Spring is all about blossoming flowers and warm weather, right? Think again: whether you’re a casual basketball fan or a hardcore enthusiast, nothing gets you stoked like March Madness. What could be more exciting than an NCAA basketball tournament featuring dozens of the nation’s most talented teams? There’s the excitement of buzzer beaters, shocking upsets, and, of course, at least one or two Cinderella stories…what’s not to love?

Watching at home can be a blast, but it’s even better in the company of fellow fans. A basketball-themed party can be a slam dunk hit with everyone, featuring hoops-themed appetizers, DIY decorations, and uproarious party games. Keep reading for the ultimate in March Madness party ideas — you’ll learn how to make game day a remarkable experience.


An NCAA tournament watch party is easy to style and decorate, given the vibrant colors and logos that adorn the jerseys of each team. Balloons and streamers lend a festive flair to any occasion — and a Final Four fiesta is no different. Load up on balloons featuring the team colors of the Final Four participants. Be sure to pop them once a team is eliminated.

Want to get really crazy? Toss out a streamer after every slam dunk, acrobatic layup, or three-point shot — and watch as your party headquarters quickly fills up with color.

Team pennants give the proceedings a decidedly collegiate look, which can be enhanced with banners sporting each team’s fight song. Go the extra mile and decorate your March Madness party headquarters with table settings that can be found on-court during the big games themselves.

Mini-basketballs, novelty buzzers (mimicking the shot clock), and basketball court napkins will give everything an added dose of flair. Stocking up on these essentials is easy: hit up your local party supplies store and grab all the basketball banners, streamers, and basketball party decorations available.

Ready to go the extra mile? See how your party guests size up against the on-court competition with life-sized cardboard cutouts. These could feature the star center on your favorite team, a beloved mascot, or even a snarling coach. Wall decals and murals are also an option if you need a larger-than-life display.

Balloons for an NCAA March Madness tournament celebration.

NCAA Tournament balloons” by bp6316 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Food And Drinks

The best March Madness party wouldn’t be complete without a wide assortment of snacks and drinks. Thankfully, March Madness lends itself perfectly to a number of tasty treats. Need a crowd-pleasing dessert? A basketball cake decorated with team logos is sure to be a hit. Cupcakes with orange frosting and black piping can put the ball in the hands of hungry basketball fans looking for a snack. If you need something savory, go beyond the usual chips and dip: basketball-shaped sliders will please burger lovers looking for something more filling.

The regional nature of the NCAA tournament allows for a huge variety of cocktails and mixed drinks. Rooting for a team from Kentucky? Sounds like a mint julep is in order. Perhaps a basketball team from New York is going on a deep tournament run? Nothing will match a Manhattan. No matter what teams make it all the way to the Final Four, there’s always a mixed drink or regional cocktail available to please guests.

Regional foods can also be the star of the show in a gameday buffet sporting items like Carolina gold chicken tenders, Buffalo wings, New York-style pizza, and more. Every basketball game provides an exciting opportunity to bring out a regional dish, giving party patrons another reason to stay for the entire tournament.



Fans, players, and coaches all have a defined look that simply must be recreated for maximum March Madness party enjoyment. Direct cheers at the players and jeers at the officials, while the coaches stay out of harm’s way in their finest suits and turtlenecks. If jerseys, zebra shirts, and sport coats are out of the question, a healthy splash of team colors will also work. There’s no wrong way to show off school spirit and team pride, as long as you’re having fun while doing so.

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March Madness basketball festivities always begin with supporters and non-fans alike filling out their March Madness brackets. This turns every game into a spectacle that has ramifications for everyone at the party. Amp up the competition by offering prizes for whoever has the most correct predictions at the end of the night — or at the end of the tournament. Other options include:


Trivia games are a great way to spend halftime or that period in-between matchups. Once again, offer prizes that will entice guests to put on their thinking caps and recall their own college days. Don’t be surprised if this activity functions as the perfect icebreaker.

Cutout Basketball

While a basketball hoop indoors might be a tough sell, you can always construct your own DIY version and implement it into a basketball-themed photo booth. Have you or your guests ever wanted to look like you’re soaring through the air en route to a massive slam dunk? It’s possible with some ingenuity, camera trickery, and friends willing to do some heavy lifting!

Costume Contests

Modern players love tricking out their fit with accessories, so why not enjoy this trend yourself? Make a game out of how many headbands one person can fit on their noggin, while others participate in a shortest shorts or baggiest uniform contest. Don’t forget to pose the winners alongside your basketball-themed cardboard cutouts.


Prepare for the Ultimate March Madness Party

The best NCAA tournament party combines the raucous atmosphere of a Sunday tailgate with the local civic engagement of a high school pep rally. Festive basketball party favors, delicious snacks, and hilarious games can go a long way toward creating an unforgettable watch party. Add custom cutouts and BigHeads to the mix to make your March Madness party a wild ride. Get started today by uploading photos of your favorite athletes — or reach out to learn more about these party essentials.


  • Jason Frank

    Jason Frank is the Co-Founder and Vice President at Cardboard Cutout Standees. After 25 years of selling factory automation he started the company with one of his college roommates. The company has grown to one of the largest providers of large format custom printed products in the United States. Along with the namesake cardboard cutout standees, they also provide BigHeads, Point of Purchase Displays, Wall Murals, and Wall Decals to a diverse client base across the US and Canada. When not focused on the business, you usually find Jason either on the road biking or our in the woods and fields of western Wisconsin.

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