How to stock up and plan for a big game night

The CFL Grey Cup 2018 game is on the horizon! Why not plan a Grey Cup party to bring family and friends together and share in the big game excitement.

It can be simple too if you know how to plan a Grey Cup party and the right steps to take. To make your preparations easier we’ve compiled our best tips for planning the ultimate CFL game day party.

As a first step, let’s review this year’s Grey Cup so you can really impress guests with your knowledge!

Boot camp basics: When is the Grey Cup?

The top teams of the 106th Canadian Football League season are poised to put it all on the line in Edmonton this month to win the Grey Cup 2018. The playoffs will kick off on November 11th, 2018, with the Eastern and Western division semi-finals, and will culminate with the 106th Grey Cup on Sunday, November 25th, 2018, starting at 4pm MST (6pm EST, 3pm PST).

Ottawa RedblacksGrey Cup 2018 Primer: Who’s in the playoffs?

Six teams in total advance to the CFL playoffs. The Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders both cinched spots after winning their respective East and West divisions. This allows them to skip the semifinals and move right into their Division Finals. Typically, the second and third-place teams from each division compete in semi-finals ahead of this, but here’s the kicker: the Grey Cup 2018 is a little different.

The BC Lions finished fourth in the West Division and normally wouldn’t qualify. However, they finished with more points than the Montreal Alouettes, the third place East Division team. This triggers an event called a crossover, letting BC qualify ahead of Montreal and putting them in the Eastern Division semi-finals against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Western Division Semi-Finals will see the Saskatchewan Roughriders kick off against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Now that we’ve got that sorted out, you can start planning your own Grey Cup party!

invitation cardsGetting a game plan: send pre-game invites

Hosting a big game party takes preparation, and you can’t plan appropriately without knowing how many guests are attending. Mailing out invitation cards is a great way to make your Grey Cup party stand out. It also adds a personal touch that shows guests you’re committed to hosting a great party. Of course, digital event invites and text messages are a great way to get a quick head count of your guests, too.

Remember the kids

CFL doesn’t stand for “child-free lounge,” but you need to figure out if that’s what your living room will be! Choosing whether to include your kids in the party is a big decision. If they won’t be catching the game, have some fun activities to keep them occupied. Hiring a babysitter is a great idea if needed, ensuring your kids are safe while you enjoy the Grey Cup with friends.

foldable chairsScoring a touchdown on comfort

Now that you know how many guests are coming to your Grey Cup party, you’ll need to figure out how to fit them in your event space. Get some foldable chairs if your couch isn’t large enough to seat everyone. This way, your guests aren’t forced to stand for the game–once you get beyond the national anthem, it’s time to sit down and enjoy!

Bowl your guests over with a 4K displayMadden-NFL-19

Your TV should be big enough to give everyone a good view. A good choice is this RCA 55” television offering ample size and great 4K visuals that will impress guests. Consider mounting your HDTV so that everyone has a clear view, and for that extra ‘wow’ factor.

Playing some Madden NFL 19 pre-game is a great way to entertain guests on the big screen. It also doubles as a great way to get the playful competitive juices flowing.

You might also like: The Best 4K TVs of 2018 at Walmart Canada

official-CFL-footballDon’t pass on the décor

Parties are all about ambience, and a CFL party is no different. Consider getting banners of your favourite team or streamers to match team colours. This adds a festive touch to the party and creates a fun atmosphere. Pom poms can let your guests have a blast with selfies, and an official CFL football is another great interactive item to keep around.

The chip shot: providing snackspretzels

Snacks and drinks are a must-have to keep your guests comfortable and energetic for the big game. A cooler with ice will keep water and pop cool from pre-game to post, and some salty snacks like pretzels will provide a nice contrast to the drinks. Nachos, chips, and nuts are also great snack options that are easy to eat throughout the game–just don’t forget to accompany them with napkins!

Paper plates and disposable plastic cups will also help you save on cleanup time. Many of these also come in team colours! It’s a fun way to get some banter going with your guests and lets them express their favourite team in a new way.

CFL-jerseyBig game dress code

It’s always a good idea to dress to impress at any event, and a football party is no exception. A CFL jersey is the perfect way to both represent your favourite team and fit the Grey Cup theme! These long-sleeve shirts range in size from Small to XXL, making them a nice choice for all your guests.

Grey Cup half-time show snacks

It’s also good to prepare bigger snacks for the half-time show to keep your guests’ bellies full. While taking a break from on-screen fouls, some crispy off-screen fowl is a popular choice. Think of vegan or gluten-free alternatives if any of your guests aren’t game for meat so that nobody feels left out.

paper towelsAfter the Grey Cup party

Once the party is over and your guests have left, you’ve got one big task left: the cleanup. Stock up on paper towels (especially in case of drink and dip spills), and have plenty of garbage bags handy. Vacuuming is a great deep cleaning idea and will help make sure any crumbs that were missed end up in the waste and not under your couch.

The road to Edmonton is long and difficult for the CFL teams, but planning a party doesn’t have to be. These steps will help you host a great Grey Cup party for your friends and family. Have fun!


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John is a Toronto-based journalist from Bracebridge, Ontario. With several years of experience in the gaming industry spent delivering news with honesty and integrity, his appetite for all things technology has only grown. Outside of the gaming world, he’s got a huge passion for photography, sports, and mid-day naps. You can check him out on his Twitter channel, @Makelevi.