UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

How to throw an election night party

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Nov. 8 people all around the country will be casting their ballots for the next President of the United States. This year, with no incumbent running, a brand-new person will be elected into office. After you vote, celebrate the fact that you, as an American, have participated in this democratic process. Instead of watching the results roll in alone, invite your friends over for an election night party.

First, decide who to invite to the party. This is the one night of the year where it is OK to bring up politics in conversation, but you may want to invite friends who can keep the conversation friendly. If your friends lean

Graphic: Ballot with republican party, democratic party and cocktail party selections with cocktail party selected.
Graphic created by The Signal reporter Lindsay Floyd.

to one side of the political spectrum, you might not want to invite the outspoken uncle who leans to the other side. On the other hand, inviting friends with different political affiliations can be exciting and spark friendly debate.

Sandy Samaan, president of UHCL’s Political Science Student Organization, believes inviting friends from both sides of the political spectrum keeps things interesting at your party.

“Diversity of opinions is important and, with this election especially, supporters of both presidential candidates should be represented and heard,” Samaan said.

Set the mood by decorating for the festivities. Luckily, election night decorations can be easy; break out the Fourth of July decorations for easy and cheap embellishments for your election night revelries. Red, white and blue anything will do. Party City has plenty of republican, democrat and election-themed decorations. Have fun with your guests by having them wear Hillary or Donald masks. Go the do-it-yourself route and make patriotic centerpieces. Kathy Reynolds, owner and decorator at K&A Artistic Events, suggests using red and white flowers, and a blue, or striped blue ribbon, around a glass vase. Reynolds also offers tips to elevate the look of your party without breaking the bank.

“I prefer to use china-like plastic wear and silver-like plastic dinner wear when not using real china and silverware,” Reynolds said. “For china-like plates, you could get white or ivory with a silver or gold rim.”

Samaan believes no election night party is complete without games. Turn election night into more than a viewing party by playing games as the results are announced. Test your guests’ knowledge with political-themed trivia to play during slow times. Bet on swing states or what color the new POTUS will wear. Set up “Pin the tail on the donkey,” but keep it fair with “Pin the trunk on the elephant” set up next to it.

If you plan on serving alcohol, have guests play the election night drinking game. Try to keep the debate friendly, but if things get tense have guests duel it out with red and blue light sabers or pool floats to lighten the mood.

Food and beverages can be as simple as red and blue punch with American flag toothpicks in snacks. Americana type snacks will do for your election night party. Serve popcorn or hotdogs for cheap, easy all-American snacks. Apple pie is another all-American snack, you can pick up a pre-made one at the grocery store or impress your guests by making one from scratch if time permits.

If you want to serve alcohol, consider drinks with names like Red Stripe and Blue Moon and, maybe, include a champagne toast when the winner is announced. If you really want to impress your guests, you can make these Hillary and Donald inspired drinks from liquor.com:

The Donald

Tall and golden like a gilded casino tower, this choice is anything but subtle.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • .5 oz Goldschläger gold-leaf cinnamon schnapps
  • Orange juice

Garnish: Orange wheel and cotton candy

Pour the vodka and Goldschläger into an ice-filled Collins glass, and top with the orange juice. Garnish with an orange wheel and big puff of cotton candy.

The Hillary

A riff on the classic Democrat cocktail, this option’s a little stiffer than the one you might ordinarily choose.

  • 2.5 oz gin
  • 1.5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • .5 oz peach liqueur
  • 5 oz honey syrup*
  • Soda water

Garnish: Lemon wheel

Pour all of the ingredients except the soda water into an ice-filled Collins glass, stir, and top with the soda water. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

*Honey syrup: Heat equal parts honey and water in a small saucepan, and stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Cool and store refrigerated for up to 1 week.