Howdy pardner! Listed below are some great ideas for ma's and pa's on any budget to create a memorable cowboy birthday party for your own 'lil cowpoke!
Purchase several bales of straw to use whether you host your party inside or out
Find appliance boxes to turn into a saloon, jail and general store. You can purchase paper with a stone or wood print to cover them in. You can start with large sheets of white craft paper and either create the look of wood using paint and a graining tool (purchased at craft stores) or you could sponge paint stones.
Cut tombstones from cardboard or posterboard and print silly cowboy epitaphs on them such as:
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
Create a campfire outdoors for the cowboys to sit around or create one indoors with a few logs with crumpled red and orange cellophane stuffed in between them. For a realistic effect, use small LED flashlights or strobes to make it glow.
Purchase an inflatable cactus (or several!) to place around the room.
Print out pictures of cowboy mugshots and make WANTED signs. Print them out in sepia tones and slightly burn the edges for an aged look.
Make wild west town name signs, attach to a stick and stand up in a bucket of sand or can attach signs to walls.
Cover the tables with either bandana print or red/white checkered tablecloths with coordinating napkins. The silverware can be rolled in the napkins and tied with a piece of twine.
Cowboy chili (can be served in small bread bowls)
Baked beans with or without franks
Wagon wheel pasta macaroni & cheese
Corn beef hash
Corn on the cob
Baked potatoes with toppings
Cow Patty Cobbler (recipe below)
Peanut butter haystack candy
Cowboy, hat, boot or cactus shaped sugar cookies
Cactus juice drinks (green Kool-Aid) or juice
Sarsaparilla or Root Beer in glass bottles
Birthday cake or cupcakes decorated in cowboy theme
Pin the tail on the horse or pin the badge on the sheriff
Stack empty soda cans on a ledge and load up a rubber band gun for a shooting gallery.
Game of Horseshoes
Pan for gold
Fill a long, shallow plastic bin with sand. Paint a bunch of small stones with gold paint, let dry and bury in the sand. You can also pour water on top of the sand if you desire and then have kids take turns panning for "gold" with plastic sand strainer.
Kids can make their own leathercraft change purse (can purchase through Oriental trading Co)
Make a wild west themed bracelet (from a kit or make up your own)
If you happen to have a western style boot (if not, they can be purchased for a few dollars at a thrift shop), set the boot on top of a bale of straw and have a snake toss (purchase tiny rubber snakes at a dollar store). The player landing the most snakes inside the boot wins!
Lasso lesson with a lasso the cactus challenge
Hot potato game (save a cooled potato from dinner!)
Play old wild west songs and stop randomly. The person caught holding the hot potato is out. Keep playing until one player remains and award a prize.
Horse, western boot or cactus pinata filled with treatsTie a folded bandana over the player's eyes.
Rattlesnake egg hunt
Blow up small, round balloons slightly, paper maché (leave a small opening and let dry. Insert a rubber snake into each egg and paper maché over the opening. When dry, paint white and hide these around the yard or house.
Ask kids to wear jeans (and any cowboy attire they may own) and provide a dress-up box with boots, cowboy style western shirts, vests etc.
and have the kids dress up and pose for a picture in front of the cardboard saloon etc. After the party, print the photos in sepia tones and mail to guests after the party.
Serve dinner in disposable pie tins
Drinks can be served in inexpensive plastic canteens found at dollar stores
If building an outdoor camp fire, let the kids cook their hot dogs on sticks and toast marshmallows later.
Call the cowboys to dinner with a metal triangle or cowbells
Give the guests a small drawstring bag to hold their "gold"
Gold nugget bubblegum
Western boot shaped cup filled with candies such as rope licorice and western themed lollipops and candy.
Leather coin purse (from craft)
Cowboy bead craft
Rubber snakes from egg hunt or boot toss
Rubber band gun
Plastic toy harmonicas
There are many cute cowboy/western themed party invitations which you can purchase online or you can make your own. Make a boot shaped invitation or a piece of parchment type paper (you can also slightly burn the edges for a more aged look) with a rhyming invite such as:
and grab your guns
Come on over
and have some fun!
These type of invitations can be rolled up and tied with a piece of twine.