Whether your team is a championship contender or hoping for better luck next year, football is always better with friends. But not everyone always wants to hang at the sports bar.
For that Saturday marathon or weekday primetime matchup, a football party with your buddies at your apartment is a great idea. But how do you throw a football party? It’s as easy as a chip shot field goal (laces out, of course) to make your party feel like a stadium tailgate.
How many people to invite (and where to put them)
You live in your apartment, so no one knows better than you how many people your apartment can comfortably fit. Make sure there’s enough room for everyone to sit. Couches are nice, but that’s like four people, tops.
Set up some folding chairs or barstools in your living room where it doesn’t feel super crowded and count the spots. Floor pillows are great, too, just don’t stuff people in. That’s no fun for anyone.
Find out if your landlord or complex limits the number of guests you can have. And don’t forget to tell everyone where to park before they arrive.
Drink up (responsibly)
For most, you can’t throw a football party without adult beverages. It’s ok to ask everyone to bring some beer for the pot, but if you have the means, provide what to imbibe. While it’s fine to use this as an opportunity to show off your craft beer snobbery, offer a selection of Buds and Coors as well.
You know how much your buddies drink, but assume most will partake in about one and a half beers per quarter, so do the math. As a more party-friendly option, renting a keg of the cheap stuff runs about $100.
Liquor and mixed drinks aren’t necessary, but if you want to impress with your bartending skills, go for it. Bottles of hard drinks (think Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice) are a simple alternative. Of course, not everyone drinks alcohol so have soda and bottled water on hand.
You’ll need somewhere to keep the drinks and keep them cold, so ensure you have enough fridge space or, better yet, ice up the cooler. Buy a sleeve of red Solo cups, or just let everyone drink from bottles. If you like your furniture, then set out some fun coasters.
For party food, the options are endless. Wings are a must. Grilled grub like burgers, dogs and brats never fail to please. Onion or bean dips, hummus, guacamole and salsa are always popular, with a good variety of chips and veggies (or shrimp!) for dipping. Nachos, mozzarella sticks and quesadillas are easy finger foods. Provide extra sturdy disposable plates and bowls or invest in some cool bamboo dishes.
Want something with more pizzazz? Meatballs or chili are snazzy alternatives but can be messy. Cheesesteaks and soft pretzels are perfect football foods, and not just for Eagles fans. And did you know fondue is back? It will wow your attendees.
Fancy yourself a chef? Go ahead and spend your day prepping all the food to perfection. But don’t consider yourself a bad host by choosing to grab your goodies from a carryout restaurant or pre-prepared at the supermarket. If your friends are game, you can also go potluck. And if all you do is order a few pizzas, guaranteed no one is going to complain.
No matter how much you make or order, you’re going to run out of hot food before the end of the game. Be prepared with enough potato chips, pretzels, popcorn and cheese curls (and veggies) to last until the clock hits zero. And post-game dessert is a nice touch but not a requirement – a bowl of M&M’s will suffice.
All the little things to consider
Don’t overlook the bathroom. The more beer and nosh you provide, the more trips to the restroom. Set out way more toilet paper than you think you need, stack extra towels and top off the soap dispenser. Have a can of air freshener and your plunger subtly handy, too.
Want to engage diehard and casual fans alike? Set out some games related to the action like announcer bingo, football betting squares or even some nerf darts to toss at your TV when the challenge doesn’t go your way. Got room? Set up indoor cornhole for a tailgate feel.
Prep your porch or patio for people to get some air and a respite. A trash can and a paper towel roll are ideal for when folks take their food outside. Set up a Bluetooth speaker paired to your TV so no one will miss a minute. If your guests smoke, provide an ashtray. And if you’re lucky enough to have a grassy space, plan a touch football game for halftime.