, they all look like they belong together.
8. Chill Beer In a Goal-Post Cooler
A beer cooler with a goal post and a small blow up football allow your athletically-inclined guests to participate in the game (just make sure it’s in a location that they can’t break anything when their throws miss the mark).
9. Keep Beer Cold In Referee Koozies
Use beer koozies to keep beer cold…and they come in referee shirts or team patterns if you want to keep the football theme going!
10. Provide Referee Punching Bags
I use a lot of props at my football parties to add the crowd participation factor.
This blow up referee punching bag has a weight in the bottom so it stands up on its own. You’ll be surprised how many times people will get up to hit one of them when the refs make a bad call!
11. Use Props That Represent the Teams That Are Playing
If the teams or players have rituals or songs, use them to celebrate touchdowns, and get everyone involved in the game.
When the Seahawks were playing in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, we threw out packages of Skittles when Marshawn Lynch (a big Skittles fan) scored a touchdown.
When the New Orleans Saints were in the Super Bowl we sang “When the Saints Come Marching Home” whenever they scored.
Of course if it’s a college football game you’re watching, pretty much everyone knows the routine for their own team.
12. Act Like a Referee – Penalty Flags and All
Wear a referee shirt and get yourself a whistle. Then use it to announce penalties, field goals and touchdowns as they happen during the game.
Get a penalty flag and a challenge flag, and throw them out into the middle of the guests whenever a penalty or challenge is called during the game.
If you go to live football games, some of the teams have announcers that involve the fans in their game calling, such as imitating the referee arm movements for first downs, touch downs and field goals. You can duplicate this fan involvement by acting as an announcer at your party (a mega phone helps) and getting your guests to do these arm motions as well.
13. Make Some Noise
Having noise makers such as cowbells, whistles or clappers available really lets people get involved in the game.
I usually put a couple out on every table.
Just make sure you’re ready for the noise…I stop short of getting an air horn to save everyone’s ear drums.
14. Serve Jello Shots In Team Colors
Most of the time, my football guests are drinking beer. (I don’t go out of my way to make special cocktails for this crowd.)
However, the one thing that does go over well is jello shots.
I always make them in the colors of the teams that are playing, and serve them in jello shot cups with small plastic spoons. There are never any left at the end of the day.
15. Create a Game Day Nacho Bar
A Nacho bar allows people to put together their own nachos.
Provide a bowl of tortilla chips along with crockpot Cheese sauce, sauteed ground beef, home-made salsa, tomatoes, jalapenos, guacamole, olives, sour cream and any other ingredients you like to add to nachos.
People actually like to put their own plate together since they get exactly what they want. And it’s a time-saver for you since you don’t have to make them!
16. Add “Laces” To Deviled Eggs
Another way to add to your football party decor is to make your food look like footballs.
All kinds of food can be made to look like a football if you’re so inclined…add green onion “laces” to the top of deviled eggs, cover strawberries in chocolate and add icing laces, cut pita bread into the shape of footballs and serve with dip…pretty much anything that is somewhat oval-shaped can be made into edible football decor.
17. Make Football Brownie Cookies
Speaking of football shaped food… These “footballs” are actually made from brownie mix (yes, the kind that comes out of a box).
To Make Brownie Footballs:
1. Mix the brownies following the instructions on the box.
2. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on cookie sheets like you would to make cookies.
3. Bake following the instructions on the box. They may cook a little faster than what it calls for, so watch that you don’t burn them.
4. When they come out of the oven, pinch in opposite sides of the cookie so that they form ovals instead of circles.
5. Once they have cooled, add laces with white icing*…the kind that comes pre-made in a tube is very easy to use for making these kinds of designs.
Brownies always seem to go over with the football crowd. Easy to eat and chocolate!
18. Make Great Football Party Food
Last, but not least, you definitely need some great food!
Football parties call for food that goes with beer (and jello shots). Since people are not usually sitting down to dinner for this kind of a party, crock pot recipes and finger foods work best.
Here are a few of my go-to football party recipes.
This oven baked “fried” chicken always goes over well with the football crowd. Even the people who swear they only eat real fried chicken love this recipe!
I make drumsticks since they are easy to pick up and eat.
If you ask me, a football party is not a football party without some ribs. Cutting them into individual rib portions makes them into great finger foods.
When I’m hosting a football party, I try to make as much food as possible in crockpots. Since crockpot recipes can be made in advance, they definitely help to reduce the stress at party time.
These crockpot meatballs taste great and are easy to serve with toothpicks…another great finger food.
If you want to go all out (which you know I do!), use these game day toothpicks to serve the meatballs.
This crockpot macaroni and cheese recipe is another one of my go-to football party foods. (I told you I do a lot of crockpot cooking for football parties!)
It doesn’t fall as easily into the “finger foods” category as some of the other recipes do, but I think I would have a mutiny if I didn’t serve it.
I think it is mandatory for every football party to have wings!
This sweet and sour wing recipe is literally the easiest one I have ever made. The wings always turn out great, and everyone loves them.
In my neck of the woods, they call this crockpot no-bean chili “hot dog chili”. That’s because it’s always served over hot dogs, and usually at football parties. Need I say more?
That’s it for my list of football party ideas. Hopefully you have found some ideas for your own college playoff or super bowl party.