The rules for a successful celebration.

Each gathering of family and friends comes with rules that most of us intuitively know. We assume there will be (some form of) a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, and we can count on decorations specific to Christmas or Hanukkah placed around the kitchen and living room by mid-December at the latest. But there’s an entirely different category of get-togethers that merits its own set of ground rules: football parties. And the football party of all football parties is none other than the Super Bowl—in fact, a great Super Bowl party may have more rules than your average holiday celebration. Here are three that must be heeded and respected.

Rule 1: Finger Foods Are King

People don’t want to hassle with a fork or a spoon when they’re watching the big game. People want to load up a sturdy paper plate (more on this later) with snack-y things that are socially acceptable to eat with your fingers: buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, cheeseburger sliders, cheesy potato skins, etc. For whatever reason, if you incorporate bacon into a Super Bowl snack, it automatically transforms into a crowd pleaser. Bacon = winner. And we take our bacon seriously. Which is why we always choose thick-cut Wright brand bacon for making everything from pasta salad to jalapeno poppers the real highlights of the party. In addition to having prepared foods, it’s also important to have an assortment of raw veggies and fruit available. This is one less thing you have to cook, and it gives your guests something refreshing to eat alongside the heartier finger foods.

Rule 2: Dips, Dips, and More Dips (and Chips!)

As silly as it may seem, people will remember the quality of the food at your Super Bowl party based on the integrity and variety of your dips. Dips are concentrated condiments that provide a mouthful of flavor in one bite. Buy a good mix of crackers and chips, and strategically place an assortment of dips around the living room and kitchen to make the eating experience more fun and engaging. Having something bright and acidic like salsa or pico de gallo next to something creamy and warm like a hot spinach artichoke dip diversifies the snacking experience. We sing the praises of some store-bought dips (like traditional queso and guacamole), but we also encourage you to make a few yourself. Try our absolute favorite: Sweet Onion and Bacon Dip.

Rule 3: Never Forget the Sweets

Your sweets must be as easy to pick up with your fingers as your savory snacks. Brownies and cookies are safe and delicious options, but you don’t have to leave them without special treatment. To glam up your brownies (or blondies!), consider decorating them with a dollop of cream cheese frosting or chocolate frosting and topping the frosting with mini chocolate chips or a sprinkling of graham cracker pieces and flake salt. Making the effort to add simple decorations like this adds texture, flavor, and visual intrigue—and your guests will notice. Sweets like this are just laid-back enough to serve at a Super Bowl party, but they’re elevated enough to be memorable for years to come.

Bonus Rule: Invest in High-Quality Paper Plates and Paper Towels

We cannot overstress the value of buying sturdy paper plates and hefty paper towels. Not only does this help with clean-up, it’s an invaluable proactive measure because flimsy plates piled with dips and snacks are a recipe for disaster. Spend the few extra bucks on quality paper products and you (and your guests) will have a better experience.