As we've seen with elections past, it can be a long night. So why not put the party back in political party and plan an election night blowout? Hand out the tally sheets, turn up C-SPAN and wear your alliance on your sleeve (or skivvies).

"It's the most important day of the year for the country," says Mark Ritchie, a coordinator for the November 2 campaign, a nonpartisan effort to get out the vote. So serve pigs-in-the-blanket speared by American flags, hang streamers and wear your candidate belt buckle with pride.

And think of the party as one last pitch. "In this emotionally intense election year, we know people are looking for support for their point of view, as well as trying hard to persuade their undecided friends to come to their camp," says Melinda Konopko, co-founder of, an online party supply source. "So you might as well make the anxiety-laden process of watching the returns come in as fun as possible. Will your undecided friends really want to vote the other side if they are coming to your party? A great bash may be just the thing to sway their vote."

-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond

Jill's Custom Cookies election night gift basket in Republican and Democratic flavors ($125 for 18) from or 703-532-0905.Below, clockwise from left: Patriotic toothpicks, $4 for 40 at; ribbed political tanks, $30 at; Democratic and Republican cocktail napkins, $8 for 50 at; "Candidate in a Box: Wink, Smile and Charm Your Way Into Office" kit, includes balloons and streamers, $6.95 at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW; "Vote," "Kerry" and "Bush" belts, $50 at; plastic pickup elephants ($6 for 12) and pin the tail on the donkey ($18) at; political undies, $18 at