Cowboy Western Party

Cowboy Cookout -2yr- Wanted Poster Invite




Annette in Hunton Kent England


August 2002


Special Mention

We had a cowboy cookout in July for our 2 and a half year old daughter.

I sent out invites in the form of wanted posters - I used tea to age them and burnt the edges. I asked for the children to come dressed up and said there would be prizes for the best outfit. I asked people to come for 4 pm which gave plenty of time to set things up. 

We made a teepee out of 7ft bean canes and wire to which we attached a couple of sheets (I sewed them to a couple of the canes at the entrance just to make it more secure and look better).  We had a little brown inflatable play house which we labeled the "sheriff's office".  I filled our daughters large inflatable pool with sand, plastic snakes and golden nuggets (I sprayed a cupful of gravel with gold paint) and called it "critter creek".   We dug up a small area of turf to make a campfire (surrounded by bricks for safety and effect). 

We made a tripod out of some cast iron garden stakes and hung a huge pot of beans over it to heat up ( I bought an old pan at the second hand shop especially - it was perfect and  I had made the beans the  previous day). We live in the country so it was easy to get 4 hay bales for people to sit on and we put them round the campfire. 

We got some enamel plates, cups and a coffee pot from a local dollar store.  I made wanted posters for all the children attending by scanning their picture into the poster I had made and making up some info about their crime and giving them a name such as "wild Alex Brown" or the "Coyote Kid" and again I used tea to give them an aged look. 

To make various signs I painted  pieces of cardboard box with blackboard paint which meant I could write out the cook-out menu and write "Most Wanted" on the boards where I displayed all the wanted posters. Its very cheap, very simple and very effective. To make the signs for critter creek I found a good font and printed off the signs from the PC, aged them with tea, stuck them onto a piece of black painted cardboard through which I threaded a small bean cane so that I could stick them in the ground next to the relevant item. 

For food I made baked beans, sausages, corned beef hash, steaks, sweetcorn and bread rolls and for dessert I made a peanut pie and a keylime pie. To drink there was real lemonade.  The children ate plenty of sausage, steak and beans and enjoyed ice cream for afters.  Everyone enjoyed themselves. 

There were 4  2 year olds (and their parents) and 3 other children who were between the ages of 8 - 11.  the adults and bigger children loved stirring the beans over the open campfire (plenty of adults to keep an eye out for the younger ones) and sitting on the hay bales eating their food.  I made plenty of coffee which went in the enamel coffee pot and sat in the embers at the edge of the fire.  The younger children loved the sandpit and hunting for golden nuggets. 

The inflatable playhouse was a big hit too. I saved empty beans cans (no sharp edges) washed them and set them up for the children (and adults too) to shoot down with water pistols and ball shooters bought very cheaply from Asda (Walmart).  The grown ups really enjoyed that one! I got some little  gold medals with winner on from Woolworth's and each child received one for being best at some thing e.g. best Indian outfit , best cowgirl outfit etc.   

For party favors I gave each  child the customized wanted poster and a horse mask. It was a really enjoyable party for everyone.  It was very easy to get cheap cowboy and American Indian stuff from dollar stores and Toys R Us.  We had a really good time and  got some great photos  and it was fun to see the children and adults dressed in their wild west outfits.

My little daughter really enjoyed herself and is asking for another cowboy party soon. To make use of the campfire and the hay bales we'll be having  a camp out party when her 8 year old cousin comes to stay in a few weeks.   

Thanks for a really great site  - I couldn't have put together such a good party without inspiration from your contributors.

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