Monday, January 18, 2016

Beginners Guide to a Superbowl Party

January playoffs are well under way and I felt like there was no better time to create this post than a few weeks before the 50th annual Superbowl on February 7th, 2016. The first Superbowl party that I hosted was in 2014 when our Seattle Seahawks played against the Denver Broncos which happened to be my brother-in-law's team as well. And since both brothers had their teams going against each other, I decided it was a good enough reason to throw a party.

It was my first time hosting a sports themed party, and I wanted to go all out so I searched over Pinterest and found several cute ideas and come up with this as our final party layout:

Our dessert table was a themed football field with goal posts out of PVC pipe spray painted yellow. I purchased a strip of grass carpet for less than $20 at Home Depot and used white electrical tape to create the yard lines. I wrapped the side of the table with several $1 green plastic table clothes using the tutorial I found HERE on the My Crazy Blessed Life blog. I made 3 - 3 tiered DIY cupcake stands to create the look of fans in the bleachers. Each stand was made of $1 foam board that you can find at DollarTree, and small disposable baking tins to create the tiered layers. I searched through Pinterest and found a free printable with the Seahawks and Broncos logos on them, printed them on cardstock, cut them out, and then taped them to some cute colored toothpicks I found at Zurchers. It was so cute and made it look like each cupcake was a cheering fan for a team in the bleachers.

If it's your first time hosting a Superbowl party, you'll soon find out that it is nearly impossible to find team themed decorations in your local party supply or sports stores. Mainly because the stores find out who will be in the Superbowl the same time that you do, so they order very little, and they run out very quickly. You can check online, but again, they sell out of paper plates, and themed items really really fast. So the best way I found to decorate for each team is to represent with cheap/free printables that you find on pinterest like THESE, and use their team colors to create a theme. I used blue as a staple during this Superbowl because both Seattle and Denver had this as a common color. So I used blue paper plates, blue sprinkles and icing, blue napkin rings, and even a blue tablecloth to create the middle space and blend the two team colors on my backdrop. 

Another tip for decorating is to go cheap & disposable because it  makes for an easy clean up and it's not too heavy on your wallet...but also because you won't want to store any of the team themed decor. The chances that these teams go back to the Superbowl again the following year can be slim... unless you're a Seahawks fan, that is ;)

So for my backdrop I cut several $1 rectangular tableclothes from Walmart in each of the teams colors, then taped the top to the wall. Then I covered the top of each tablecloth with a half of a tissue paper pom pom and used painters tape to secure it to the wall. It added this cute pop of color and really help to represent each team.

If you don't already know how to make these cute tissue paper pom poms, don't panic, they are SO EASY! HERE is a tutorial I found that helps describe how to make a pom pom to lay flat. I've used these flat pom poms for decorating walls, and even table centerpieces...they are so cute, so cheap and ridiculously easy to make. 

I found these darling DIY popcorn boxes on the One Charming Party blog and used photoshop to change them to the colors of each team and filled them with marshmallow popcorn that was a huge hit!

I filled the table with colored jello fruit cups, football shaped brownies, colored plates along with a few utensils wrapped in colored napkins with matching napkin rings, and WAY too many cupcakes. The rest of the food I placed on an extra table that I didn't have time to decorate because I wanted to try out several new recipes for the big game.

I wish I had a better picture describe this next tip, but this was the best I could find. Our living room and kitchen is a combined open area, so to create a full Superbowl viewing experience, we brought in a 2nd flat screen and placed it in the corner of the room at an angle so that no matter which couch you were sitting on, or where you were standing in the room, you had a great view of the game. So borrow a friends flat screen, pick up an HDMI spliter from Best Buy, and you're set! If your house has several different socializing rooms, put a TV in each of the rooms (including the kitchen) so that your guests won't miss one second of the game, or a single commercial.

Here is a great way to create additional seating for your guests... We had a 2 small 2x4 foot tables that had adjustable legs that were capable of making the table bar height. (Purchased at Costco!) We placed these tables at the back of the couch, and used bar stools to create a tiered seating arrangement. This created 4 extra seats in the prime TV viewing area, and also created a great space for them to enjoy their snacks and drinks.

Now on to the most important detail of your hosting responsibilities....THE FOOD. I've tried several different recipes and tried a couple of different presentation techniques, and I'm here to tell you what worked, and what didn't. Here is a close up look of my first food table in 2014...

Here is the first thing you need to keep in mind when planning your menu, your guests are going to be snacking on small bites for a long period of time. So even though they might initially make a large plate, they will want to keep coming back for extras to snack on throughout the entire game. So think single serving and finger foods. I wanted to make sure we had the essentials like chopped veggies, chips and dip, but I also wanted some touchdown amazing warm dishes that everyone would love. In this picture you can see we made individual cut Hawaiian pork quesadillas, spicy and mild shredded pork and rolls to make pulled pork sandwich sliders, individual taco cups, and the hit of the night were the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. And the following year, instead of pulled pork sliders, we made meatball and chicken marinara sliders.

Hindsight, the hot dishes are great and everyone loves them, but unless you have a way to keep them consistently warm for 4 hours, they get cold fast and then no one eats them. I found THIS recipe for the chicken marinara sliders and they looked delicious and easy to prepare, so I prepared a bunch and set them out, only for the remaining sliders that survived the first wave of hungry eaters, to go cold within 15 minutes and then no one ate what was left. So I recommend using crockpots or food warmers to keep your hot items at the perfect temperature for the entire game. Although preparing the sliders in advance for people was a good idea at first...having them sit on the bun for a few hours and soaking up the sauce may make them soggy and gross. So if you like the presentation of the first few sandwiches, make a small plate and set it by your crockpot and rolls as an example of how they're made. 

After only 2 short years of hosting a Superbowl party, I feel super comfortable giving you my top 5 TOUCH DOWN recipes that will impress your hungry guests.

#1 Bean Dip/Salsa Cups. These were so cute, and very eater friendly! This picture has a chip sticking into each cup as a cute extra touch, but I don't recommend it. After about 5 minutes of sitting in the dip, the chip gets soft and mushy and gross. Set a bowl of chips out with it, or buy some individual chip bags to go along with it. 

#2 Classic Veggie Tray and Dip. Remember that it's the season of new resolutions and there might be some people at your party who are trying to cut back on the junk. This is a good change of pace to the other heavy and sugary treat you may have at the table. To decorate up your veggie tray, use a bell pepper as your dip holder and place it in the middle of the tray. And if you want an easy dip, buy a Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet, and mix it with sour cream (or plain greek yogurt for an extra lean option) and you're done. Easy peasy. 

#3 Easy Crockpot Queso. We tried this recipe for the first time last year, and before half time, the dip was gone. It was so easy to make, and it was a fan favorite. You can also pick up disposable serving cups and set it next to your crock pot so each person can have their own little queso bowl so it doesn't take up a bunch of space on their plate, and pairs well with the chips and bean dip that you've already set out. 

#4 Marshmallow Sticky Popcorn. This is a personal favorite and a favorite of my sister-in-laws, and it is really easy to make in advance. You can even spice it up with colored sprinkles, and I served this in individual popcorn boxes in each of the team colors. These kind of grab and go snacks are great for someone who wants a quick treat, without having to miss any of the game. 

And I saved the best recipe for last! 
#5 BBQ Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers. I literally never make enough of these, and I can't make them fast enough, people love them so so much! They take a while to prepare, and about an hour to cook in the oven so here is what I recommend: Prepare the day before, and make sure you plan to cook at least 2 poppers per person. You have to first cut the jalapeno, rinse it out and let it dry. Then fill with cream cheese, and then wrap in bacon. It sounds easy but it takes a lot of prep time. It's absolutely worth the time you spend, but don't plan on making this the day of the game. Prep all of your poppers the day before, and keep them in refrigerator. On the day of the game, prepare one tray worth of poppers to be ready for kick off, and keep the others in the fridge. As soon as about half of your poppers are gone, put another round of poppers into the oven so that when the half time show rolls around, you will have fresh hot poppers to pass out. 

This is a great list of food items to start with, and if you have a big group, I would add a "main dish" such as sliders and maybe an extra dessert. As far as drinks go, make it simple. You will be spending so much time on food and decorations (not to mention the game) so just put a cooler next to your table and fill it with classic favorite flavors in bottles and cans. If you wanna spice it up, get some colored straws to match each team and set them out with the silverware. 

If  you want to see a better breakdown of any of the DIY decor or dishes, let me know in the comments below and I will make a tutorial with step by step instructions. Happy game day everybody, I hope you have a great party!


  1. Your parties are so amazing!!! LOVE!

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  3. Thank you for sharing the recipes and the frugal decorating tips. The fan cupcake ides is inexpensive and darling. The marshmallow popcorn and stuffed jalapeño bacon poppers look anazing. I am planning to hit Walmart and Dollar Tree with the inspiration you've given. Thanks so much! !