Hosting a Super Bowl party this year (or thinking about it next year)? Here are some tips for making that party a bit easier on the ol’ pocketbook. Please note that there may be some pro-Colts bias in this post.
Host it yourself.
Don’t go out to a crowded sports bar – instead, invite people over to your place. This may make you think “expensive,” but when you calculate up how much you would spend at a sports bar during the big game, you’ll quickly find out that it isn’t. In future years, you could suggest that others host it and that you all rotate.
Have it “potluck” style.
Ask everyone to bring a snack and/or a six pack of their favorite beverage to share with others. Most people will show up with a bag of chips, but usually a person or two will bring something quite delicious (one year, I had a friend bring crab-stuffed mushrooms that were gone in roughly ten seconds).
Buy refreshments in bulk.
If you are stuck buying refreshments, this is a great day to check out your local warehouse club. These are almost always great places to get snacks in bulk, especially Sam’s Club. Plus, you may find other items that you can buy in bulk there that will save you some money.
Make inexpensive and simple snacks.
Simpler is almost always better at these events, allowing you to enjoy the party as well. Don’t prepare something complex – make simple, inexpensive snacks that can be brought out very quickly to the partygoers.
My personal favorite “cheap” snack for a large crowd is tortilla roll ups. Simply buy a ton of tortillas, spread them each with a thin layer of cream cheese, sprinkle some red pepper, diced onions, and a bit of diced tomato on them (and maybe some cheese or refried beans or lettuce or chicken, too, if you want), and roll them up. Put them in a fridge for a while to firm them, then pull them out, slice the rolls into one inch (or so) pieces, and serve with some salsa (buy a large container of this, too, if you have a lot of guests). These are really cheap to make and are always a huge hit.
Move all but one of your televisions into the party area.
This seems a bit strange, but if you fill your party area with televisions all broadcasting the big game, people can sit facing in different directions and congregate with others without having their view blocked while also keeping everyone in the same room to celebrate the big moments together (like when Peyton Manning throws his eighth touchdown pass).
Paint your face.
This is a great and cheap way to liven up a party. Paint your face in the colors of your preferred team. Two small containers of tempera paint from the art supply store will provide more than enough to paint your own face and that of your family. Of course, if you’re painting your face in dark blue and orange, be aware that tears make the paint streak.
Set aside another room for people who are uninterested in the Super Bowl and the loud cheering.
I usually have a bunch of chairs, a couple tables, a television, and a bunch of board games and decks of cards in this room.
Clean all of your handtowels and washcloths and keep them easily available.
Someone will spill something, so it’s best if you can just grab a couple towels and take care of the problem quickly. Using your own cloth wipes is much cheaper than using paper towels, so just have plenty of these on hand instead of paper towels. Even better, you can refer to them as “crying towels” for the Bears fans in the room.
Don’t waste money on decorations.
Most people could care less about decorations. If you happen to already be a superfan of one team or another, use the supplies you already have and wallpaper the party room in Peyton Manning jerseys. Otherwise, don’t invest anything in decorations; just clean the place well and have the televisions ready to go.
Bag up any leftover snacks and eat them as side dishes for the next day or two.
Don’t waste food unless there’s a reason for it. Save some of the leftover snack food and eat it in the coming days. Anything that should be refrigerated should be eaten quickly, but dry snacks can be used over time.