Planning a last-minute election party? Here are some hot tips

If you want to have a get together tonight, and haven't given it a moment's thought before now, you now have everything you need to have an election party that can be fun and engaging for your guests. Let's snap to it!

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Are you one to wait until the very last minute to do anything that it’s possible to do last-moment? Don’t worry. Many highly-functioning individuals, such as Madonna and even former president Bill Clinton, are famous for their lack of detailed planning and tendency to wing things and go with their gut. So, if you have been thinking of planning an election night party, but are just getting around to it, take heart! You are in good company as a seat-of-your-pants host or hostess — and these respected sites have outlined top tips for watching the election returns in style regardless of the amount of thought put into the event.

Over on The Atlantic, writer Jen Doll offers her ideas on “How to Throw a Completely Last-Minute Election Night Party,” comforting those with such an interest with the words: “You’ve been so busy, with work and the storm and personal things, it’s not your fault, not at all. We don’t blame you.” Neither do I.

Doll’s best tips include keeping the food offerings simple with pizza and chopped veggies, all readily available in most metropolises, while making sure you have an interesting mix of companions to keep the conversation scintillating. Who wants a room full of Democrats, or conversely all Republicans, who totally agree on the political issues? Bo-ring. Try to mix up the crowd a bit — but not too much — and it will be an eventful night. Even if there was “no time to special order cupcakes with Paul Ryan’s face on them or handfrosted Obama and Romney cookies,” as Doll puts it. You can still have a good time.

Esteemed urban living blog Apartment Therapy suggests easy-to-prepare theme foods for each candidate. “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,” the site suggests. “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.”

But Apartment Therapy’s best idea is actually a cocktail. Some election party planners recommend red and blue drinks (created with food coloring) to represent the colors of the parties that will dot the map as each state is announced as a Democratic or Republican win. Yet Apartment Therapy keeps it classy by offering up a smooth-sounding drink called the “El Presidente.” A rum-based concoction, “The history of this drink dates back to heyday of Old Havana when Americans under Prohibition went in search of rum and some fun in the sun. A jaunt down to Cuba delivered a dose of both,” author Maureen C. Petrosky writes about the yummy-sounding treat.

Of course, other things to consider are music (for lagging moments in the poll counts) and activities, which can include ice breaking games, or providing your guests with maps to track the states won.

And if you have a little extra time, you can pick up a few pieces of what the Aphrochic blog deems “Electoral Decor,” using pillows, buttons, or even little statues that feature your favorite candidate to quickly decorate your space. The Michelle Obama shopper featured on the site would make a great party favor, and is available on store shelves in many cities.

So if you want to have a get together tonight, and haven’t given it a moment’s thought before now, you now have everything you need to have an election party that can be fun and engaging for your guests. It’s not too late. Let’s snap to it!

Will you be planning a last-minute election party? If so, leave your comments below, and let us know how your guests are enjoying it.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.