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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Super Bowl gear and decor. (Credit: Party City)

Game-day desserts. (Credit: www.delish.com)

A photo booth is a great activity for those who need a break from the game. (Credit: party city)

Well folks, Super Bowl weekend is here. Everywhere you turn, from ShopRite to Chuck E. Cheese, you can find people in their football finest. At the end of the day, however, kickoff and the food is the center of conversation. Rena Soclof, a Bergen County-based event planner, offers some tips for Super Bowl fans. “Super Bowl Sunday is almost a national holiday,” Soclof pointed out. “Planning menus and parties has been going on for weeks now, as well as where you are watching and with whom. If you’ve got your plans that’s great! If not, use these helpful tips and your game day will be awesome! “

Try a Potluck

Many people hesitate to entertain because of the amount of work a party entails. Instead of hosting a Super Bowl Party, try hosting a Super Bowl potluck. Use clear wording on the invitation or in verbal communication so guests know to pitch in. Don’t forget to plan for non-food items, too. Have someone in charge of paper goods and someone else bring drinks.

Also, while you as the host may have a vision of the menu, if you want it to be a true potluck where guests feel like an equal participant, try to save the big planning for a conference call or even a Super Bowl WhatsApp group.

The reverse holds true for guests as well. If you are invited to a Super Bowl party, don’t forget to offer to pitch in, whether it’s a potluck or not. It’s usually helpful to the host if everyone shares the responsibility. If it is a potluck, be sensitive to the limitations of the host. They may try to guide the menu in certain directions due to either personal preferences or physical limitations within their kitchen or entertainment space. Keep in mind that even in a potluck, they are still hosting, so listen to their requests.

Mix Home Food With Some Takeout or Catered Items

With many local establishments offering fully catered Super Bowl menus, you can actually take the day off from a food prep angle and just enjoy the game. But if the price is too steep or the menu just isn’t your cup of tea, think about mixing a few key items with a mostly home prepared menu to ease some of the burden. “Takeout should be your friend on a day like Super Bowl Sunday,” said Soclof. There is a very successful industry built around takeout on game day and there is a reason for that! So embrace it and let your favorite restaurant do the work for you.”

Not a big fan of meat foods? To some this may seem sacrilegious, but there are still plenty of fun foods for a dairy-loving crowd. Cheese nachos sound pretty classically Super Bowl, with lots of dips with a variety of chips, and if you want it to look like a meat party, veggie burgers and fake meat pigs in a blanket are winners. Pizza is also a universal food for celebrations, so if all else fails, pizza for the Super Bowl is a surefire winner as a dairy menu item.

Go Online for Ideas

Yes, many of us have stories that can fill the hashtag #PinterestFail of projects we found online that do not look anything like what we saw on the craft-filled website, but it is still a great place to go for brainstorming and ideas. Whether you’re looking for cute dessert ideas, centerpieces or decorations, creative internet users and friends have often already thought of—and posted—their inspiration.

Be Creative With Decor

While most Super Bowl Parties understandably have an overt football theme, don’t limit yourself to just grassy green and brown. Are you just watching for the commercials? Try to incorporate some of those brands into your setup. Serve Pepsi, Israeli Doritos if you can get your hands on them or anything resembling some of the more well-known ads of the day.

Whose house is it? If the answer is “Rams House,” then blue and gold can mark the color scheme. Impartial to which team wins, you just want to watch the game? The official Super Bowl LIII colors of silver, blue and white make a perfect backdrop to the party.

Of course, Soclof reminded readers, “If football is your theme, then go for it! After all, it is the ultimate football game. Jerseys or t-shirts of your favorite team, even if they are not in the game, are always fun attire for game day.”

Activities

The Super Bowl can be a long and intense time for those who aren’t die-hard fans, so be sure to have some side activities planned to keep guests from relying on their phones alone for entertainment.

A photo booth is always a fun way to break up the time, and you can make some of your own key phrases for the game, find football-themed cutouts or use generic props. For a backdrop use something in team colors, a football green or even an extra football plastic tablecloth from a dollar store.

Football Bingo is another game that can be made in advance or even on the spot. Give out blank bingo boards and a list of items for everyone to look for during the game. Hyundai commercial, Rams do a touchdown dance, Patriots call a timeout and other ideas can all go into the list of choices for Football Bingo. Remember to have more words to choose from than boxes on the Bingo board. Let everyone fill out their cards in whatever order they wish and wait for their chosen Bingo word to appear.

Keep Clean-Up in Mind

Even when a party is a potluck, the bulk of the prep and eventually the clean-up still falls on the host. With that in mind, always offer to clean up at the end of the party, and see if the host prefers to clean up as things move along so that there isn’t a big job at the end of the game when people may be too excited or too disappointed to want to linger and clean. When planning, make easy clean-up a part of the mindset as well with cut-up foods (even veggies) and disposable serving pieces.

At the end of the day, remember to check rivalries at the door and enjoy spending time with good friends while enjoying good food.

By Jenny Gans