For most football games, a giant TV and some cheap beer will do. But this is the Super Bowl. It's time to step up your game, and we have the party ideas to help you do it.
Make your home-gating feel like tailgating
If you'll have fans of both teams over, divide the watching party room in two by decorating each side with the competing teams' colors. If everyone's in agreement about who the winner will be, decorations for one team are fine.
Extra armchair quarterbacks
If you're throwing a Super Bowl party, chances are, you'll need extra seating. No one wants to sit on the floor or on hard kitchen or folding chairs, so try buying a few canvas chairs in team colors. You can go generic (Home Decorators, $9), but we like these team logo chairs with a four-can cooler in one arm and a cup holder in the other (shown at right). They can also be used for outdoor tailgating. (NFLshop.com, $40)
Show your true colors
Don't forget the walls when you're decorating for game day. It can go a long way to setting the spirited mood. Try buying inexpensive (generic) football jerseys to hang on the wall with wall-mounting tape (so it won't damage your walls). Save the expensive official NFL-logo jerseys and apparel to wear on game day.
With all the extra seating, you'll likely need more places (other than the floor or their hands) for partiers to put their beer and plates while cheering or tweeting their disgust at the ref's last call. Coolers are usually used for outdoor parties, but they make a functional additional table (or two) while home-gating. You can store extra beer inside (no need to appoint a beer b**ch at this party — and if it's your house, you know it's going to be you!).
Coleman sells coolers in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can always get your team colors into the mix. You can buy them at places like Walmart and Target (sometimes even the convenient store) or online. (Coleman, prices vary)
If you already have a cooler that isn't in your team colors, there's no need to buy another. You can purchase NFL-logo cooler covers (shown above) for less money than you'd pay for a cooler in the size you need. (NFLshop.com, $25)
For a little extra football whimsy, cut little circles or squares out of astroturf or little football shapes out of brown cabinet liner mounted to football-shaped cardboard (for extra stability) to serve as coasters.
Prep the field
You'll likely be serving a lot of appetizers and beverages, so you'll need a designated table where you can serve it up. We recommend purchasing an inexpensive foldable table (or two, depending on your space) to set up near the action and covering it with Con-tact Chalkboard paper (Discount School Supply, $8)
Cover one side with astroturf and set up your goodies on that end of the table. Leave the other end open and lay out some chalk for your guests to draw out plays they'd like to see.
Serve with team pride
A great place to add extra team spirit to your party's decor is the dishes you serve with. You can buy anything from cheese trays to barware featuring NFL team logos. We like this convenient snack helmet as a centerpiece for chips and dips (shown right). (NFLshop.com, $55)
In addition to the dishes, you'll want team-colored plastic plates, cups, bowls (if serving chili), napkins and plasticware. You can always buy generic, but these items aren't expensive to buy with team logos, either. (Party City, prices vary)
For drink markers, set out a series of plastic whistles in various colors with small bits of twine looped through the eyelet for people to mark beer bottles and wine glasses (make sure the string is long enough to fit halfway down the bowl of the wine glass — it can always be doubled up for beer bottles). For guests not drinking alcohol, provide markers or crayons to write their name on the cup (you can buy silver or gold pens to write on darker colors).
To make it an extra special occasion, you can get your guests a special souvenir. Buy team logo or official Super Bowl XLIV bar glasses and fill them with candies wrapped with your team's colors. (NFLshop.com, $8)
More Super Bowl party ideas