Everything You Need to Pull Off the Perfect Last-Minute Game Day Party
Consider these essential for your next football viewing shindig.
When it comes to entertaining, there’s nothing quite like the tradition of the Great American Game Day Party. Gathering with friends alongside an excessive amount of finger food and plenty of adult refreshments, it can almost be easy to forget that there’s an actual game of football being played behind all the noise.
But if you’ve volunteered last-minute to host a big game day get together, there’s a good chance your party prep list is short a few key items that will be sorely missed. Don’t sweat it, though. We’ve come up with some of our favorite essentials—from party cups to portable projectors—so you can roll into kickoff without stress.
For game day-appropriate dipping
Stadium Chip & Dip Serving Set
You’ve gone out and picked up cases of your favorite beers, cleared out the grocery store’s ice supply, and optimized the picture and sound settings on your home theater system. So imagine going through all that and not taking the nation’s biggest unofficial holiday as an excuse to use a classic “chip and dip bowl made to look like a stadium” snack set up! This platter and removable bowl combo is perfect for the chips and salsa, nachos and queso, or classic French onion dip that everyone will fill up on in between burgers.
To keep the refreshments flowing (and mobile)
77-Quart Rolling Cooler
Unless you’re working with one of the biggest fridge setups in your neighborhood, you’re going to need a cooler to keep all of those beers and sodas cold for four quarters plus half time. Unfortunately, traditional coolers are incredibly heavy once you get them filled up with ice, cans, and bottles, and nothing can ruin a postgame glow quite like having to try and move 70 quarts of melted ice so you can dump it out in the driveway. Instead of struggling with a behemoth beverage station, opt for one of these wheeled options: It will make restocking cans, refilling ice, and emptying everything at the end of the night much easier...and much less likely to result in a tidal wave of water accidentally being dumped across your kitchen floor.
A bottle opener with a little something extra
Cap Gun Bottle Opener
If we’re being honest, out of everything on this list, the number one essential for any party is a truly good, functional bottle opener. There’s also probably a good chance you think that you have one on hand...Except bottle openers are second only to lighters on the list of vital tools that always seem to go missing when you need them most. If you want to make sure you don’t get left shorthanded and you want to add a little fun to the party, consider picking up this four-pack of bottle cap openers. Not only will they help you get at those tasty beverages, but they also work as a “cap gun,” lightly flicking your bottlecap when you pull the trigger. Even if you don’t end up trying to start a cap war with your guests, these are a great option because they’re durable and offer a great grip.
The very best salsa you can buy in a jar
Green Mountain Gringo Salsa
Of all the quintessential foods for a Super Bowl party, chips and salsa regularly reign supreme in popularity. And while we’re always proponents of a solid homemade option, there’s not always enough time to whip up a batch of your own before kickoff. If you’re looking to keep everyone happy and save some time, consider going for a truly delicious jarred option like this medium spicy option from Green Mountain Gringo. It packs just enough heat to keep spice fans happy without going over the top and has the idea “I could swear this is homemade” texture that’ll keep everyone dipping.
For a screen big enough for the whole crowd to watch
Nebula Pro 500 Projector by Anker
There’s nothing wrong with binging Netflix on that 32” flatscreen you bought when you first moved in, but using such a small TV might prove to be an issue when your guests can’t actually see where the ball is going. Instead of emptying your bank account on a massive screen that will overtake your living room year-round, opt for this Nebula projector: It offers a radiant 500-ANS-lumen image at a clear 720p, making it a great option for HD sports viewing. The best part? Its batteries can hold enough charge for over three hours of viewing, which means you can even choose to take your viewing party out into the backyard.
So you can have your beer but still make it to work the next day
Well Being Brewery’s Golden Wheat Non-Alcoholic Beer
For a lot of people, watching the big game without a brew in your hand just wouldn’t feel right. Unfortunately, every boss in the country is well aware that your post-game Monday morning “flu” is probably not the result of that any actual viral malady. Instead of paying the price for your game time beverages, try picking up a few non-alcoholic options, such as this fantastic wheat beer from WellBeing brewing. They’re one of our favorite options that have been born out of the recent non-alcoholic craft beer trend, and they make for a great swap-in for the full strength brews you already enjoy.
To make sure everyone has a seat
Mity-Lite Flex Folding Chairs (4-pack)
One of the biggest rookie mistakes you can make when throwing a viewing party for the big game is forgetting that your couch is most likely not going to fit the twelve extra friends you’re inviting over. Instead of killing the vibe with a standing-room-only policy, make sure everyone can settle in by picking up this four-pack of folding chairs. The most important thing here is that they’re actually really comfy for non-permanent furniture, but they’re also more durable than your run-of-the-mill folding chairs, capable of supporting up to 1,000 pounds. They’re also made of mesh plastic, so they’re much lighter and easier to move around than metal folding chairs. The fact that they’ll also come in handy the next time you host a potluck dinner doesn’t hurt, either.
To keep your fingers (and the planet) cleaner
Eco-Friendly Dinner Napkins
Nothing beats a solid spread of finger foods, but they’re also an irrefutable mess. Forgetting to pick up a good set of napkins before a party means your guests will be walking around all night brushing their greasy hands on their pants (or worse, your couch). Before it slips your mind, pick up these eco-friendly napkins, which are made from unbleached recycled paper and are easily compostable and biodegradable. Besides being even better for the planet, they also happen to be super absorbent and durable.
If you don’t want to spend the whole game grilling outdoors
Philips Smoke-less Indoor BBQ Grill
It’s already enough that you’re stepping up to host game day festivities for your friends: You shouldn’t also be forced to spend the entire first half out back firing up everyone’s food. Bring yourself back in from the cold with this indoor grill, which uses advanced infrared technology and special reflectors to cook up delicious, evenly-grilled burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and veggies. The entire setup is warmed up to 446 degrees within a few minutes and ready to go, and don’t worry about setting off the fire alarms: Virtually no smoke gets thrown off while cooking thanks to a cool drip tray underneath.
If you're ready for a condiment game changer
Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce
We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with keeping ketchup, mustard, and traditional barbecue sauce on hand, but we’re also not saying that it wouldn’t hurt to take things up to the next level. You can easily do that by dousing your game day wings in Bachan’s, an authentic Japanese barbecue sauce that was developed from an old family recipe. There’s no powders or fillers here: Everything is small-batch produced using real Mirin, premium Japan-brewed non-GMO soy sauce, organic green onion, organic garlic, and organic ginger. It’s also a fantastic marinade for meat, chicken, fish, or veggies on the grill, with the perfect blend of umami flavors and a hint of sweetness that makes it truly addictive. [Editor's note: this item is not available on Amazon, but if you order right now you'll likely get it by game day]
For your pre-game tailgate entertainment
GoSports Cornhole Boards
What good is a Sunday get together if you can’t do a little home-style tailgating before kickoff? Cornhole has become the de facto “we’re hanging out and having a few beers” game of our generation, and to even consider throwing a football-focused party where bean bags aren’t constantly whizzing through the air would be borderline blasphemous. This regulation size set is made out of sturdy PVC with an aluminum frame for lightweight portability and has everything you need to get the games going, including eight all-season bean bags and an easy fold-up option with handles for compact storage.
For the easiest way to serve draft beer at a party
Coldbreak 30-quart Cooler With Tap
Opting for a sixtel “log” keg of beer for your party instead of lugging cans or bottles home? Good idea! A skinny keg can usually be a great way to get better beer for less, holding about 30 pints in each barrel and opening your options up beyond your run-of-the-mill supermarket brands. But unlike the keg parties you might remember from years ago, it’s gotten a lot easier to pour draft beer at home since then thanks to jockey boxes. All you have to do is fill this cooler with ice, attach the necessary coupler and tubing to your room temperature keg and CO2 canister, and pull the handle to pour ice cold brew. No more hand pumping foamy beer, and no more dunking kegs in trash cans or bathtubs filled with ice!
To keep your food warm through the fourth quarter
Disposable Sterno Party Sets
It’s amazing how quickly your famous mac and cheese can go from delicious early on to a congealed mess before the Vince Lombardi trophy even gets brought out. If you’ve put a lot of effort into your party food, consider keeping your apps, sides, and mains nice and warm with a party Sterno set. Getting it set up is as easy as filling chafing dishes with a little water, lighting the gel fuel canisters, and setting your grub right on top. Luckily, this set includes all of the wire racks and serving spoons you’ll need on game day. Cheers to not having to choke down ice cold chicken wings at the end of your party!
For eco-friendly drink serving
Naturalik Compostable Cups
Unless you plan on doing a mountain and a half of dishes into the wee hours of Monday morning, you’ll want to look into a disposable cup option. But just because you need to go the easy cleanup route doesn’t mean you have to make a mess of the planet. These cups are made from PLA, a plant-based material derived from corn which is a sustainable and annually renewable source (unlike old-school plastic cups, which are made from petroleum). This makes them 100% compostable and biodegradable, so you can party on knowing that your libations won’t end up overloading a landfill.
A crowd-pleasing booze-free drink option that doubles as a great mixer
Polar Seltzer Variety Packs
If your only non-alcoholic beverage option is tap water, you need to do a little better with your party planning. Instead of opting for traditional sodas, stock your cooler with a bunch of flavored seltzers. This variety pack of zero-calorie sparkling water includes lime, lemon, cranberry lime, and black cherry, making it an easy option for anyone who’s off the booze, looking to take a break between drinks, or needs an easy mixer.
The greener alternative to old-school plastic cutlery
Mozaik Compostable Cutlery
If you’re noticing a “better for the environment” disposable party supply trend on this list...You’re onto something! These forks, knives, and spoons are made fromplant-based plastic that makes them biodegradable and they’re actually just as (if not more) hefty and durable than their plastic counterparts, making them even better for eating hearty foods. They’re also a pretty nice looking matte white if you’re worried about that kind of thing.
For post-game desserts and halftime sweets cravings
Baked By Melissa Cupcake Assortment
What party spread would be complete without a little something sweet out of the oven? Instead of tasking yourself with yet another pre-game chore and baking, feel free to phone it in with these delicious mini cupcakes from Baked By Melissa. Not only does one order come with at least 25 cupcakes in a wild variety of flavors, but it’s also ready to serve out of the box.