Concerned about keeping everyone healthy? They are, after all, watching an athletic contest. Try some low-fat Super Bowl recipes from About.com's Guide to Low-Fat Cooking.
When it comes to drinks, again think about what's easy to serve and tough to spill, like juice pouches or water bottles.
For a cute touch, replace the water bottle labels with strips of paper in the teams' colors or black and white-striped paper to mimic referees standing stoically on the table. The kids can then write their names on the paper so everyone keeps their germs to themselves. It is flu season, you know.
When you're planning your Super Bowl menu, don't just think about the ingredients you'll need. Give some thought to the containers that will hold the food.
If your menu includes lots of hot items, like chili or meatballs, you might need to borrow or rent extra crock pots or warming chafers.
The dinnerware you set out is also important. Offer bowls as well as plates, and, if you're going with disposables, don't use flimsy products. Since the game lasts all day, those plates and forks are going to get a workout.
As yummy as it sounds, this isn't the day to serve molten chocolate cake or ice cream on a cone. You want to give the kids something easy to eat while their eyes are glued to the tube. Here are some suggestions:
- Make rice cereal-marshmallow treats shaped like footballs. Use frosting or small pieces of fruit leather to mimic the laces of a football on top.
- Bar cookies are easy to make, especially when you're serving a crowd.
- It's not like you'll have much trouble convincing kids to eat brownies, but these Brownie Pops from About.com's Guide to Candy look downright irresistible. In fact, put just about anything on a stick (frozen bananas dipped in hardening chocolate, anyone?) and kids will devour it.
- If you enjoy cake decorating, make a football field cake or a cake shaped like a football.
- If cake decorating isn't your thing, trya simple idea spotted on Flickr: Make a batch of cupcakes and frost half of them in one team's colors and the other half in the opposing team's colors. No need for fancy frosting tips--just use a butter knife. Then create a platter that looks like a football field and place the cupcakes on top as if they are players. To decorate the platter, use a large piece of green construction or butcher paper. Cut thin strips of white paper and glue them across the green field to represent the 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50-yard lines. Finally, surround the platter with a band of white cardboard or cardstock, onto which you've drawn or glued photos of field goals, cheerleaders, fans and players taken from old magazines, newspapers or downloaded off the Internet.
The Halftime Dilemma
Many adults look forward to the Super Bowl halftime as much as (or more than) they anticipate the game. Why? The commercials are hilarious.
But what's funny to adults often isn't appropriate for kids to watch.
Your family might be completely comfortable with the content, and that's great. Have a laugh fest together.
If you've squirmed a bit watching an ad for ED drugs next to your father-in-law, though, or you'd rather not explain the plot of the latest Go Daddy commercial to your 9-year-old son, avoid the whole situation by taking everyone outside for a game of backyard flag football. By halftime, everyone could probably use a little exercise anyway.
You could even create large paper signs that each team has to bust through when they run onto the "field" (read: the backyard) at the start of the game.
Here's an important tip, though. Make sure someone stays in the house with the TV on so they can call everyone back inside once the game starts up again.
If it's too cold to head outdoors, rent a karaoke machine and stage your own halftime show in the living room.
Final Bits of Advice
Super Bowl parties are fun and easy to throw, especially since the main entertainment is already provided, but they aren't foolproof.
Be careful about how many people you invite to the party. If the group is too big, the noise level could climb, making it frustrating for football fans who want to focus on the game.
Tempers can flare during a football game, too, especially when the score is close and guests have strong loyalties to the teams. You might need to start the party with a pep talk about good sportsmanship and behavior expectations.
And, by all means, when one of the other parents offers to contribute a plate of food for the party, accept it. Super Bowl Sunday isn't the day for cohesive menus with courses that "go" together. It's about sampling a bit of everything--and suffering the consequences later. Yes, the kids might overindulge a bit, but they have a whole year to recover.