Howdy, partner. Are you looking to host a boot-scootin' wild west party and don't know where to start? Well saddle up, I'm about to take you through an extensive how to guide to have your guests slappin' their boots in anticipation. This guide can be used for both adult or children's parties.
Get yourself some old-style light brown paper and an online template of a wanted poster. Wanted posters are a great way to have some fun and impress your guests. Find a generic male and female cowboy/girl and put it inside the frame. If you have the time, you could even create a personalised wanted photo using a quick online cowboy photo editor like LoonaPix.
One way to increase the wild west feel is to use black paint and a paintbrush to individually write guests names on the invitation. Using paint rather than a pen adds to the old wild west feel. Personalising the poster with quirky descriptions such as "WANTED: For the worst haircut ever!" or "REWARD $100 – For being the most notorious escape artist ever!" adds some humour to the invitations. Make sure you make two copies for each guest but only send one. I will explain this more in the next section.
One problem many hosts have with themed parties is convincing all guests to get involved and dress up. Having guests not dress up to match the theme can throw out the whole effect you are looking to create. One way to help encourage them to participate is by putting small costume hints into their invitation envelopes such as a bandanna or sheriff's badge. This helps motivate them to at least put some effort into their costume.
Old Wild West Decorations You need to set the scene before the guests enter the venue. One way to do this is to put up a big sign at the entry such as "Welcome To The Wild Wild West!". Have a hat stand at the door with cowboy hats sitting on the hooks. This is mainly for decoration, as you want guests to keep their hats on to keep the theme alive. However, it also allows guests to grab a cowboy hat if they weren't able to bring one themselves.
This is where the second copy of the wanted posters come in. Place the wanted posters up around the venue, which allows guests to view the descriptions you wrote for other guests and have a laugh. Make sure to set the scene with wild west music playing through the speakers. Many hosts also like to play old wild west movies on a projector to add some more life to the scene.
Finally, hang up some rope lassos against the walls as well as some fake pistols and tomahawk axes. As a quirky touch, print off 'Cowboy' and 'Cowgirl' signs to place on the toilet doors. Small features like this usually catch the guests' eyes and add atmosphere to the party. If you are really committed, look at purchasing or hiring a large wild west cowboy/cowgirl cut out for people to take pictures with and encourage them to post them online. Party Source has a great range of Wild West decorations sure to make your venue look as authentic as possible.
Party Games No wild west themed party is complete without hiring a mechanical bucking bull ride. The classic bucking bull is easy to hire from a local amusement hire company (such as Monsterball Amusements & Hire) and will become the highlight of any wild west themed party. Incorporate the ride into a competition amongst your guests to see who can hold on for the longest time. Offer a small prize such as a bottle of tequila (for adults) or a large stuffed toy (for kids).
One For The Adults Cowboy Movie Charades is a great way to test your old wild west film knowledge. Get your guests to write down movie titles onto small slips of paper and jumble them up. Players take it in turns pulling a slip out of a hat and attempt to act out without making noise. The other guests must try and guess what movie they are acting out. This game is great to start playing after the guests have enjoyed a few of the refreshments.
One For The Kids
Set up a water pistol shooting range with cups on shelves and water filled pistols. Mark a spot on the ground for the kids to stand behind as they attempt to shoot down the cups with their water pistols. Adults beware: Children may turn the water pistols back on you, proceed with caution!
Wild West Costumes And Accessories
There is a wide range of costume ideas for the wild west theme. If your guests ask for ideas, some of the most popular are cowboy, cowgirl, sheriffs, robbers and bandits. Make sure to continually give ideas leading up to the event to ensure guests put effort into their costume. Mention accessories such as wild west hats, American Indian headdresses, sheriff badges and fake guns.
Leading up to your event, decide whether you are planning on catering a main course for your guests or just light refreshments. Luckily with wild west themed food, both are suitable options. Many local catering companies Emporess Catering also have the option to customise your menu to suit your theme. Setting the scene with food is simple, try putting small cactus' in the middle of each table as decoration. You may also be able to find old style napkins or even use bandannas as napkins to add to the wild west feel.
Light Refreshment Menu
Light refreshments are an easy way to feed your guests without the hassle and time to make a full main meal. Some great ideas for light wild west food include buffalo chicken wings, buttered corn on the cob, popcorn, tacos and chips with salsa. Of course, your classic cocktail sausage rolls and party pies with BBQ sauce never go astray.
Main Course Menu
Look to serve a hearty meal with a large piece of juicy steak or crispy fried chicken with some potato salad and chips. Don't try and present the meal too nicely, the rustic (somewhat messy) presentation will add to the effect.
Western Party Favours
It's great to leave a lasting impression of your event. A good way to do this is by including some wild west themed party favours for when guests leave. Here are some great ideas for both children and adults.
For The Kids
Kids love seeing two things in their lolly bags - lollies and toys. Include some wild west themed biscuits and lollies to keep them sweet. For toys, why not include little bull keyrings. Throw in a water pistol, sheriff badge and a bandanna and you're sure to keep all the kids happy.
For The Adults
A great party favour idea for adults, if possible, is to give each guest a small cactus with a personalised label reminding them of the party. This is one gift your guests will surely love. A complimentary party favour would be to include an old wild west DVD, also complementing the theme.
With all this information you are sure to have a hassle free, fun event. Now, what are you waiting for, get to it, Yee-haw!!!