Host a super party: game-day ideas and recipes

Game-day party ideas and recipes

Throwing a party that revolves around a television can challenge the most resilient hostess. How to serve food so that plates don’t tip off people’s knees? Where to seat fans so that they can see the screen—and still carry on a conversation? And what about guests who aren’t interested in the game? Don’t even ask about how to make it all look good. Well, you can go ahead and invite the neighbors to watch the Super Bowl, Oscar night or the season premiere of your favorite miniseries, because we’ve got answers for every one of those dilemmas (as well as mouthwatering recipes). Just use our party-planning guide for the easiest (and prettiest) TV party ever, and then get your game face on. We’re ready to watch football—or not!

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No muss, no fuss  

Setting up a central food station will help reduce game-time interference, also known as foot traffic, in front of the TV. Arrange snacks and treats in easy-to-clean trays and bowls for a crowd-pleasing buffet table. And for a stain-proof (yet party-worthy!) table covering, try oilcloth. It’s available in brilliant colors and fun patterns and is a cinch to wipe clean at the end of the evening.
Tip: Line your serving trays with parchment paper for easy cleanup; toss the paper away at the end of the festivities and you’re almost done.

Positively portable  

Use inexpensive, old-fashioned fast-food baskets for fewer spills—they hold food better than paper plates and are easy to balance on laps. Stow sodas and beers in ice-filled galvanized buckets for easy kitchen-to-TV hauling (slip a simple circle of felt under the bucket to protect the furniture and floor from drips). And try filling each layer of your forgotten bamboo steamer with goodies; then stack and carry it from room to room.

Party proofed  

Serve food on bamboo trays and melamine and forget about broken dishes. A lightweight plastic that’s available in a variety of colors, patterns and sizes, melamine is tough enough to survive instant replays performed by pets, children and grown men. And don’t be afraid to go bright: combine cheerful greens, sky blues and eye-catching orange for a bold backdrop to the party.

Seating solutions  

Make the floor as comfy as the couch by stocking up on oversized floor pillows or simply tossing down the largest pillows you already have around the house. Pillows thrown onto the floor instantly increase the available seating space and create a perfect place for rowdy kids (and parents) to congregate. Score extra points with a few of these easy sports-jersey pillows in team colors.

Game-day menu  

Get the home-field advantage with a make-ahead menu that lets you enjoy your guests and the game. These party-perfect, mouthwatering recipes are sure to elicit cheers from your guests (and you).

Buffalo pork meatballs with blue-cheese sauce

Buffalo pork meatballs with blue-cheese sauce

This appetizer recipe serves a crowd, so it’s a great choice for your game-day gathering. Made with ground pork, minced celery and cayenne pepper, these spicy meatballs feature the fan-favorite flavors of buffalo chicken wings without all the mess.

Cheese puffs

These poppable cheese puff pastries will disappear fast, so you might want to make two batches! You can make these easy cheddar Cheese Puffs up to 1 week ahead and freeze them until party (or game) time.

Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe with Chipotle Sauce

Baked chicken nuggets with chipotle sauce

Looking for an easy, crowd-pleasing recipe? Grown-ups and kids alike will love these deliciously dippable chicken nuggets. Score!

Thai Salad Spring Roll Recipe with Peanut Sauce

Thai salad spring rolls with peanut sauce

These easy spring rolls offer a tasty twist on traditional game-day appetizers. Stuffed with fresh herbs and vegetables, they pack a satisfying crunch your guests will love.

Score more football party fun!  

We’re going into overtime with more game-day goodies! Make it a football foodfest with these fan-favorite recipes (free pun-tastic printables included) and show your team spirit with our easy-to-make football crafts and party favors.