Are you ready for some football?! (Or at least some really great commercials…?)

Are you ready for some football?! (Or at least some really great commercials…?)

Even if you’re not a rabid football fan, the juggernaut that is the "The Big Game" is a social event that will NOT be denied. People might come for the game (or the commercials) but they’ll stay for the party — the food, the fun, the friends, and yes, the drink.

THE BIG GAME MEANS BIG DRINKING

According to Nielsen, U.S. households spent almost $1.3 billion on beer alone during the 2017 game. That’s on top of the $1.1 billion spent on wine and spirits. 

With so much alcohol available, it’s no surprise that party attendees’ blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tend to skyrocket, especially in cities hosting the championship or have a team playing.

For example, breathalyzer company BACtrack® collected data during the 2015 championship game hosted in San Francisco and found that compared to a normal Sunday, San Francisco fans’ BACs were 50 percent higher, while the rest of the country saw a 20 percent increase.

If you’re the one hosting a watch party, there are some things to consider besides how many bags of chips to buy.

Make it easy for your guests to get home.

Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) offers tips to limit game-day injuries to the football field.

Make it clear on your invitations that guests need a designated driver. As they RSVP, reiterate the requirement.

Offer alternatives to driving. Invite them to stay over, offer to call a rideshare service or taxi, or drive them home yourself if you’ve abstained. You might even consider hiring a driver to be on call during certain hours.

Keep the food coming. Offer lots of hearty foods to help slow the alcohol’s absorption rate. Chips and dips are easy and popular, but provide some heartier options, like chili or build-your-own sandwiches.

Have plenty of non-alcoholic options available. A beverage dispenser filled with water or cooler full of bottled water in plain sight is a good start. Stock up on some interesting craft sodas or flavored sparkling waters to pique interest in the non-booze options.

Offer some activities. If sitting and drinking are the only activities available, that’s what people will do. Hold drawings for door prizes or set up a game or puzzle table.

FALL-PROOF YOUR HOME

On top of helping your guests stay safe on the roads, help them stay safe in your home as you binge on chicken wings and celebrate this unofficial national holiday. Nothing puts a damper on a party like someone cracking a rib on your icy sidewalk or tripping on an abandoned beverage cup.

Check outside paths. Make sure your walkways and driveway are free of ice and other tripping hazards.

Use lots of light. If you don’t have a bright porchlight, consider lining your walk with electric candles or lanterns.

Keep the party on the level. Don’t make guests go up and downstairs to replenish their plates or cups.

Tidy up throughout the party. Make sure empty (or worse, full) glasses and plates aren’t lying around where someone could trip over them.

Clean up spills right away.

Create easy traffic flow. Consider rearranging the furniture to open up the space and reduce the number of roadblocks your guests have to navigate.

Put away throw rugs. You might be tempted to add more throw rugs to protect floors and carpet, but resist. A wrinkled rug, especially if it’s not nonskid, is a trip hazard.

And it might not be a bad idea to check in on your homeowner's insurance coverage before you invite a gazillion people over to party. (It'd be even better if you check in on what Grinnell Mutual has to offer.)