The Ultimate Game Day Party Checklist
Updated: Aug 21
Are you planning a football party at your place? Keep reading for some of the best tips and tricks to make your party a success regardless of the game's outcome.
What Is a Viewing Party?
A viewing party involves watching a special event with your circle. The event could be a movie or show available through download or streaming, a TV episode, an awards ceremony or a sporting match. You can hold a viewing party in person at your home or virtually by using an app to connect with everyone.
Viewing parties are commonly held to celebrate the Super Bowl. Many longtime football fans make this an annual tradition to follow the holiday season. The host typically provides a large screen to watch the event on and serves finger foods and refreshments. If this description interests you in learning how to host a game day watch party, we have the perfect guide.
How to Prepare for a Game Day Watch Party
Preparing for a game day celebration is as simple as making arrangements for food and entertainment and giving your guests enough notice to arrive. Check out these tips for getting your home ready for the big event:
1. Decide Who You're Inviting
Game day parties can quickly become emotionally charged. It's best to invite a uniform group who supports the same team or a well-rounded crowd that can maturely agree to disagree while showing minimal pretension. The best watch party group is one you know closely so you'll trust that they can get along.
2. Give Your Guests Advance Notice
Invite people to your watch party around two weeks in advance. The earlier you start talking about the party, the better your chances of gaining a decent attendance are. Your family, friends and co-workers might love to come to a Super Bowl hangout at a moment's notice, but they might also have child care requirements, college assignments, errands, volunteer work or other obligations.
If you're planning to make or order food for the occasion — which you certainly should — this is also the stage to ask your group if anyone has dietary restrictions. For example, your lactose-intolerant friend might feel uncomfortable eating pizza for dinner while out.
3. Arrange a Start Time
Setting an arrival time for your guests will help you stay organized and get everything ready in time. While you focus on preparing the food, your guests can get settled before the game starts. Aim to greet guests at the door about 30 minutes before game time. This will give you long enough to chat with your group as everyone gets their refreshments and finds places to sit.
4. Provide Enough Space for Everyone
Depending on how many people you invite, you might need to break some portable chairs out of storage. Make sure the TV is within a comfortable distance for everyone. It helps if you have a large couch and a widescreen TV.
If you have limited room inside your home, try to keep your guest list short. Think about the parking situation outside as well. Should you ask guests to carpool or get rides to make sure there's enough parking space?
5. Decorate for the Occasion
Does your group have a favorite team or set of players? Hang a banner and decorate the room using themed pillows, blankets, napkins, drink cups and plates with the team's colors or logo. Asking guests to bring foam fingers and jerseys is another fun way to show your support for the team. If you're lucky enough to have your own themed gaming chairs or other furniture with the team's logo, bring it out to establish an atmosphere.
If you want to get really creative, make your own poster board signs, which kids can help decorate. You can also use festive string lights left over from earlier in the year to spell out the team's name in your front yard for when guests arrive at and leave the party.
6. Set up Ambient Music
A good place to set your radio is outdoors on your patio or in your garage. This way, your guests can focus on the game, but they can also step outside to a relaxing atmosphere during halftime or when they want to go out for smoke breaks during commercials. However or wherever you set up the mood music, just make sure the game is the main focus of the night.
7. Stock up on a Variety of Drinks
Buy drinks that you know certain friends would prefer, and get a little bit of everything for good measure. For a healthy variety:
Get sodas and bottled water for your friends who prefer to stay away from alcohol.
Serve sweet tea from a pitcher or large container, and leave it out in the kitchen for refills when needed.
For your friends who do drink, beer is a great choice for a game night — stock up on six-packs of all the best brands.
Fill a cooler or two with samples of your beverages so that your guests can stay in the game room when they need a refill.
8. Plan to Order or Make the Food
Expect your guests to get hungry, and decide on the best plan to serve food without too many distractions from the gameplay. It might be easier to order food before the halftime show so you can eat when the game is on hold. Here are some ways you can prepare to have food ready:
Order delivery: Order tacos, pizza and fried chicken — fan favorites on Super Bowl days that often feed many people for a bargain. Store the food in the fridge to be heated up later. If you send someone to pick up the food during halftime, it could take a while to fight the crowd and return with a large order.
Make your own: Bake your own pizzas, mini ham and turkey sandwiches and chicken wings, and serve the hot food during the halftime show. Making the food yourself makes the timing easier to control.
Turn up the grill: If you think you'll be really hungry, grill up some burgers and hot dogs to set aside for when your guests are ready to eat.
9. Prepare the Snacks and Beverages
You can buy trays of game-day-themed appetizers in many grocery stores, but making your own custom tray of finger foods to share with friends at the start of the game is more fun. Ensure you have options for your friends with special diets, such as vegetarian or gluten-free foods. For the perfect game day feast:
Create a customized appetizer tray: Gather a collection of your friends' favorite chips and popcorn. Divide each flavor onto a large serving tray with sliced cheeses, crackers, dips and salsa.
Have a cooler ready: To lower your risk of spills, set up a small area just for the beverages or a cooler to chill your cans and bottles in.
Set up the trash can: Bring a large trash bin into the kitchen or room where you'll be watching the game. This makes cleanup much easier, and guests know where they can throw away their plates as soon as they enter your home.
Once you have your game day buffet ready, spread all the food out so your guests can easily reach refills while watching the game. It's best to place a tray of finger foods directly in front of the TV, with food that has to be re-heated left in the kitchen.
10. Have Some Watch Party Games Available
Watch party games are always a welcome way to pass the time during commercials. To keep your guests entertained:
Try Bingo: Get some Football Bingo cards. These are a great way to get young viewers interested in the game too.
Match the mascots: Play the NFL Mascot Matching Game. You play this by matching the mascot with the correct team.
Play pool: Set up a pool table so you can pass the open time by shooting a few rounds. A pool table also makes a great serving area for football-themed foods.
11. Stock up on Home Supplies
At any party with a large crowd, it's wise to make sure there are enough home supplies to go around. Stock up on extra:
How to Host a Game Day Watch Party
You have all the preparations in place, your game room looks ready for action and it's time to host your Super Bowl party. How do you host a sports watch party the right way? Just make sure your TV works, and the rest is up to you.
Here's a game day hosting checklist to help get you started:
1. Greet the Guests
Direct your game day VIPs to the food, drinks and best available seating options as they arrive. Someone will inevitably ask where the restroom is later, so once nearly everyone is there, it's a good idea to tell them where to find it in advance.
2. Bring Out the Snacks
One of the most popular aspects of game day watch party hosting is that you get to provide the food. Keep the area around your TV or viewing station as clean as possible by spreading out the appetizers and making space for plates and drinks. If your guests have to hold their plates in their laps and get up to look for a garbage can when they're finished, it's only a matter of time before someone drops their food.
You can keep most of the food in the kitchen if you need more room. A good rule of thumb while hosting a party is to keep any food that requires re-heating in the kitchen since your guests might need to visit the microwave anyway.
3. Provide Entertainment During Breaks
Your guests probably don't have a ton of expectations other than being able to watch the game with a cool group of fans. Some of the best parties are spontaneous and random, after all. Having extra things to do is always a plus, though, and this is especially the case if kids attend your game day party.
It can help to set up optional things to do along with hanging out at your viewing station. Some of your friends might want to take a break from watching the game. A nearby foosball table makes for some fitting additional entertainment to any game day party.
4. Serve Your Guests a Halftime Meal
The start of halftime is the best possible moment to serve dinner unless you get together for dinner before the game begins. To keep the mess away from the TV, make space in the kitchen to serve a buffet around your table.
5. Clean up After Everyone Leaves
After all your guests leave for the night, you might feel like going to bed immediately, but it's best to spend at least 30 minutes throwing out the garbage and getting a load of dishes into the wash. The next morning will go easier if most of the remaining food is either in the refrigerator or out of your home. That way, you can sleep in without waking up to a leftover stench.
Super Bowl Party Checklist
Here's a brief recap of everything you need to do in preparation for your game day party:
Make a guest list and start inviting people who might be interested.
Set a time to start the party, and ask guests to arrive by then.
Get seating arrangements ready and make sure you have enough space.
Decorate your lobby or meeting area with team goods.
Prepare the finger foods and set them aside to give out to your guests before kickoff.
Get the seating area ready, and remember to bring in a trash can for easy access.
Fill a cooler with assorted beverages and leave it within reach of the couch.
Make arrangements for dinner, whether you plan to cook or order food.
Double-check your supplies, especially those used for handling food and cleaning up later.
Items you should stock up on include:
Home supplies: Having extra toilet paper, paper towels and trash bags is better than running out while your guests are over.
Cleaning supplies: Deodorizers, bleach spray and wet wipes will make cleaning up easier.
Disposable kitchen supplies: Paper plates, napkins and plastic dining utensils are essential for a party and help reduce the amount of dishes you have to wash later.
Serving supplies: Invest in at least one serving platter or tray, coolers for the drinks, packed ice, plenty of tongs and a crock pot to keep the main course warm, if needed.
Beverages: Get soda, water, tea, beer and anything else your group would enjoy.
Snack foods: Depending on your guests' tastes, you might want to prepare healthy foods like a fruit and vegetable tray as well as sweet and savory snacks like popcorn, chips, cookies and cupcakes.
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