Grab the chips and dip, it’s game time

One night a year, an event comes along that no one desires to be alone for. This one night a year, parties across the United States are being thrown. Thrown for what? Try the Super Bowl.

According to NFL Research, over half of the Super Bowl’s viewers watch the game with at least two to five friends. In addition to that, 26 percent host or attend Super Bowl parties in the company of six or more people.

On February 1, the Super Bowl festivities begin at 11 a.m. on CBS. To throw a party, the events of the day will have to start much earlier. Planning a party requires days, if not weeks, to be successful. Food, drinks, and decorations are among the most important to consider when planning. Simple, portable foods prove to be most suitable for a Super Bowl party. Finger foods that can be scooped up on a paper plate and taken to the living room for the best seat on the couch are the most popular. Frozen pizza cut into convenient squares is usually a hit with guests. And it shows in the numbers. According to the National Frozen Pizza Institute, January is traditionally the highest month for frozen pizza sales, thanks in large part to the Super Bowl. However, there are other options to consider when it comes to food.

Chips and dips as well as sweets are favorites of Super Bowl parties. Supermarkets, such as Publix, are known for their party platters, but these require advance notice.

The Publix Deli makes meat, cheese, veggie, fruit, and Cuban platters. These platters range from eight to 30 people and the price ranges from $18 – $62.

Beverages are also a must-have for Super Bowl parties. It is important to have a never-ending stock of drinks of all types for guests. Beer is usually a favorite — it is certainly advertised enough during the game. However, it is important not to leave out any guests due to age or personal preferences. Sodas and punch are also important. With food and drinks taken care of, decorations are next. While decorations may not be of the utmost importance, it showcases party planning savvy to include a few. If the guests are all supporting the same team, team colors could be a theme of the party. Try serving plates and plastic cups adorned with the team’s colors. If guests are cheering for opposing teams, simple football décor would be appropriate. Most party stores can provide décor such as banners, streamers, or football-shaped serving dishes.

As for the technicalities of the party, party-proofing the area in which the party is to be thrown is a good idea. It is important to remove all breakable items and any items that have personal value from the party space. Nearby, paper towels, napkins and rug cleaner should be kept for accidental mishaps. Also, for convenience and the sake of conserving electricity, a cooler should be provided for all drinks as an alternative to using the refrigerator.

With all the planning said and done, it is a good idea to inform guests of when festivities of the day begin. The pre-game show, Welcome to Houston РThe Spirit of Texas, begins at 2 p.m. featuring performances from Aerosmith, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, and Josh Groban. At 6 p.m., CBS is scheduled to start the presentation of Super Bowl XXXVIII. Beyonc̬ Knowles will be singing the national anthem at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. MTV is producing the AOL TopSpeed Super Bowl XXXVIII Half Time Show. Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, and Nelly are scheduled to perform at the half.

With over 2 million in estimated attendance according to NFL Insider, special plans have been made for the Super Bowl patrons. Stefan Hauschildt, a limousine driver in Houston, said, “This is the busiest time of the year for me. People use my services to get from party to party to avoid the added dangers of drunk drivers on the road. I can imagine the (same) circumstances will exist in Tampa.”

Parties are almost a necessity for the Super Bowl. But, for those who loathe football and are obligated to attend the parties, a few words of advice: Enjoy the commercials; they are the most expensive part.