Giddy-up cowboys and cowgirls! Getting into the spirit of the Wild West isn’t as scary as it sounds. Invite folks to the hoedown by sending out easy-to-make, saloon-style cards. Lie a rectangular piece of brown cardstock horizontally and fold the two sides into the centre. Draw the outline of saloon doors on the two flaps and cut out. Print out your party information on a smaller piece of white paper and glue it to the middle of the cardstock so the doors open to reveal it.
Decorate your home with red-and-white-checkered tablecloths, burlap, raffia and cacti made out of construction paper. Cut out cow spots from black construction paper and tape them onto white helium balloons to take care of the livestock quota, then fill Mason jars with cut flowers like daisies and wildflowers. Set up a “watering hole” station and serve lemonade, a Southern favourite.
When it’s time to rustle up some grub following an afternoon of lassoing and barrel racing, serve up BBQ fare with all the fixin’s. Cook chicken breasts, hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, and serve with coleslaw, veggies and dip, and homemade lemonade on the side. For dessert? Personalized sheriff badges.
Wanted poster: Download and print our "wanted poster" template and have guests draw themselves with crayons and markers. Roll them up for a fun take-home souvenir.
Barrel race: Time each guest as they race around a course "riding" their steed.
Rope 'em: Place a rocking horse (or chair) in the centre of the room. Tie a rope to a hula hoop and have guests try to toss it over the horse.
Loot bag: Cut out a medium-sized circle from burlap. Place goodies like candies, golden coins and small toys in the centre. Bunch up the edges and secure with raffia or ribbon.
A version of this article appeared in our March 2014 issue with the headline "Western party", p. 14.