The 4 Essentials You Need to Host a Game Night at Home

Games + food + drinks + friends = the easiest party ever.
By: Liz Gray
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We all love hanging out with friends, but planning a party can get a little complicated. Enter the game night: It's the perfect excuse for a casual, laid-back night with a few of your favorite people. The best part? It's a snap to put together an evening centered around competition and snack foods. Here's how to plan the ultimate game night at home.

Living Room Entertaining: Adult Game Night

Living Room Entertaining: Adult Game Night

Keep the conversation casual and intimate by hosting game night for family and friends at the coffee table. Lay out an assortment of cards and creative games and serve chips, dip and crackers in simple vessels. For an artisanal touch, try serving beer in clear glass vessels and keep glasses within arm’s reach to make self-serving easy.

Photo by: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Rustic White Photography, LLC


What games should you break out at the party? Well, that depends on the guest list! Simple word games, board games and card games are great for small groups. For groups of more than six, avoid games with individual written responses or lots of moving pieces. Interactive team games like charades or an electronic trivia game are great crowd-pleasers. 

Indoor-Outdoor Floor Cushions in Living Room

Indoor-Outdoor Floor Cushions in Living Room

Since games can last for several hours, make sure to keep guests seated comfortably by adding indoor-outdoor floor cushions around the perimeter of the table. Pick up more than you’ll actually need so guests can stack them as needed for an extra boost of height.

Photo by: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Rustic White Photography, LLC


Give guests a comfy spot to settle in. For board games, line the coffee table with floor cushions. For larger group games, move furniture into a semi-circle so everyone can have a seat and enjoy the fun. 

How to Settle Up a Kettle Chip Bar

How to Settle Up a Kettle Chip Bar

Create an interactive spot for guests to make their own culinary creations with a bar stocked with kettle chips, seasoning, toppings and clever vessels.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions


For game night success, plan for small bites that guests can grab between turns. Creating a potato chip bar with a variety of chips, dips and toppings allows guests to make a custom blend. Cardboard berry baskets make the perfect individual serving vessel. 

DIY Potato Chip Bar

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Please a Crowd With Just Basic Ingredients

Endlessly munchable, potato chips are one snack that most people find hard to pass up. Young or old, vegetarian or carnivore, these golden-friend potatoes are hard to beat. Let your party guests help themselves at an easy-to-set-up station where they can top salty chips with their favorite sweet, savory or spicy flavors.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Oversized Vessel and Large Scoop

As any chip lover can attest -- you can't just eat one -- so you'll need plenty to keep guests chrunching. For a party of 20 people or less, fill a large basket, bowl or tub with four to five family-size bags of chips. Add a big scoop to make serving a snap.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Sweet and Savory

Please everyone's palettes with both sweet and salty extras they can sprinkle over their chips.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Think Beyond the Standard Spices

The flavors of cookout favorites -- dill pickle and bbq -- are great choices as alternative spices. But, the sky's the limit, serve any toppings you think pair well with chips -- like crispy bacon or even sour cream.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Cheese, Please

Cheese and chips go together like, well, cheese and chips! But, instead of the standard drippy, orange cheese sauce, offer your guests more flavorful options -- like crumbled feta and bleu cheese.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Add a Little Spice -- or Not

Some folks just can't get enough hot sauce while even the tiniest spicy drop is too much for others. So, when serving hot sauce, always make sure thea the bottle is clearly marked so guests won't mistake it for mild-mannered ketchup.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

A New Use for Berry Baskets

Check local craft or party supply stores for these budget-friendly containers that are deep enough to hold a whole mountain of chips and toppings.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Snack While You Chat

Encourage guests to fill their baskets with chips, pile on the toppings then mingle while they munch.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Add small bowls of snacks on the game table to allow guests to munch as they play. Homemade beer cheese is a crowd-pleasing dish that never disappoints; serve with pretzel rods and crudité. 

Make This: Beer Cheese Dip

Beer Cheese Dip

Beer Cheese Dip

Have a couple of savory options available at your Halloween party. Serve pretzels along with beer cheese dip to keep adults at the party happy.

Roasted nuts are another delicious table snack that guests won't be able to resist. These cashews are tart and spicy thanks to chile and lime. Make the roasted nuts up to a week before your party for easy night-of prep. 

Chili and Lime Roasted Cashews

Chili and Lime Roasted Cashews

Roast cashews with chili pepper and lime juice for a tangy snack to contrast all the Halloween sweets.

For a more substantial snack, try these individually-sized pizza pies -- the pocket shapes make them easy to eat with one hand. These are stuffed with sauce, pepperoni and cheese, but add your favorite toppings or serve a mix to accomodate different tastes. 

Make This: Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza Hand Pies

Homemade Pizza Hand Pies

Homemade Pizza Hand Pies

Just a few basic ingredients are all you need to whip up these tasty little pockets of spicy, cheesy goodness.

Don't forget the dessert! These big-as-your-head cookies will give guests the energy they need to compete all night. 

Giant Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

Giant Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

No one can resist soft, chewy and delectable sugar cookies, especially when they're filled with melt-in-your-mouth M&Ms in traditional Valentine's Day hues.


Punch is perfect for a crowd: You can make a big batch before the party to avoid playing bartender all night, and putting the alcohol on the side makes it perfect for non-drinkers, too! This sparkling cranberry-lemon juice is great with a splash of vodka or without. 

Sparkling Sunshine Punch With Fruit Flowers

Sparkling Sunshine Punch With Fruit Flowers

Adorn this tart and bubbly punch with pretty, yet simple to make, floating ice flowers.

Want to spice up your punch? Learn to make a mojito ginger splash, plus get more tips for the perfect casual game night:  

Game Night with Canada Dry 02:16

Chuck and Amy make a Mojito Ginger Splash with Canada Dry Ginger Ale.

Enjoy the refreshingly real taste of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, made with real ginger. Enjoy it alone or in a cocktail as a great way to brighten up your gatherings this holiday season.

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