Even though game day parties are usually pretty casual, being organized and one step ahead of the game will ensure that you have as much fun as your guests.

Here are four hints to help you strategize:

As with all parties, any menu items that can be made ahead will help ease the pressure on the day of the event.

1. Keep it Simple with Dips & Spreads

Dips and spreads are always good options, as are chilies and barbecue-type meats.

Sweet Potato Dip

Creamy Mushroom Dip

2. Keep the Kids Entertained

If children are part of the party crowd, create a kids’ zone with kid-friendly finger foods and activities to keep them busy. Organize “bowl” games just for them—divide the kids into two teams (with the same names as the football teams playing on TV!), provide coloured hats or t-shirts (again, in appropriate team colors) and have them compete in simple contests like tossing a foam football into a basket from a distance, or play “pin the football in the end zone” where the kids are blindfolded and try to stick a paper football on a large “field” drawn on paper and hung on a wall. Award the winning team with sports team memorabilia (pencils, erasers, stickers, etc.).

3. Leverage Slow Cookers

Use a few slow cookers to keep things like party meatballs, chili and cheesy dips warm during the course of the afternoon and evening. Keep a little Campbell’s® broth on hand to help thin out anything that might get dry or thick over time.

Sweet and Sour Slow-Cooker Ribs

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

4. Keep Drinks Cold or Hot

Place ice-filled buckets or containers around the house to hold drinks rather than storing them in your refrigerator. It gives the party more of a tailgate feel, plus it frees up valuable space in the fridge and keeps folks from congregating in the kitchen. Also, if it’s cold where you live, consider keeping drinks in a cooler on the porch or in the garage. If you want to serve a warm drink, keep it in a thermal coffee carafe so it stays hot.

5. Make Sure to Have Social Spaces

If you know that some of your guests won’t necessarily be that “into” the game, you might set up a separate area for them to socialize and enjoy themselves.