Every four years, our Constitution affords us an opportunity for things to get utterly ridiculous. Amidst heated debates, Facebook feuds and ideological divisions between the best of friends, we forget that every election is a reason to celebrate another season of vigorous debates.

Here’s the deal: as my mom would say, “I don’t give a hill of beans what side you’re on.” But I sure do like to celebrate democracy and I think this year, especially, deserves some lightheartedness. Celebrate like it’s 1787 (that’s when the Constitution was signed!) and have your friends from both sides of the aisle over for a debate watch party, complete with wine, appetizers and all the donkey and elephant paraphernalia you can find.

The 2016 debates will be held on:

Monday, September 26

Tuesday, October 4 (Vice Presidential)

Sunday, October 9

Wednesday, October 19

That means you’ve got plenty of time to plan for a friendly fiesta that will lift spirits, and we’ve got a few suggestions to get you on the path to getting elected President of the Watch Party.

Invite Etiquette

No pun intended. While you may want to consider following the rules of formal invitation for this soiree, you also want to expressly ask your guests to bring their own etiquette and political politeness. Include some quirky ground rules on the back of your invitation.

Some examples include:

“I WANT YOU…to refrain from name-calling.”

“Mind the moderator at all times.”

“Campaigning is for the streets, not my kitchen.”

You can set the tone for a fun and spirited evening, while still reminding guests that civility is essential to a good time. I like this template from Wolcott Designs that makes your invitation simply presidential.

Cast Ballots

No matter your menu, your wine selection for the evening should offer guests something tasty to relax any tensions and accentuate the delectables you’ve prepared. Perhaps you’re going for lighter finger-food fare, and have a selection of pinot noir, rosé and chardonnay. Create miniature ballots and have guests elect their favorite. Tally up the votes and reveal the winner at the night’s end.

Debate Bingo

We all know there are a few quirky things we can expect from the candidates, the moderator and the network during the debate. Design custom bingo sheets using something like Bingo Baker. Fill the squares with cute and funny things guests are likely to hear or see during the debate.

It’s important to keep these squares light and laughable. The debate is sure to get serious, but with a fun game to keep everyone chuckling, you’ll keep the mood up. Consider giving away a bottle of wine to the winner!

Star-Spangled Decoration

Since we only get this opportunity every four years, a presidential debate party should be a star-spangled affair. Bear in mind that red, white and blue are bold colors, and it can be easy to overdo a patriotic motif.  Include a few items that are the focal point of your theme. Bound to Be Loved has made-to-order wine glasses for both major parties that are sure to impress, and your local craft and party stores are likely to have some items just for this election season, including pins and masks for an in-home photo booth!

Rock the Vote

At the end of the day, it’s important that someone gets your vote. For friends who are eligible to vote, set up an iPad or laptop, and give them a chance to register to vote or update their registration. It’s an interactive and empowering element that will make election day smooth sailing for your guests. Rock the Vote has become something of a hip campaign to register to vote, and they make it super simple.