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Western Party

Western Party 5yr - Pics with Wild Bill




Julie Ann in Colonia, NJ


April 2002


Special Mention

WESTERN PARTY for CJ  For my son CJ's 5th birthday party we had a Western Party. 

The invitations were printed on parchment type paper and they read: WANTED!  Then there was a picture of an outlaw. Under the picture it read: Calling all Cowboys & Cowgirls. Sheriff CJ needs your help! Wild Bill has stolen all of the goodie bags for CJ's 5th birthday party and we need to get them back. Meet us at the old (YOUR LAST NAME) Ranch (give the address and date and time.  See ya there, partner!  RSVP to Miss Julie Mae and your phone number.  I burned the edges of the paper (BE VERY CAREFUL, it burns FAST!!!) to make it look old.   I cut out boots, cactus  and sheriff star badge signs that said CJ and put them up for directions around our neighborhood.  When the kids arrived they got a cowboy hat, a water gun (with their name on it), a bandana and a star on a cord necklace with their name on it. 

We had 33 kids coming and its better when they are name tagged :)I kept a tub of water in the driveway so it would be easy for them to refill their guns.   I had a refrigerator box that I painted a darker brown and cut out a hole in the front and painted JAIL over the hole. I also hinged the back part so it would be easy to open. I then wrapped paper towel rolls with aluminum foil and taped them on the inside of the hole to look like bars. I had the jail set up in the back, off to the side.  

The party was in the yard, so the decorations were mostly balloons ( we used green, yellow and brown) and western things. Rope and old heavy gloves, even an old wagon wheel.  I had a balloon arch at the end of the driveway and found fun cactus and cowboy balloons that I had 10ft higher in the middle of it. I bought a few rolls of brown packing paper and made signs such as BOOT HILL..CACTUS WAY..COWBOYS CORNER. I burned the edges of all the signs too.  I made a large banner that said WELCOME TO THE \*\*\*\*\* RANCH and put it across my front porch. 

We had 24 hay bales in the yard set up in different areas.  I bought 2 of those horse heads on poles, and we had relay races with those. I also had a PROSPECTORS POINTE sign and had that at the gold mining station.  I used a baby pool filled with sand.  I had spray painted several dozen rocks and buried them in the sand.  The kids then took turns sifting through the sand for the gold.  You could use gold coin candy too I suppose, but I didn't like the idea of putting the candy in the sand.  

I also had a shooting gallery set up.  That was just painted tin cans and a cork gun I got from Oriental Trading that I had purchased last year for our carnival party. The younger kids stood closer and used their water guns.  We also had a pin the moustache on the sheriff game..I drew a sheriff and blindfolded the kids and they took turns pinning the moustache on his face.  I like to use this game a lot and just change it around to match the theme.  I also printed out WANTED signs on my computer and scanned on pictures of friends parents and relatives. 

The kids had a good time running around looking at all the pictures and its always fun to involve the adults too!  About half way through the party I gathered all the kids in the front part of the yard and made sure they all had their water guns filled.  I had a friend rent leather chaps, and a duster, a black hat, black vest, double holster..the whole outfit!  I put all the goodie bags in a burlap sack and gave them to him ahead of time.  He came running down the street towards the house.  Now meanwhile throughout the whole party I was asking everyone to be on the look out for Wild Bill!  

One of the older kids yelled out..ITS WILD BILL.  All the kids were charging towards him..squirting him and trying to grab the bag.  It was hysterical!!!  They managed to get the bag away from him and lead him to Sheriff CJ and we put him in jail!  This was great for pictures!  We then had Wild Bill go sit on the front porch hear the RANCH sign, where I also had some hay bales set up with other decorations around it (plastic cut outs I got from the party store). Each child that wanted to sat on Bills lap and got a Polaroid picture taken.  I also had someone taking pictures with black & white film which turned out great!  While the pictures were being taken I was getting the food ready. 

I bought aluminum round 8 or 9 inch cake pans, the throw away kind you can get 5 for $1.00 and I put a chicken cutlet and a hot dog (no bun) in each one and handed them out to everyone.  No need for knives or forks..we ate cowboy style! I also had corn on the cob, corn bread and baked beans for those that wanted more.    After everyone ate we had the piñata.  I made up small individual ziploc type bags of candy and filled the pinata with that.  This way, when it broke everyone grabbed a bag of candy. 

Then we had the cake.  Usually I have gotten the cake from a high end bakery and have spent up to $90..this year I went to my local A&P and brought them what I wanted them to use and they made an edible image out of it.  It was the paper from the invitation and it said WANTED. Then there was a picture of my son and "CJ's 5th Birthday" It ended up costing HALF of the price and it looked and tasted great!   I used sparklers on the cake and carried it out while everyone sat around in a circle on the hay bales.   I also was able to get sparklers really cheap because it was in August, right after July4th..so each child was given a sparkler..another great photo.  We did the sparklers on the driveway. NO WHERE NEAR THE HAY!   

The goodie bags were brown oversized lunch bags, that I filled with things from OTC ( a compass, a harmonica, gold coin candy, gold nugget gum in a pouch, fake money, plastic snakes, plastic handcuffs, badges, goldfish crackers, mini boot filled with candy, cowboy pez I found on EBAY, a smaller bandana and a handful of gold coins) and they were tied with raffia.  The younger kids (ages 2-3) got things like fruit snacks and hackey sack balls instead of the smaller stuff.  Every bag had a name, very important.  This way other people can help out.   

Also, a week before the party I set up a hay bale with decorations and had my son dress in his shorts and vest and cowboy hat and took some fun pictures.  I scanned and printed them to say THANKS PARTNER and the date.  I printed labels to say "thanks partner! hope ya had a rootin tootin good time! I cut them into wallet size pictures and put a label on the back of each one and put one in each goodie bag. Saves time on the thank you notes!  We also always make either a poster or use that brown paper on a roll to make a sign that says Happy Birthday CJ and have everyone sign it or write a little message.    They really had fun and loved just running around with the water guns.  A little prep work before makes for the best times after!  Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

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