Parties: Howdy Pardner! Cowboy Party

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

For Riley's 3rd birthday, we just had to have the ubiquitous cowboy party... some themes just HAVE to receive a workout. We loved it.


This was one of my most favourite invitations ever. I designed a set of saloon doors (you could use a graphic or photo) and printed them onto card then cut them out and pasted the side posts only onto brown card stock.

The doors flipped open and inside I pasted RILEY IS 3! and a cut out of his face wearing a cowboy hat, also printed out and pasted onto card stock. I attached his face using two strips of card folded into a consertina spring, so that when the recipient opened the doors, Riley's face would pop out. 

On the back of the invitation were all the party details, printed onto white paper and glued to the brown card stock.

Cowboy costumes are super easy - of course, we had Riley in his cowskin pants and leather-look vest and sherrif's hat. Ella only needed a simple fringed skirt and vest trimmed with red rickrack, a headband and feather, and she was a gorgeous little squaw.

As apartment living room in Beijing was a really large space, we filled it with helium balloons in red white and blue to make decorating easy. I also made easy-peasy paperchains (LOVE paperchains!) from red white and blue paper - clipped together with staples. These looked really effective.

Horseshoes cut from black cardboard lead up to our entryway, and went up the walls and even onto the ceiling!

Next was a large cactus made from pieces of green paper, and on one cabinet we stuck WANTED posters with a space for kids' faces. At the end of the party, we printed off photos of the kids' faces and stuck them onto the poster for the kids to take home.

I think fabric is brilliant for party decorating. A tablecloth in checked red and white, 'cowhide' or faux fur fabrics covering furniture or tables, even fluffy sheepskin rugs on the floor, lend authenticity. If you can access hay bales and a saddle, these would look amazing. 

Kids don't eat a lot of food at parties, so I always keep it super simple. We had hotdogs and chicken strips, sandwich stacks speared with mini wooden forks, corn chips and crudites with dips. We had cut fruit and cookies in the shape of sheriff badges and watermelon lollipops.
I rarely put the food out to start with, especially if the kids are really little. They will start nibbling and end up with too full tummies - not a good look when the games begin. I always put the cake on display so people can start fantasizing over how great it's going to taste!

These super-easy favours were wrapped in red bandannas and tied with thin rope. I created a sherrif's badge and printed it onto card stock, cut it out and threaded it onto the rope. Each child's name was printed onto the favour and contents included lollies and western-themed goodies and stickers.

Games are so easy for this age group - pass the parcel, pin the flower on the cactus (you could have pin the badge on the sherrif), musical statues. The kids ran around like madness, too - and this is what they love most. Helium balloons are a superlative toy.

What I love about this cake is that is sends me back to the '60s. These are the kinds of cakes our mothers used to make, and although they're simple, they're so retro cool.

Start with a square slab. Ice it with butter icing and press finger cookies all around the edges. Place desiccated coconut in a Ziploc bag with green food colouring, shake and massage the coconut until you get the desired grass colour. Press to the top of the cake.

Decorate with gorgeous Western-style figurines and pipe on the birthday child's age, if desired, or you could use a number candle.

Riley loved this party and although I was reluctant to do something so stock standard, it turned out wonderfully well. Sometimes simple is best.


Tiny Concept said...

Love it! I am so inspired for Mav's birthday this year!!

Alex said...

Wow, that all looks so fantastic!
Nice work :)

Anonymous said...

cool ideas - great party! we have a cowboy/cowgirl theme party coming up too...not quite sure if it will live up to this one :)

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