Football Game-Day Party

Go beyond bagged chips and bottled beer by hosting a bold, colorful big-game bash featuring a chili menu and football-themed accents.

Big Game Bash: Party in Five

To throw this cozy, colorful game day party, you need just five essential ingredients: printable bingo cards, homemade chili, pennant bunting, synthetic turf coasters and roasted peanuts in newspaper cones.

Play the Field

It goes without saying that football season doesn’t lend itself to crisp white linens and refined table settings. To keep this party thematic yet stylish, craft a "football field" runner using dark green wrapping paper and white artist's tape. Simply cut the wrapping paper to fit the length of your table, measure and mark yard lines with a pencil, then cut and stick the tape throughout. It’s a great (and affordable) way to anchor your buffet setup and the paper makes for easy cleanup — just roll it up and toss away after the party!

We've Got Spirit

There's nothing like a heartwarming bowl of chili on a winter day. To lighten your prep (and get guests excited for the party), ask a few friends to bring their favorite chili recipes, and then display them in colorful stove-to-table Dutch ovens. (Enamel pots are sold in a variety of hues — why not invest in a set that represents your team's colors to make every game day feel special?)

This bar features White Bean and Chicken Chili, Texas Chili and classic Game Day Chili.

Top it Off

One of the best things about chili is that every bowl can be customized with your own combination of toppings. Arrange the rest of the chili bar ingredients — chopped red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, chives, tortilla strips, hot sauce or anything else you'd like! — in small glass bowls for a pretty presentation. Encourage guests to get creative and let them know they should feel free to go for seconds on toppings when their bowl is half-empty. Set out a stack of casual, natural-hued napkins.

Capture the Flag

A chalkboard menu is an easy way to let guests know what their chili and topping options are (simply jot the ingredients with a chalkboard pen). Feel free to add some football-play X's, O's and arrows to enhance that locker-room feel. Drape a paper flag banner in your team colors above the buffet to add a festive touch to the setup.

Touchdown Toasts

No sporting event would be complete without ice cold beer at the ready. Set out a few different brews in large glass growlers for a more elegant take on beer presentation. Give each guest a glass pint mug to fill and refill as they please, leaving the host to enjoy the game and preventing that typical bottle and can pileup.

Ra, Ra, Fight, Fight!

Get competitive juices flowing before kickoff by playing a game of trivia that tests your guests’ sports knowledge. Either purchase a set of sports-themed questions, or before guests arrive, weed through a box of regular trivia cards and pull out only the sports-related questions.

Big Game Bingo

To make game time a little more interesting for those who aren’t sports fanatics, play a round of Big Game Bingo. Download this printable set of 12 cards complete with instructions, print, and hand them out to guests before kickoff. In addition to looking for typical football happenings — a touchdown or an onside kick — they’ll be on the lookout for fun things like a fan in face paint. Mark squares with quarters as you spot each item and aim to cross out five in a row.

Click here to download the Big Game Bingo cards.

Sideline Snacks

Chips and dip are a low-maintenance — and always welcome — crowd-pleaser. Place tortilla chips, homemade guacamole and peanuts on the coffee table for highly addictive game-time snacks. Serve the roasted peanuts (a nostalgic sports staple) in newspaper cones made out of the weekly sports section to make guests feel like they're right at the stadium. (Simply roll the paper into a cone shape and secure the edge with a piece of tape.)

Tabletop Turf

Since fans can get a little rowdy as they cheer on their favorite team, this party has the potential to get a bit messy. Employ damage control and bring a touch of the field to your table with coasters made out of synthetic turf. The material can be found at home improvement stores, and you can even ask for a handful of (free!) samples that are perfectly cut to coaster size.

Sweet Victory

No matter your team’s performance, be sure to leave guests with a sweet taste in their mouths. Bake vanilla cupcakes and once they’ve cooled, frost and dip them into a bowl of green sprinkles for that grass-green football field look. Top with gold "pom-pom" cupcake toppers (available at any craft store) and serve on a cake stand for guests to help themselves.