Despite all the debates, poll-checking, and political mailings, somehow election day snuck up on me. Inevitably, my boyfriend and I are going to be glued to the tube, and it dawned on me that perhaps some of our friends would like to make the nail-biting a communal activity. Here are some ideas I've come up with to turn election night into a last-minute party.
Food: For a last-minute party, it's probably best to keep it simple. Here are some candidate-themed foods that won't take too long to whip up.
For Obama, you could set up a Chicago-style hot dog bar (just don't supply ketchup if there's a real Chicagoan in the room; trust me). The ingredients are pretty easy to source, and this way, guests can customize their food. If you don't want to supply a whole meal, try making a quick and easy Chicago snack — maybe your own caramel corn as a riff on the ever-popular Garrett's Corn.
For Romney, you could prepare New England Clam Chowder (or Fish Chowder, if the clams aren't readily accessible). If you want something a bit sweeter, you could opt for a cranberry dessert, since the cranberry is Massachusetts' state fruit, or you could try your hand at a no-bake Boston Cream Pie or Boston Cream Cupcakes.
If you want to represent libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, go for southwestern fare, perhaps Mexican chicken soup, easy slow-cooker carnitas (start these as soon as you decide to host!), or a simple dish of guacamole as a snack.
For Green Party candidate Jill Stein, you could make a green-themed salad with avacado, pepitas, and other all-green ingredients, or you could opt for this creamy green-pea dip or kale chips.
Beverages: If you're looking to spice things up with some American-themed cocktails, try the El Presidente, the Americano, or any of the "Great American Cocktail Crawl" recipes from The Kitchn.
As for me, I'll be choosing an array of good American craft beers. I'm fortunate enough to live down the street from Revolution Brewing, so I know where my election-night loyalties will lie, but there are a lot of great options out there.
Activities: I've never been that into party games, but on election night, I really like keeping track as the votes come in. It could be fun to make a few print-outs of these maps, pick up some dollar-store crayon sets, and fill in the reds and blues as they are reported.
Music: If all the commentary gets to be overwhelming, you could mute the TV and stay in the mood with some Americana tunes. I put this music mix together for 4th of July, but I think it works just as well in this context.
Do you have any other ideas or suggestions for a last-minute get-together?