Come election night, you can't just plop yourself on the couch and watch those talking heads prattle on and on. We have a better idea. Whip up these easy -- and patriotic -- snacks, invite your friends over and prepare for many happy returns.
tips + how-tos
SET THE SCENE
Hang fabric around a bar table to create a virtual voting booth -- serve up booze "liberally" or "conservatively."
Create buttons naming each dish for a culinary take on campaigning.
Let 'em raise their glasses with pride! Slap circular stickers representing each guest’s favored candidate on drink cups.
Vote of Confidence
Send invitations disguised as ballots and ask guests to cast their votes for a good time.
When the party's over, hand out your own version of an exit poll. Instead of quizzing guests on their voting habits, just write a quick "Thanks for coming!" and include the night's dessert recipe.
STATE OF PLAY
Make a real game of the political circus with these election-inspired ideas.
Those victory speeches are all about the entrance song, and your election-night tunes are just as important. Sure, you could throw together an obvious playlist. (Much as we love The Boss, we're kinda over politicos co-opting him.) Or you could get creative: Before the big night, tell guests to imagine that they're candidates and e-mail you their choices for campaign theme songs. Mix the answers into an eclectic playlist.
While guests are thinking of their perfect theme songs, they might as well have good one-liners, too! Ask everyone to bring T-shirts with original slogans on them, and see who can sell a candidate.
Demand a Recount
Leave the actual tallying to the pros. Instead, make your own projections -- but not about the winner. Vote on how many times you think you'll hear election buzzwords such as "change," "issues" and "demographic." Keep count throughout the night. (Winner gets first dibs on dessert.) It'll keep things lively, even when results are slow to come in.
Map It Out
Get online and print blank maps of the U.S., then leave a pile of red and blue crayons out so guests can color in each state as winners are declared. If you really want to rile things up, make your red friends color in only the blue states, and vice versa!
Whose Line Is It?
Can't decide between everyone's cable-news allegiances? Catch the spirit of democracy -- switch to a different station after each state is decided. Fans of Jim Lehrer, Anderson Cooper and Bill O'Reilly will all be happy.
Do you have what it takes to be a candidate? Put your presidential potential to the test.
1. I prefer to interact with new people by _____.
a. Chatting over coffee
b. Shaking hands on my way out the door
c. Smiling from a distance
2. I'm really craving _____.
a. The local diner's meatloaf special
b. The $1,000-a-plate special at my fundraising gala
c. Burgers on the press bus
3. I look best dressed in _____.
a. Classic navy blue or black
b. Bright colors (previously polled and OK'd by my staff)
c. Striped shorts and my favorite Hawaiian-print shirt
4. When someone disagrees with me, I _____.
a. Politely wait my turn, then offer counterpoints
b. Look impatient, then offer counterpoints
5. I need to sleep for _____.
a. At least 20 minutes on the bus between stump-speech locations
b. Six hours a night (or four with lots of caffeine)
c. 14 hours a night -- is that too much?
Did you answer...
Keep your eye on 2012 -- you're good to go!
You're a little rough around the edges now, but you could totally rock the vote.
The Long Shot
Really, what's so great about leading the free world, anyway?