Throwing a Super Bowl party for all of your friends seemed like a fantastic idea two months ago. Now there are a zillion inches of snow on the ground and negative temperatures in the air, and the last thing you're in the mood to do is traipse around town gathering groceries and party favors—not to mention clean and decorate the house. It may be uncouth to retract those invites, but it's totally kosher to make your party plan as simple and easy as possible. Stick to these guidelines to input the least amount of work and output the max amount of fun.
1Seating arrangement. Comfort and easy viewing is the name of this game. "Emulate stadium seating using different levels of seating," says Penny Eudy, product manager of upholstery for La-Z-Boy. Use ottomans and floor pillows for the first level—the level closest to the TV. The second level is for home-theater type seating, Eudy says, such as recliners and sofas. For the third and final level use stools and bar-height tables and chairs.
2 Food prep.
•Easy: Design your menu around nothing but premade supermarket fare or make-ahead recipes.
•Easier: Ask each guest to bring one dish.
•Easiest: Order in the whole thing, either through grocery delivery services such as Peapod (peapod.com), or favorite local restaurants. Sarah Finlayson, creative manager of Chicago caterer Blue Plate, suggests stocking your coolers with the beers brewed in the cities of each contending team. Sam's Wines and Spirits (samswine.com) sells Pittsburgh's Iron City beer as well as other city-specific brews.
3Food service. Arrange the food to be as serve-yourself as possible, says Renee Barricklow of Chicago event-planning company Kehoe Designs. "Premake drinks and put them all in decanters or pitchers," she says. "Put everything—the drinks the food, the plates, napkins and silverware—on TV trays or coffee tables near the areas where the game is going to be watched."
For an easy setup that puts a fun twist on the event, Barricklow tosses out this idea: "Use fresh trays of wheat grass to tuck in skewers of food."
4Victory spoils. Pot the wheat grass (mentioned above) in a pretty container and it becomes a fun take-home prize for one lucky guest. Have each guest jot their prediction for the winning team and its score on a slip of paper, then tuck the papers into the grass. Come fourth quarter, pluck out the papers to reveal the winning (closest) guess.
5Cleanup. Focus all of your before-party efforts on the one or two rooms where the guests will be contained. For post-party cleanup, place recycling stations in open view.