No matter where you are in the sports fandom spectrum, you can throw a party that you and others will love.
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Let’s be honest, you don’t care about football very much (or at least, you didn't until Taylor got in on the action). You’re really more about the ambiance. To you, football is just another indicator of fall, but there’s no reason you can’t join in on the party fun! Here are some tips that will help you pull it off like a pro.
Crash Course on the Basics
To start, it helps to learn the basics of the game. You’re not applying to become a referee, and you don’t need to know the name of every position, but you can learn some simple terminology (no, it’s not called a home run), point systems, and basic functions of the game. This way, you can follow along with the events of the game. Plus, it helps if you know when to cheer and when not to. That way if your beau’s quarterback throws an interception, you won’t accidentally cheer and have to hide in the bathroom for the rest of the night.
This cute infographic video will teach you all you need to know to secure a solid spot on the couch, or at least in the living room.
Create Some Team Spirit
So, your best friend’s boyfriend is a die-hard fan and owns every New York Jets jersey known to man, but some of your other attendees are more in the novice-zone like you and probably not gearheads. No worries. Add some team-spirit rivalry by having a “Whatever You Have” costume contest. Rules of the contest: look through your closet and wear whatever you have in the team colors. Rooting for the Minnesota Vikings? Wear that purple feather boa hiding in your closet with your yellow rain boots. Make it as silly and wild as you’d like, and see the crazy combos your friends come up with too.
What if your friends don’t have any interesting accessories? Hit the thrift store and grab the top hat, Halloween costume, tablecloth, whatever you want, and throw it together into a memorable team outfit. Sure, it’s technically not something you already had, but we won’t tell if you don’t.
Put Away the Pâté
This isn’t the time to try out that viral TikTok recipe with the pine nuts and feta. You’re going for fall football ambiance, and the culture demands bar food. Pizza, nachos, chips and dip, wings of every kind and flavor. If you want to throw a football themed party, go with the classics. As they say over at Thrillist: “No wings at a football party is like no cake at a birthday.” Check out this Hot Honey Wings recipe.
You're not only a supporter but a connector in the football fan world. You're loyal, not only to your team, but to your friends and family, so naturally, you use this season to merge them all together. You don’t understand every play call or penalty, but you know the basics well enough to cheer along with the best of them.
Accommodate Your Group
Since you like to bring family and friends together, your parties are never the same when it comes to attendees. Last week it was you, your hubby, and your best friends. This week, your neighbors and Grandma are planning to join as well.
While this might not be your first rodeo, there are some ways you can elevate your party-throwing game. First, analyze your invitees: Do they all know each other? Are there mostly singles or couples? Are there any children that will be coming? If they are teens, they will probably be occupied on their phones, but if they’re younger, you may want to set up a play area or activity to keep them occupied. Check out this inflatable (and affordable) football toss from Franklin Sports Kids for only $21.
Some other things to consider are questions like what is the fandom ratio? Is it well balanced or are there outliers? If you have a friend who is the only one cheering for the opposing team, maybe suggest they bring another friend or two to help cheer their team on.
Play with Your Food
Impress the fam with some cutesy football themed food.
And don’t forget the family favorites like crockpot meatballs or Aunt Jenny’s ham and pickle roll-ups. The idea is to create a nostalgic, communal, family atmosphere for your party.
Decorate Like a Pro
Just about everywhere you look this fall, you’ll be able to find some football party decor, but keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Certain items will give you the most bang for your buck. For example, the staple of football parties: the green table cover. It gives the instant nostalgic feel of fall football, and it’s easy to clean up. Check out this one ($8) from Party City. Plus, it’s fitted!
And check out these adorable, reusable serving bowls ($5) for your favorite chips:
Add a pennant banner ($10) above your serving area, and you’ve got the ambiance factor basics. Everything else from there is just a bonus.
You go toe to toe with the boys, at least when it comes to knowledge about all things football. Discussing stats, no problem. You live on your ESPN app. Fantasy Football tracking is your favorite pastime. You know that defense wins championships and when to tank for the first pick of the draft. A football party to you, is not only fun, but serious business.
Have a Pre-Game Cook-Off
Because you don’t want to miss a minute of the action, start your party early with a pre-game cook-off. That way, you can mingle, play games, and catch up without it distracting from the game. Here are some of our best tailgating tips:
Make These Jalapeno Poppers on Your Grill
Utilize Your Cooler Space
This Condiment Caddy Idea Is Brilliant!
Come Prepared for Sports Talk
One of the best parts of watching the game with your buddies is being able to talk sports with other fanatics. You know what’s been going on with your team because you’ve been keeping up with the sports drama. Take some of the hot topics of the week and create some lively discussion (just make sure you know when to pull the plug). Make predictions about the game: who is going to win, what will the score be, how many catches will that star wide-receiver have? You could even prepare some team trivia questions to ask with gift card rewards.
Create Congregation Areas for the Socialites
When that game starts, the last thing you want is to catch up on who Kara’s ex-boyfriend is seeing or who Mom spotted at the grocery store last Tuesday. You are invested in the battle playing out on the field. To avoid an unfortunate tug of war for your attention, prepare some strategically placed socializing spots where those wanting to chat can chill, snack, and congregate without distracting the other die-hards like you.
Make sure you plan well for different types of fans and be thoughtful of what is needed to make the experience enjoyable for everyone there. A little decorating goes a long way, but never skimp on the food or the spirit.
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