Not The Usual Super Bowl Theme Party . . . Celebrate Backwards Day Instead!

Not The Usual Super Bowl Theme Party . . . Celebrate Backwards Day Instead!

While it seems that 99% of the United States (OK, the world) plans to either throw or attend a Super Bowl theme party this year, I know for a fact there are many of us (yes, yours truly included) who would be extremely happy with an alternative theme party idea for that certain Sunday, and all the details for giving one are right here.

Did you know that every January 31st is Backwards Day? It is not a very well-known holiday, but it certainly is a fun theme to build a party around. You can throw one that Sunday as an alternate to the usual Super Bowl party, or also incorporate it within a Super Bowl party for those guests who come, but are not really into football or watching TV commercials.


If you are mailing out printed invitations, you can put the stamps and return address labels upside down, but do not write the guests’ addresses upside down, unless you want to upset the postal workers. Or, you can address the envelopes correctly, but place the name, address, stamp and return address on the backs of the sealed envelopes, so the guests receive truly backwards party invitations.

Select a generic “We’re Having a Party” style invitation, but write the “Time,” “Date,” “Address” and “RSVP” on the wrong lines. Be sure to give the correct information, just put it on an incorrect line or space on the invitation. Or, you could leave the inside blank (if it opens like a card), and write all of the information on the back of the invitation. Your guests will certainly figure out something’s up! Another idea is to
use Super Bowl party invitations and with a thick red marker place a red circle with a slash through it (the universal sign for “NO”) and then announce it’s a Backwards Day Party somewhere else on the invitation. For any of these ideas, you can also fold the invitations inside out before placing them in the envelopes.


Any color scheme works fine for paper goods for this theme. Depending on how far you want to take the theme, you can have fun by mixing things up in your house. For example, move items that belong in the kitchen to the living room. Have your guests laughing at the toaster on the cocktail table, or a spatula and roll of paper towels on the fireplace mantle, or an
apron tied over a pillow on the couch. Hang your framed pictures backwards with the fronts facing the wall (but be sure they’re secure and won’t fall), or hang them completely upside down and see if any of your guests notice!


Activities are the most hilarious part of this theme party and are sure to engage all of the guests no matter what their ages. Here are some ideas to get started with, but again, only you decide how far you want to go with this theme:

** Wear your clothes backwards or inside out and encourage your guests to do the same by writing a note on the invitation. You can even try wearing your shoes on the wrong feet if you can stand it!

** Greet your guests at the BACK door with “Goodbye! Come again soon.” When they leave be sure to say, “Hello! Good to see you. How nice of you to come!” You can have backwards conversations; describe something or give instructions using the opposite of what is usual. Or, try singing songs backwards!

** Call everyone by their last names instead of their first names.

** Sit on chairs backwards and walk backwards. This is also a perfect party at which to serve dessert first and then proceed to a main course, appetizers or snacks as the festivities continue. See the Menu section below.

** Have your guests write their names and/or a “secret message” backwards on name tags when they arrive. Have a mirror set up nearby so they can check to see if their creations can be read when viewed in a mirror.

** Have a race to see who can recite the alphabet backwards the fastest. Make sure to have a stop watch handy.

** Run relay races backwards if weather allows you some time outdoors. If it is too cold, play a board game backwards, such as Scrabble or Scrabble for Juniors (spell all words backwards), or Chutes and Ladders (go down the ladders and up the chutes). These are two classic games, but there are many more that can be adapted for a backwards theme. Let your imagination soar!

** Watch the DVD of “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray (rated PG for thematic elements), a classic from 1993. A terrific family movie, Bill Murray stars as a sullen/sarcastic news reporter who is stuck living the same day over and over again….until he gets it right. OK, so it’s not
exactly a movie with a backwards theme but Groundhog Day is celebrated every February 2nd — and that’s a whole other theme party idea in itself.

** Award a goofy prize to the person who can find the most palindromes in the dictionary. A palindrome is a word, phrase, verse or sentence that reads the same backwards or forwards. Examples of a few are: noon, kayak, racecar, pop, and deed.

** Play your very own Jeopardy game. Make up riddle answers about your family, guests, celebrities, and/or current events and see if the “contestants” can come up with the correct questions. Have a goofy prize for the winner.


Aside from serving dessert first and the healthier fare later in the party, it is time to get creative with your menu and presentation:

** Since you’re starting with dessert….have an ice cream sundae bar set up with all of the toppings and ice cream ready to go. Be sure your guests start with the cherry and nuts on the bottoms of their bowls, then add the toppings, ice cream and even a brownie to top it off! Or, serve Upside Down cake! There are recipes for many varieties of Upside Down cake to be found online; just type “Upside Down Cake” into your
favorite search engine and check out the myriad of results.

** Make sandwich rolls with the meats or cheese on the outside and the bread (tortillas, lavash or any flat breads work well) on the inside. Or serve mini-burgers with the meat on the outside and a piece of a bun on the inside. Slice a hot dog in half and put it on the outside of a half of a hot dog bun. Make sure you have lots of napkins on hand!

** Serve foods in opposite-size helpings. In other words, have a huge bowl of dip with a tiny bowl of potato chips next to it, the reverse of what is customary. Or, have a cookie tray with 12 shot glasses of milk on it and next to it have a large drinking glass with five or six cookies inside it. Consider these “stunt” foods — meant to emphasize the theme as
well as to actually be eaten.

Be sure to take lots of photos, too . . . with your guests’ backs to the camera! It may not be a Super Bowl theme, but it is guaranteed to be a super party that your guests will remember for years to come!