Sporting events like the Super Bowl are ripe for entertaining, offering a day full of opportunities for friends to bond for several hours over a common interest—and lots of food. A little creativity and some family teamwork can make this event memorable and fun—and, most importantly, affordable.
Because so many bars and restaurants stick customers with serious food and drink mark-ups on big-game days, Jaime Geffen, a mother and co-owner of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based event planning business YourBASH!, says the cheapest option is to have a Super Bowl party at home. This way, there's also less outside noise.
“If you really want to listen and watch the game, you can control the volume in your own house,” she says. “Plus, if you have kids, there are plenty of things they can do at home while you watch the game.”
Mary Sushinski, a mother and an event planner and owner of Occasions in Burbank, Calif., suggests that families use everyday arts-and-crafts tools to decorate for game day.
She says kids can use a chalkboard or magnets to write out the menu, then "divide the room into two teams and color-coordinate each side” with construction paper and drawings of team logos.
Sushinski says that it’s important to plan activities for kids so they won’t disrupt those who want to watch the game.
“Have premade football-shaped cookies that the kids can decorate,” she says. “Take streamers and have the kids make mini pom-poms. Or you can have a scavenger hunt with football-shaped chocolates or keychains.”
She also suggests letting kids use the first part of the game to prepare their own halftime show or to create their own commercials to act out in the living room.
To save time and money, Geffen says to make the party a potluck. This also ensures that picky eaters and those prone to allergies have something they can eat.
Serve the food in phases so items stay fresh—and so the eats are spaced throughout the game.
“In the first and second quarters, serve your appetizers and snack foods,” says Geffen. “At halftime, get the main courses ready and serve them through the third quarter. That means fourth quarter is dessert."
Sushinski says to keep the drinks at a counter and let the kids act out a concession stand and fill people's orders. They can use sparkling water, teas and juices to mix their own specialty concoctions—and maybe even think of names for them based on team mascots, colors or cities.
Not only is this a fun game for the kids, it’s also economical and environmentally sound, because it encourages people to finish their drinks before opening a new container.