Why go to a crowded, noisy bar to eat mediocre chicken wings when you can have your own awesome at-home Super Bowl party? Here are 6 tips that will make your at-home Super Bowl celebration a winner.

1. Offer food that will get fans cheering.

Where’s the most game day action at a Super Bowl party? The buffet table. Football games call for grazing, so spread out your eats – maybe offering a few appetizers as fans gather; then doing a hearty meal at halftime; with dessert available during the fourth quarter. Bonus tip: Lean towards creations you can make ahead so you don’t miss out on the action.

Here is one of our all-time favorites…simple, affordable and crowd pleasing.

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 c. ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 3- to 4-lb pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • Coleslaw, for serving
  • Barbecue sauce, for serving
  • buns, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine onion, ketchup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar and spices in the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pork shoulder and toss to coat the meat in the sauce. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours, until tender.
  2. Remove pork from slow cooker and transfer to bowl. Shred pork with two forks and toss pork with juices from the slow cooker. Serve on buns with coleslaw.

2. Help them drink responsibly, but creatively.

Of course the default beverage at most Super Bowl parties may be beer, but go the distance with other, more creative – and most important -non-alcoholic options. Start with a selection of juices, sparkling waters and sodas and then mix it up with a mixed drink mocktail.

One of our faves for a cozy treat?

Hot spiced cider:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 gallon apple cider or apple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice

DIRECTIONS

In a Dutch oven, combine the first five ingredients. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add to the pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until flavors are blended (do not boil). Discard spice bag. Yield: 4-1/2 quarts.

The goal  is to make sure your DD feels as pampered as your imbibing guests.

3. Cover your zone by decorating like a pro.

Decorating with balloons, streamers and partyware in team colors is a no-brainer and can make your “field” look festive. Choose one team to “root” for and decorate exclusively in their hues, or if you don’t have a dog in the fight, go equal opportunity with plates and napkins in both teams’ colors. Your fans can pick their fave when they’re getting food to show who they are rooting for. For extra points, add in mini helmets or footballs around your house.

4. Avoid a time-out with the right TV.

Size matters at a Super Bowl party so see if you can borrow a big-screen if you are not already the proud owner. (And if you’re in the market for one, this might be a great time to buy: Research shows that prices drop an average of 22 percent the two weeks just before the Super Bowl.)

But guests often like to have multiple viewing options, so set up smaller screens in the kitchen, dining room and other areas where guests might congregate. And yes, renting is also an option.

5. Plan some games for the big game.

There will be plenty of action on the gridiron, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some side games going.

  • One party favorite is “squares,” where you section off a 10 x 10 poster board and randomly draw numbers for various score pairings at the end of each quarter. Put your money where your mouth is by offering squares for .25 or $1.
  • Another fun option is Super Bowl Bingo, where you watch the games and commercials to spot common themes or announcer phrases.
  • You can also rate the commercials. Google “Super Bowl commercials 2018” or visit this site a day before the game to get a list of all the ads that will be airing to pass out to your guests for rating.

6. Make the post-game easy.

There’s nothing worse than being left with a mess when your guests leave. Encourage them to clean up after themselves throughout the party by clearly labeling lined baskets or cans so they know where to put trash and recycling. Also load up the drink table with permanent markers or wine charms so that guests can label their glasses and hopefully only use one.

What’s one other thing (besides ample TP!) you don’t want to be left without at your Super Bowl party? Umbrella insurance. Contact Esurance today to find out how to protect your home and finances from salty fans – or worse.

DIY hacks | Home and garden

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.