How to Throw a Heluva Good Party for the Big Game
How to Throw a Heluva Good Party for the Big Game, Hungry Fan® Style
It's hard to believe the Big Game is only two weeks away! It seems like just yesterday we were watching the New England Patriots' epic come-from-behind-win over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, Texas. What. A. Game.
This year, the biggest football game of the year heads to Minneapolis, Minnesota, home of the Vikings and the new U.S. Bank Stadium. For those of you fortunate enough to be heading to the game, or tailgating at the game, be sure to bundle up! (Check out our tips for cold weather tailgating. Also applies well to hanging out in Minneapolis!)
If you're not heading to the game, chances are pretty good you're either going to someone's Big Game Party or hosting your own.
👉 Fun fact: for 2016's 50th anniversary game, 43.3 million Americans threw a watch party at home. 70 million Americans attended one of these parties.
Everyone who hosts a watch party for the Big Game wants to host the best party. And we don't blame you! You want to throw the kind of party that people will be talking about for months to come. You want to throw the kind of party that when the Big Game rolls around again next year, your friends will be hitting you up to host again, it was that good. That means great good, great drinks, great atmosphere (and decor), enough seating for everyone, maybe some game-within-the-game-friendly-competition, etc. Ideally, this is all achieved without spending a small fortune.
Here are some easy tips to consider before you kick off your Biggest Game of the Year festivities:
1. Work ahead:
One of the most important party-throwing tips is not to get stuck in the kitchen. There’s nothing worse than having all your friends and family in the other room enjoying the game and the party atmosphere while you're stuck in the kitchen, missing the game. The key to serving great watch party food is to make as much of it in advance as you can. Hot or cold, make it the day before and keep all the food refrigerated until it's time to either reheat or set your food out.
💡 Pro Tip: If you're going to serve hot food, have it already cooked and warming as your guests arrive. Once Pink and Leslie Odom, Jr. sing the National Anthem and "America the Beautiful", respectively, and once the coin has been tossed and we're a few minutes away from kickoff, that's a good time to set out any hot food. Room temperature food and food that's been chilled is good to be set out as people start to come in. If you plan to serve more hot food during the second half, use the commercial time during halftime (if you want to watch Justin Timberlake, because who wouldn't), to heat everything up.
2. Split the cost:
Throwing a Big Game party can be really expensive, especially if you're also providing the beer and adult beverages. Encourage your friends to split the cost by using apps like Venmo or Paypal. Setting up an account on both platforms is a piece of cake. Both usually charge a small fee for using a credit card, but using a bank account carries no additional fees!
💡 Pro Tip: Since beer and alcohol tend to be much more expensive than food ingredients, consider throwing a BYOB watch party, especially if you're on the fence about asking your guests to split the cost with you.
3. Vary your food offerings:
More and more, in today's age, people seem to have very specific food restrictions and allergies. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, tree nut allergy, organic only, pescatarian, no refined sugars, etc. While it is quite difficult to host a Big Game watch party that's sensitive to everyone's dietary needs without serving 12 different dishes, try to offer at least a couple dishes for the gluten-free folks and vegans/vegetarians.
Pro Tip: If you're serving chips and salsa, opt for 100% corn tortilla chips. They are gluten-free. If you're doing tacos, opt for corn tortillas for the same reason and offer an all-veggie tortilla topper (like sautéed mushrooms and shaved Brussels sprouts) in additional to a meat/poultry. Crudité, AKA cut up veggies, are FANTASTIC for feeding everyone, especially those still committed to their 2018 New Years resolutions to get and eat healthy. (Pair those veggies with some dip and we are so all over that)!
📌 Be sure to keep reading below for some of our FAVORITE ready-made dips!📌
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4. Get crafty:
Set out a bunch of koozies (insulated sleeves to keep cans cold) and Sharpies, and encourage people to decorate their own. One, it’s fun. And two, the more your friends drink, the easier it is for them to forget which beer is theirs. Personalized koozies are fun and clearly, they solve problems. 'Nuf said.
💡 Pro Tip: This set of koozies is available on Amazon with prime shipping and comes in just about any variety of color you can think of. It's also $5.95 for 12. Can't beat that!
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5. Play games
Everybody likes a football pool/bracket. It’s fun to game-ify the game. There are forms online you can blow up (just Google “football pool sheets”) or use a whiteboard and make one yourself. You can choose to run it with real money or just for bragging rights. Either way, people tend to get really into it and it makes an already competitive game even more competitive and fun!
💡 Pro Tip: You can use this site to generate custom brackets and templates; and here is another site that explains how you operate a pool as well as how to play other games, such as their "Prop Pool," which is one of our favorites.
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6. Remember the kids:
If you have kids coming to your party, make a dish and beverage that is easily approachable for them. For example, you could make a fruit-ade. Take watermelon, honeydew, strawberries or any other fruit and throw it into the blender or food processor. Purée the fruit, and add in a little basil, honey or maple, an then add in ice to make a slushie fruit-ade. The kids will have something fun and healthier than soda to drink. And grownups can add vodka, gin, or whatever kind of booze they want to it. (Just be sure, when adding the adult drinks into the blender not to accidentally forget and add to it or use what's left in the bottom for the kids! Give it a rinse and start again if making a new batch for the kiddos).
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👉 Fun fact: When it came to buying food for their 43.3 million Big Game parties in 2016, Americans showed their love their munchies.
🔸 $142.2M in potato chips
🔸 $93M in crackers
🔸 $20.1M in tortilla chips
🔸 $5.1M in vegetable trays
🔸 $4.9M in tater tots
🍗 1.3 billion chicken wings
America's favorites. You've gotta have 'em at your Big Game Party!
So we teamed up with Heluva Good, our new favorite brand of ready-made dips, to bring you the easiest, most delicious game day spread, that hits all the bases and is sure to please your guests.
Above: We set out America's favorites. You've got a spread of veggies, potato chips, crackers (we like cheesy ones), tortilla chips (we LOVE blue corn), tater tots (YUM!) and chicken wings, which we cooked up in our air fryer. We then set out four delicious flavors of Heluva Good!. We included French Onion, Bacon Horseradish (OMG 🤤), Buttermilk Ranch and Jalapeño Cheddar (mmm!).
All America's favorite game day eats are delicious when enjoyed with (and dunked into) any of these dips. That said, if you're a Buffalo Wings purist, we suggest pairing your wings with the Buttermilk Ranch flavor. Its texture is so much better than a store-bought bottle of ranch dressing. (The creaminess also helps combat the mouth burn from the spiciness).
Heluva Good! dips can be found in the dairy aisle of your local supermarket.