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How to Host a Super Bowl Party

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By Lillian Vernon

When Super Bowl XXXVIII is broadcast live from Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Sunday, February 1, 2004, millions of football fans worldwide will eagerly tune in for an afternoon of exciting pre-game fun followed by an evening of great football, revelry, refreshments, and friendly rivalry.

Potato day. For those not lucky enough to have a ticket to America’s favorite sporting event, it’s a premier Couch.

To maximize the fun, I’ve collected practical tips to make your Super Bowl party memorable.

Kicking off the preparations

• Decide on a guest list. Do you want a small or large crowd? Do you want to include children?

• Keep a list ready for when guests ask what they can bring.

• Plan invitations with a football theme. If you use e-mail, be sure to tell the guests they must “complete the pass” by RSVPing; E-vite.com is a convenient way to send invitations. If you make your own invitations, cut out football-shaped ones from construction paper. Or bake edible cookie invitations.

Creating a stadium atmosphere

• Decorate your house with a football theme and team colors. Make your tablecloth a playing field. Set a festive welcome at the front door with an oversized football on the door that you can make from foam board. A football-themed rug right inside the door will help keep dirt out of the house. Make felt pennants to hang around the house.

• Ask guests to dress in team jerseys and colors. Wear a referee-style shirt.

• Put themed props around the room, such as megaphones, miniature footballs, and whistles for calling penalties.

• Settle in for a long day of television with comfortable, football-themed beanbag chairs. Have plenty of cushions, footrests, and a cozy afghan or blanket for the couch potatoes.

• Make sure everyone can see the TV. You don’t want anyone squinting or straining to see the action. If there’s not enough seating, set up TVs elsewhere to handle the overflow.

• Play Super Bowl trivia and award football-themed prizes.

• Enjoy a game of touch football before kickoff and during half-time.

• Don’t leave anyone on the sidelines. If children are attending, make sure there are lots of toys and activities to keep them busy. Set up an area for them to decorate their own T-shirts during the pre-game, with iron-on transfers or tube paints.

Tackling food and drink

• Plan the menu in advance. This is one party where you do not want to have to get up and down to serve guests or prepare and warm food. Select a menu that allows for lots of couch time.

• Use paper or plastic serving pieces and utensils. Have lots of napkins personalized with a Super Bowl-related slogan or the teams’ names.

• Serving trays are useful for shuttling food between the kitchen and TV room.

• Place food far enough away from the TV to avoid blocking anyone’s view.

• For chips and dips, get bowls that combine the two, so there are fewer items to refill, knock over, and carry.

• Serve other snack foods, like pretzels, in a football helmet. Be sure to line it with foil and a napkin.

• Popcorn in individual, movie-style popcorn servers is a great idea. If you choose to make it plain with butter on the side, serve interesting spices and condiments to sprinkle over it, especially for those who are salt or diet-conscious.

• Let younger partygoers make their own popcorn or get a cotton-candy maker.

• Stock plenty of ice and keep an ice crusher handy. Fill an ice chest or a large metal bucket with your drinks and keep it within guests’ reach.

• Get everyone a personalized can or glass holder/cooler. These containers have insulated foam liners that keep beverages cool for hours. Their solid bases also help prevent spills.

• If you are serving hard liquor, use a vodka set that keeps individual shot glasses chilled in ice with the vodka carafe in the center. Also, buy large beer steins or handsome Pilsner glasses.

• Prepare pots of food that can feed an army of visitors. Chili is an all-time favorite -- one cauldron can gently simmer all night. Or, get a warming tray for finger foods, like Swedish meatballs. Make football-style pennants to use as grabbers, using construction paper glued to toothpicks. Hot dogs on buns, in a help-yourself tray, are also a good choice.

• Get out the ever-popular fondue set to dip bread into cheese or fruits into chocolate, or make s’mores, roasting the marshmallows over the flame.

Post-game wrap-up

• At the end of the festivities, serve coffee so everyone can drive home refreshed.

• Make clean-up easy with a supply of large trash bags.

By following these Super Bowl party tips, you can rest assured that long after the final football has been snapped, everyone will remember not only the touchdown that clinched the game, but also the fabulous job you did hosting the party.

For more information, visit www.lillianvernonproducts.com.

Lillian Vernon is the founder of Lillian Vernon Corporation, a 52-year-old national catalog and online retailer that markets gift, housewares, gardening, Christmas and children’s products in seven catalog titles, two Web sites and in 14 outlet stores.

These accessories will guarantee a fun Super Bowl party and are available from www.lillianvernonproducts.com or by calling (800)901-8758.

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