Buttons and banners have always been a part of presidential paraphernalia, but what about soda, ice cream and address labels? TODAY contributor Elizabeth Mayhew explains how to take advantage of the available merchandise and throw an election night party with many happy returns.
The invite: Stick it to your constituents
For clever semi-custom invitations, order preprinted return-address stickers from Felix Doolittle ($20 for 30 stickers). Stick one sticker on each card (cards and envelopes from Paper Source) with the time and date of your party, then mail them to your guests. You can use leftover stickers as return-address labels for the months to come.
Go patriotic with your table designs
Start by covering your table with white paper — this will make cleanup easy. You want to be watching the returns, not worrying about spills. You may have leftover red, white and blue party goods from your Fourth of July celebration. If so, put them to use now, and don’t save them for next year's fireworks display!
If you have to make some purchases, stick to the patriotic colors. Mix together red, white and blue plates and napkins from Caspari and pair them with plastic cups with the candidates’ names printed on them — $18 for 10 from Plum Party. You can conduct your own mini-election by asking your guests to choose the cup with their candidate’s name printed on it.
In addition, order several cases of Jones Soda’s Campaign Cola. The bottles feature labels with the candidates’ pictures on them, and are available for $15 per case from Campaign Cola.
Create a centerpiece by filling plain glass vases with red, white and blue M&M’s. To take the theme all the way, go to My M&M’s and have the candies printed with party logos, donkeys and elephants.
The sweet taste of victory (and dessert)
For dessert, serve Ba-“Rock” Candy and McCandy Cane candy ice-cream balls. Scoop ice cream into balls, place in freezer on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet until set. Remove from freezer and roll each ball in rock candy or crushed candy canes. Place back on cookie sheet and freeze until ready to serve.
Alternatively, purchase limited-edition pints of either Straight Talk Crunch (McCain) or Whirl of Change (Obama) from your local Baskin-Robbins.
Invite the candidates
Wow your guests with life-size, high-definition precision-cut images of the two candidates. The graphic images are made of easy-to-put-up vinyl so they won’t damage your walls ($80 for Obama or McCain cutouts from Fathead).
Alternatively, have a digital camera or Polaroid handy so you can take pictures of your guests rubbing shoulders with their favorite candidate — or at least next to the cardboard cutout of their favorite candidate ($33 each from Advanced Graphics).
Are you smarter than the candidates?
For entertainment between election recaps and return updates, play election trivia. You can find all kinds of presidential trivia at a number of Web sites:
- Secrets about the presidents
- Just for fun: Presidential trivia
- Presidential trivia from Infoplease
- Famous left-handers
Give your guests some lip service in case their candidate got licked
Famed chocolatier Jacques Torres created white-chocolate lollipops for each candidate: orange-flavored Democratic donkeys and lime-infused Republican elephants ($5 each at Jacques Torres Chocolate).
For the women at the party, splurge on Stila’s Rock the Vote Red Lip Color (wouldn’t Sarah Palin love it?). The good news is that 25 percent of proceeds from the first 500 sold will be donated to Rock the Vote in support of their efforts to get young people involved in the political process.