Monthly Archives: September 2017

    • Top 8 Tips for a Chili Cook-Off

      Planning a chili cook off? Whether at your work, your church, or at home with family and friends, hosting a cook off can be a daunting task, believe me, I know.  Every year we host a chili cookoff for our group of college friends and we even did a chili cook-off for our holiday party here at Trophies2Go one year!

      Below I've shared my favorite tricks I've learned from hosting chili cook-offs.  I hope they help you with planning your competition.  It starts with a little preparation ahead of time and then having the right tools at the event.

      Top 8 Tips For A Chili Cook Off

      Make it easy by serving in crock pots. Make it easy by serving in crock pots.

      1. Serve Chili In Crockpots. Have your contestants bring their chili entry in a crock pot, then plug in the pot to reheat. You can use cute numbers to label each entry so that it's a blind tasting.

      2. Extension cords. It's helpful to have a couple of extension cords handy in case you don’t have enough power outlets. Also, with all of the crock pots plugged in, be aware of blowing a fuse. We haven't had this problem at our events, but it's good to have a plan just in case.

      3. Dish Up The Chili For Your Judges. In my experience, it gets quite busy in the kitchen, with guests or judges dishing up their chili and everyone milling around. My solution is to create a plate of numbered taster cups and dish up the entries ahead of time (see below).

      4. Use Taster Cups. Before guests arrive, I prepare my "taster cups". I tape small plastic or paper cups onto a paper plate with the entry number written in sharpie on each cup. At the event, I fill each taster cup with the correct entry, leaving a spot in the middle of the plate for a palate cleanser, such as crackers, cornbread, or corn chips.

      Small tasting cups attached to paper plates are a great way to serve chili for judging. Small tasting cups attached to paper plates are a great way to serve chili for judging.

      Also, be sure to judge the chili with the correct accompaniments. For example, if the chef wants cheese added to the top of his/her chili, by all means add it when filling the cups.

      After filling with chili, I hand out the plates to the judges. This not only eliminates chaos in the kitchen, but it also disguises whos chili is whos. After judging is over, everyone can go back for a bowl (or two) of their favorite.

      5. Have Enough Serving Utensils. Each chili entry needs its own ladle and spoon. Ladles work great to dish up bowls of chili, but are too big to fill taster cups. Instead use a smaller teaspoon for that task.

      6. Create An Easy Way to Judge. For our cookoff, we give each person 2 poker chips. They have 2 votes for their favorite chili. Adults get one color of chip, the kids get a different color. Then votes are counted and prizes are awarded. I've also seen score sheets used. They can be found online at Chica and Jo's website.

      An engraved cutting board makes the perfect prize for your chili champ!

      7. Ad Hype With Prizes and Awards. That’s where we come in! We offer chili cook off awards in every price range, from blue ribbons to engraved cutting boards. Browse the chili section of our website to see all the choices. My favorite is the Annual Chili Cook-Off Trophy; that's what I will give the winners at our chili cookoff later this month.

      8. Don't Forget The Decorations! This is what adds the extra touch to your competition. Ideas for chili cookoff decorations include chili peppers, stock pots and southwestern themed décor. Having an occasion to decorate for is always fun too - such as hosting on a football game day or someone's birthday. Check out our Trophies2Go Chili Cookoff pinterest page for even more ideas!

      I hope these 8 tips help you plan the perfect event. Feel free to share what worked for you, or if you have other ideas, add them below. Wishing you a wonderful chili cook-off!

      Cheers, Jessica

      Editor's Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2014.  It has been updated for content.

    • Halloween Costume Party Award Ideas

      Ready to host a Halloween Party?  Get ideas at today’s blog post for hosting a  Halloween Costume Party!  I'm going to be tailoring this post to an adult party; If you want to read about kid’s party ideas, read my past post Prizes and Awards for Halloween Contests.


      Mummy Halloween Trophy Our hand painted mummy trophy will be a hit at your Halloween costume party!

      Besides your invite list, the first thing to figure out is a theme.  At my costume party last year my theme was "Halloween", original, I know.  If I host one again this year, I would definitely choose a theme so my guests can plan their costumes and people can get creative!  Some possible themes include:

      Well Known Couples: There are thousands of combinations from history, pop culture or even items that go together (think Salt & Pepper, Peanut Butter & Jelly)  I found great couples costumes for sale at Costume Craze to spark your imagination.

      TV Shows/Movies: Game of Thrones, Marvel characters, NFL Football, Walking Dead, anything popular could be included.

      Monster Party: Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein: everyone comes in a "dead" costume, with fake blood and gore.

      Star Trek vs. Star Wars:  Epic battle for the best iconic (and nerdiest) Sci Fi space adventure!

      Nightmare Before Christmas: Make a creepy Christmas theme just like the movie.

      All About the 80's:  Movies and Music.  Think hair bands, Devo, Top Gun, 16 Candles; so many ways to get creative!

      Food & Drink:

      Halloween Finger foods Halloween "finger foods" are easy to eat and don't require plates or utensils!

      I’m always a fan of food - and especially drinks - at a party.  People get munchie and it's a great opportunity to reinforce your theme with creative snacks and cocktails!

      Food:  Apps and small finger foods are always good to have as they are easy to eat and don't require plates and silverware.  Punchbowl has a list of “finger food” recipes that are perfect for your guests to snack on. There are tons of cute Halloween food ideas online, Pinterest is a great source.

      Drinks:  I'm always a fan of a tasty themed cocktail.  Get “bloody” Halloween cocktail recipes here and again there's always ideas on Pinterest.  It's really the best for finding fun drink recipes!


      Competition is a great way to get your guests involved in your party as long as you have a prize for the winner!   We create many Halloween awards for “Best Costume” and here are some possible categories to include at your next Halloween party.

      Best Costume Categories Include:  "Scariest Costume", "This costume fits my personality", "Cutest Costume", "Va Va Voom!" or "Sexiest Costume", "Most Creative Costume", "People’s Choice", "Funniest Costume", "Best Group Costume", "Penny Pincher", "Best Couple", "Most Original", and lastly "Cheesiest Costume".

      This year our Graphic Designer Lori N has created some awesome limited-edition, hand-painted Halloween trophies, perfect for your contest winner.  We offer fabulous green witches, grinning jack-o-lanterns, wrapped mummies and creepy zombies!  Also check out our custom Halloween medals, a perfect best costume prize!

      For more ideas, check out Halloween Party Ideas from Punchbowl, they have tons of great suggestions to get your creativity flowing.  Also check out our Trophies2Go pinterest page where I’ve pinned cute decorating ideas, recipes, crafts and also my favorite trophies and medals for a costume contest.  I hope your Halloween is full of treats, that's no trick!

      Cheers! Jessica




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    Trophies Awards