How to Throw a Debate-Watching Party

Whether your blood runs red or blue, the presidential and vice presidential debates will be quite the nail-biters. What better reason to throw a party? Here's how.
by Brianne DiSylvester

Lay Out the Guest List

Decide whether the party will be open to all political schools of thought or whether you'll be throwing more of a one-sided candidate support party. If you and most of your friends share the same political views, the latter is probably your best bet. But then again, if you have a handful of friends who are vying for Obama and another group going for McCain, invite all of them. Just make sure that the balance stays about even.

Fun Ideas:

Hit up to send out casual invites and start a pre-party message board forum to get everyone talking politics. Create your own invite style or choose from Evite's elephant- and donkey-themed designs. If you're more old-school when it comes to invites, check local boutiques for witty political stationery, or create your own and mail them out.

Plan Your Menu

Because everyone will be gathered around the tube during the party, think bite-size menu selections like veggies and dip, pita and hummus, cookies, and anything else that's easy to set up on the coffee table.

Fun Ideas:

Honor your favorite candidate by serving their favorite foods. John McCain reportedly likes shrimp, enchiladas, baby back ribs, and doughnuts; Barack Obama is said to love chili, Chicago-style pizza, and pumpkin pie. Of course, it'd be odd to serve these all together, so choose one and center your menu around it. If you're having a party with supporters of both sides, then plan a bipartisan, all-American menu. Fire up the grill and serve hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken. Or go for easy-to-eat pigs in a blanket and sliders. And don't forget the chips and potato salad.

Come Up With Drink Offerings

You'll definitely want to have drinks on hand to help loosen the crowd, especially in the case of a mixed group. Just make sure you also have nonalcoholic versions of each for those who are going to be driving home afterward.

Fun Ideas:

Fill up a cooler with American beer brands like Budweiser, Coors, Miller, and Pabst Blue Ribbon -- no glasses needed. Or serve red, white, and blue cocktails.

Comfortable White for the Independents

- 1 oz. peach liqueur

- 5 oz. white grape juice

Blue Thrill for the Democrats

- 1 oz. vodka

- 1/4 oz. lemon juice

- 2 to 3 dashes each of triple sec and Blue Curacao liqueur

- top with champagne

Sweet Red for the Republicans

- 1 oz. vodka

- 1/2 oz. peach schnapps

- 1/2 oz. Midori melon liqueur

- 1/2 oz. strawberry syrup

- 1/2 oz. lime juice

- 2 oz. orange juice

- top with fresh strawberries

Don't Forget the Music

There will be plenty of down time before and after the debates as well as during commercial breaks. At these times, mute the TV and turn on a little background music lighten the mood.

Fun Ideas:

Create a soundtrack for the night with some of McCain's and Obama's favorite bands. McCain favors oldies like ABBA, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra. Obama likes jazz music but has also been said to keep his iPod fresh with Beyonce, Kanye West,, The Rolling Stones, and Nina Simone.

Share your political views with other brides on the Election 2008 message board !

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