Five things you need for the per­fect elec­tion night party,

Toronto Star - - FRONT PAGE - Vi­nay Menon

So you’re host­ing an elec­tion night party.

Great idea. No matter who wins the U.S. pres­i­dency, I think we can agree on this: Thank God it’s over. Raise a glass to no more polls. Throw con­fetti at the chan­de­lier to cel­e­brate the end of binge-watch­ing CNN. Break out the noise­mak­ers, bal­loons, fancy nap­kins and, de­pend­ing on how this ends, the de­fib­ril­la­tors.

Democ­racy is like a fam­ily mem­ber. You love Democ­racy. You’ll al­ways be there for Democ­racy. But some­times Democ­racy makes you wince with shame when it shows up for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner in ill-fit­ting trousers and then gets drunk and bel­liger­ent.

That’s how we’ll re­mem­ber Elec­tion 2016: One in­sanely long and dys­func­tional fam­ily meal dur­ing which the rude out­bursts left ev­ery­one with in­di­ges­tion.

Which can make party plan­ning a lit­tle tricky. You want your guests to en­joy them­selves. But after months of this wretched spec­ta­cle, they will ar­rive at your door as twitch­ing wrecks. Since the stakes are much higher than for a Su­per Bowl or Os­cars bash — “and the Academy Award goes to . . . The End of Days!” — you’ll need to pay care­ful at­ten­tion to the fol­low­ing: Grub The race is closer than it was two weeks ago. Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cake­walk has turned into an emer­gency bake sale and your guests may crave com­fort food. Stock up on child­hood favourites: grilled cheese, spaghetti and meat­balls, Frosted Flakes. You should also keep a stash of smelling salts un­der the couch. Maybe or­der a moist cake that can be eaten by hand as you and your guests re­tire to the Sit­u­a­tion Room (your kitchen) to ei­ther re­joice or take a breather be­fore con­vert­ing the Oval Of­fice (your spare bed­room) into a tem­po­rary home for a nice fam­ily from New Mex­ico or Wis­con­sin as the first wave of Amer­i­can refugees seek­ing po­lit­i­cal asy­lum crosses the bor­der in the weeks ahead. Booze Beer and wine are fine to start the night. But you’ll want to keep harder stuff on hand in the event Megyn Kelly sud­denly ap­pears on TV and says, “Fox News is now pro­ject­ing a Don­ald Trump vic­tory in Florida, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ne­vada and New Hamp­shire.” Vodka mar­ti­nis, gob­lets of gin, tequila shots, trays of Siz­zurp — pre­pare for a 30.4 per cent chance of black­out drink­ing. Be sure to also keep a sturdy net in the shed in case one of your guests climbs a back­yard tree to curse the FBI while guz­zling 100-proof rum straight from the fire-re­tar­dant bot­tle. Games You’ll need some di­ver­sion­ary tac­tics to bridge the gap be­tween polls clos­ing and re­sults emerg­ing. Throw darts at an Elec­toral Col­lege map. Spin the bot­tle when­ever John King hov­ers near his Magic Wall or Nate Sil­ver crunches data on ABC.

Cre­ate a spe­cial ver­sion of Pic­tionary in which guests doo­dle por­traits of ei­ther sci-fi char­ac­ters or talk­ing heads: “Good one! I re­ally thought that was Wolf Bl­itzer. But, yeah, I can now see it’s an Ewok.” Or maybe a game of cha­rades in which the clues are gen­er­ated from the gloomy news hits in re­cent months: “Four words: Trump mock­ing the dis­abled. Two words: Trump ly­ing. Six words: Trump grab­bing women by the (beep)! Eight words: Trump re­fus­ing to con­cede and in­cit­ing Civil War.” Mu­sic Back­ground noise is cru­cial when a pri­mary stim­u­lus is po­ten­tially soul de­stroy­ing. You’ll want a playlist that an­tic­i­pates the crushed spirit of guests from both sides of the po­lit­i­cal di­vide: “Re­quiem for the Masses,” “Crime of the Cen­tury,” “Dazed and Con­fused,” “Ex­treme Ways,” “King of Pain,” “Evil Woman,” “Bor­der Song,” “Road to Nowhere.” The key is to pick songs that can in­spire your guests to tap their toes even as tears shoot out of their eyes. Avoid R&B or any spe­cific tune — “Up­town Funk” — that may re­mind guests of Barack Obama and just how good our beloved neigh­bour to the south had it the past eight years. Loot bags Take­away trin­kets aren’t just for kid­die birth­day par­ties. Your guests de­serve a me­mento of Elec­tion 2016 as they stum­ble into the night, ei­ther with giddy re­lief or sui­ci­dal thoughts.

Fill their part­ing bags with trav­el­sized Advil and Tums, Red Bull, per­son­al­ized at­tack ads, fake tax dis­clo­sures, a Rudy Gi­u­liani bob­ble­head, 33,000 miss­ing emails, nest­ing dolls of Rus­sian hack­ers, “Make Amer­ica Never For­get” caps, mini bot­tles of 100-proof rum and cab chits. Let’s get real: If Clin­ton is not elected Amer­ica’s des­ig­nated driver for the next four years, the black­out drink­ing has just started. vmenon@thes­tar.ca

CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Best be pre­pared to of­fer your guests some strong li­ba­tions in the event of a Trump win, writes Vi­nay Menon.

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