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How to throw a super Super Bowl party

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So you want to throw a Super Bowl party.

Don’t waste time and money on hand-making decorations, renting projector screens, or spending hundreds on catering — there are just four things you need to nail to score a touchdown on Jan. 2. Here is our foolproof guide to throwing a great party without breaking the bank or having a meltdown.

The guests

It is great if you can keep your guest list exclusive to football fans who want to really watch the game — but you probably can’t. People will invite their uninterested partners and their kids, and some people from your office will show up just for the three-layer dip.

The best way to deal with these party poopers is by setting up a second television. Tune it in to the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet (the Hallmark Channel will also be debuting a Kitten Bowl this year), lay out a supply of snacks, and leave them alone to discuss non-football topics.

The food

Outside of catering your child’s birthday parties, this is the one time of year when it is absolutely socially acceptable for adults to indulge in cheesy-themed party snacks. Anything that can be shaped like a football — cookies, pizzas, falafel balls, deviled eggs — should be, and as many items as possible should be in team colors. Think blueberries and green grapes for the Seahawks, and Doritos with blue cheese dip for the Broncos.

Focus on foods that are self-service and can be eaten with your hands (or, ideally, one hand, as the other should be occupied with a beverage at all times). Rent or borrow a hotdog steamer and lay out some condiments, and you won’t even have to get off the couch while your guests gorge themselves silly on dirty-water dogs. Other ideal finger foods include wings, sliders, hand pies, and Jell-o cups. Dishes you will be tempted to make but should not include loaded baked potatoes, mac ’n’ cheese, cake, and salad of any kind.

On a related note — estimate how many napkins you will need, then double it, then buy extra.

The drinks

Other than your team losing, the worst thing that can happen is running out of beer halfway through the game. Stay well stocked in the sudsy stuff and dazzle your friends with your party professionalism by investing in a keg. No need to drop your life savings on a triple-hopped India Pale Ale from a local nanobrewery — this is the Super Bowl; your friends will drink Bud and they will like it.

Don’t do cocktails. Just don’t.

Entertainment

Make the game audience-interactive by providing your guests with their own penalty flags (you can make one out of a yellow dishcloth, a rubber band, and a small bouncing ball).

It is a constructive way to take out your frustrations with the refereeing — and it will encourage your buddies to clean up their own spills!

Want to watch the ads? Keep the party social by creating Super Bowl commercial bingo cards (“gratuitous bikini shot,” “talking baby,” “talking monkey”) or score cards (“instant viral sensation,” “waste of $4 million”).

Don’t want to watch the ads? Crank up the stereo between plays, and set up a “Rock Band” or “Madden” tournament at halftime.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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