One of my favorite pictures is of my girl from when she was about two years old. She’s dressed in a cowgirl outfit with a bandana around her neck, a hat on a string hanging down her back, her fave cowgirl boots on, and with her hair done up in little blonde pigtails.
It was Halloween and she’s pictured sitting on a bale of hay. It’s so adorable, it squeezes my heart every time I pull out the photo album. Every time.
There’s just something magical about our kids and their love of horses and their wild west daydreams, which you must know since you’re looking for ways to throw the ultimate western-themed party.
Well, now is a great time to talk to your child and ask them what they love about cowgirls and cowboys and try to plan around what they say.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
First, figure out your budget. If you can afford it, there are companies that will bring you a pony for the children to ride. Nothing’s more memorable than an actual, real live pony.
I’ve seen them start at around $150 for a session and then go up from there. Each child should get a turn, and be sure to take tons of pictures!
If a real live pony doesn’t seem quite right for your shindig, then pick up some hobby horse stick toys. Buy ribbon, sparkly stickers and buttons, so each child can decorate a horse to take home. You may want to sew little loops on the horse heads to make decoration easier.
If you do go for hobby horses, only let the children use them for decorating, pictures, and maybe a quick race. Any longer, and somehow the horses will magically be transformed into whacking sticks. So cheerfully take them away and promise to return them at the end of the party when the children go home.
A third option is to spring for a horse-shaped pinata. Birthday pinatas are not exactly original, but these are kids. They’re new enough to them. Besides, they’re popular for a reason. A paper mache beast that rains candy and toys is always popular.
You can pick up a set of foam or plastic cowboy hats and a pile of bandanas fairly cheap online. Tell parents that their children can wear anything of their own that they have, but you’ll want to make sure to have plenty of accessories on hand so no one feels left out. You can also collect brown paper bags and turn them into vests that the kids can color.
Need a special outfit for the birthday child? Presley Couture carries adorable cowgirl dresses with western-themed Mickey ears. There’s also a unisex cowboy/cowgirl hoodie that’s as cute as can be.
Of course, you can always play pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs with your favorite cowboy music. You can turn any of the old standards into a rootin’ tootin’ good time.
But if you’re feeling ambitious, you can also paint some rocks gold, dump them and some other pebbles, sand and water in a tub, and let the children pan for gold. You can also put a lot of inexpensive, colorful stones in the mix and let the children take home what they find.
Don’t let them think it’s real gold, though. Some people think it’s hilarious to disappoint children. I’ve never seen the appeal myself. Besides, this party’s about them, so no pranking!
This part’s easy. Call your local bakeries, comb online for cowboy/cowgirl themed recipes, and order candy and paperware from party supply stores.
Have fun and good luck!