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How To Behave At The Big Game Party You Were Invited To

Last year, this weekend, my sister and I made seven dips. This is the best weekend of the year for dips and we would not be stopped. We made guacamole, layered bean dip, harissa hummus, and a nice labne. We planned ahead and were actually on time. When the Ginormous Football Game began, we were seated happily in front of the television.

For several years, I have hosted a too-large party at my apartment to watch the giant game. There are always too many people and not enough chairs. There are always too many of some things and not enough of others. Emily Post is an outdated granny for our generation, and so I (a hostess) am here to tell you how to save yourself from true embarrassment at this year’s Big Game Party.

Please note: this is advice for reasonable people. If you have been invited to some kind of formal Large Game party, or your friend’s husband is known for enforcing a strict law of silence for the duration of the game, I recommend you not go to that party and find one where these guidelines can help you and you can actually have fun.

What time should you show up?

Today’s Big Game begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. You should be ready to watch the game at kickoff, which means probably you should get to the party between 6:00 and 6:25 unless the host has indicated otherwise. For the most part, it is okay to trickle in during the first quarter, but if you show up once the game has started, you may not make a big hullabaloo.

What do you bring?

Please check your invitation/email invite. Often, the host will tell you what to bring. If they have not, you should bring with you something to drink AND another item. You must bring the amount of alcohol you intend to drink plus one drink. So two people who each intend to have two beers bring a six-pack, etc.

As for your other item, usually this should be food. A great thing to bring to a Football Game party is some nice queso, which I have already written you a recipe for. But really any dip will do. (If you bring dip, you should also bring the chips/crackers.) Also good to bring: pizza rolls, cut-up vegetables, bag of Cheetos, brownies, cupcakes, big salad.


You do not have to make your snack vegan/gluten free/lactose free, but if you make something you do have to remember what you put in it so you can tell people if it is unclear!

It is a cardinal sin to bring a food to the party that must be reheated, cooked, or require use of the oven in any way.

Can I bring this?

Yes you may. This is a fine thing to bring if you also bring your drink that I have told you to bring. If you feel confused about whether your snack is good enough, just bring a bottle of wine and hand it to the host when you walk in. This absolves all sins.

What do you bring if you’re lazy and don’t want to bring a food and/or waited until the last minute to go to the grocery store?

So you went to the grocery store at 5:30! Here are some nice things to bring to the party:

  • sparkling water
  • napkins
  • biodegradable plates
  • extra chips
  • ice!!!!
  • extra cups
  • a good-smelling candle (for the host)

When can you start eating?

You may start eating the moment the host says “eat” or the moment you see someone else eating, whichever comes first.


Some of you are dumb, but DO NOT DIP YOUR CHIPS DIRECTLY INTO THE DIPS. I do not care if you have washed your hands, or if you’re only at a party with your family. It is winter and winter is the sick season. You use a spoon like a civilized person and put the dip onto your plate and then you use your chip on your plate as a shovel.

When do I have to pay attention to the game?

For the most part, you do not have to pay attention to either the game OR the commercials. The tone of paying attention should be set by your host but generally it is fine to talk at all points during the game and commercials as long as you are not screaming.

Do NOT shush other people at the party unless you are the host. If you want to watch the game in quiet, go to your own home.

When should you get up to refill your plate/get another beer?

Here are the ideal times to get up:

  • during any kind of video replay review
  • during the second commercial of any commercial break

How to behave yourself:


Hating football is not a personality. You have chosen to come to a Large Game party. Respect what other people like.

Ditto for commercials.

Ditto the halftime show.

You MAY discuss concussions, the NFL’s terrible policies on domestic violence, the infiltration of American nationalism into the NFL, and other political/potentially controversial topics as long as you are talking in a small group and no one is yelling.

If you are going to make comments about Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s bodies during the halftime show, you must carry your ability to objectify people into the football game by also commenting on the bodies of athletes in the same way. It is only fair and there are plenty on nice butts to notice.

If you have bet money on the Big Game, that is a thing that is only interesting to you and to no one else.

Can you leave early?

If you are leaving to go to another party, you should leave right after halftime. Do not mention this to others! Just go!

You may leave the party whenever you want EXCEPT for within the last three minutes of game play. It is rude to leave during this time because you require the hosts to say goodbye to you during what is potentially an exciting time. This rule does not exist if one team is up by more than 14 points.

How long can you stay after the game ends?

It is a Sunday night. You go home when the game ends. If you are at a party of people who deeply care about the teams playing, you go home after the trophy appears. Do not stay at anyone’s home for more than 20 minutes after the game ends.

If you have more questions, I will consider answering them in the comments.