Idea No.

18121

Cowgirl Hoe Down 5yr - Pony Rides

Award

Date

June 2008

From

Lisa in Pgh, PA USA

Special Mention

Western Party

For my daughters 5th birthday she requested a horse/cowgirl themed party, so I got right to work!

INVITIATIONS:  I sent invitations that I had purchased pre packed from a local party store. Inside the invitation I included a photo of my daughter dressed in a cowgirl costume that I had purchased during the prior Halloweens clearance sales for half off. I photographed her sitting on her Butterscotch horse (the four foot carrot eating horse you've seen at your local Target). I had the photo developed in black and white and had the caption IT'S A HOE HOE-HOEDOWN on the photo. Everyone loved this caption because it is a play on our last name and every Christmas we host a Ho Ho Ho themed Open House.  

DECORATIONS: My house was under construction during her birthday, I opted to have the party at a local farm market. The market has a barn that can be rented for a reasonable amount and its pre decorated in a western theme. I also decorated each table with western themed items. Every table had a miniature cowboy hat and a cowboy boot bowl filled with chips and cheese balls. I also had a pinwheel tray that had 5 compartments with different candies in each and one even had bandana wrapped mints. I found felt western cutouts in my local Michaels for .50 for a three pack and spread those on the tables. I also added western themed confetti. The prior Christmas my mom found western style shirt ornaments and I placed one of those on each table. I blew up the picture of my daughter that I had used for the invitations and made Wanted posters.  Each Wanted poster had a different caption such as Wanted:  For pickin on her little brother Wanted: for not cleanin up her toys Wanted: For stayin up too late. I got that idea from another user of this website.  Because we were not allowed to hang anything from the walls of the barn, I placed these on the tables where everyone was dining. I found great centerpieces for each of the four tables from LTD Commodities. I purchased 2 cowgirl and 2 cowboy planters that are meant for use in the garden. I filled the flowerpot with Hershey kisses and added horse suckers that I had made myself.  I got a lot of compliments on my elaborate tablescapes. 

ACTIVITIES/GAMES:  The facility that we rented offered an hour of horse rides for an additional fee. The kids absolutely loved this! The rides took place in a room behind the room we rented so each parent was able to supervise their child and take pictures while I videotaped.  Because of time constraints, I shied away from actually playing games because after the horse rides ended the children played in the barn.  However, the barn had a wooden fire truck that the kids could play on, as well as two barrel horses that the kids could ride on.  The facility also provided a farm themed beanbag toss game and the kids played this as well.

COSTUMES:I had my daughter wear her cowgirl costume that I had picked up on clearance after Halloween. I dressed my son I cowboy theme jeans and a cowboy shirt and hat. In the invitations I sent I encouraged guest to come dressed in their western gear. I purchased child sized cowboy hats for all of the children as well.

FOOD:   Because I had people of all ages coming to the party and it was held during dinner hours, I did a huge Western themed buffet. The facility did not have a kitchen so I borrowed crock-pots and cooked everything at home and transported the food to the party that way. I made shredded barbeque chicken, cowgirl beans, Hawaiian kielbasas, cheesy potatoes and meatball for my hot items. Because I had used a crock-pot for each hot item and you could not necessarily tell what was inside, I made place cards for the buffet table and decorated the cards with western stickers and gave each dish a western name. For example we turned the baked beans into cowgirl beans. I also offered a variety of cold salads, also labeled with a western name.  My daughter and I did this the night before and she really enjoyed helping me come up with the names.I hung a CHUCKWAGON sign above the buffet table and a SALOON sign above the coolers for the drinks. The kids loved going to the pretend Saloon.

TABLEWARE: I covered the buffet table in a bandana patterned tablecloth and decorated the table with sheriffs badges that I found on the OTC website. I also used a co coordinating bandana pattern for all of my plates/cups/napkins and I even wrapped each of the silverware sets with a bandana napkin and tied a piece of raffia around it.  I also used real bandanas I had purchased from the dollar store to line the baskets on the table that held the buns, silverware, chips and condiments. It was a very nice added touch.  CAKE: I purchased the cake from Sam's Club. They are very reasonable in price for cakes to feed a large crowd. I let my daughter pick her cake topper and she choose a horse theme of course. I decorated the cake table with a bandana patterned table cloth and pictures of my daughter on her pretend horse and on a real horse from a birthday party she had attended a few weeks before at the same facility. I found the Western theme picture frames at Michaels craft store for 75% off.  Finally, I placed a few potted mums on the table for a more festive look.

FAVORS: The treat bags are by far my favorite part of a birthday party.  Because I have a wide variety of different aged children at this party, I tried to gear the treat bags toward each age of kids.  I purchased the large brown craft bags with handles from Michaels to hold all the loot. I personalized each bag with the child's name using rustic themed scrap booking letters. For the older children, I found really cute horse and foul coloring books with stickers at the craft store for 1.00 a piece. I purchased horse pens and pencils, western themed notepads, a wide variety of horse stickers, cowboy theme hard candies and badges from OTC.  I found discounted horse keychain calendars and mini calendars in January for the bags as well. I also included some my little pony items in each bag such as makeup mirrors, stickers and fruit snacks. I even found bottles of horse themed shampoo discounted at my local Kmart. For each girl I also added pony tail holders.  For the babies and toddlers attending the party their treat bags had treats that were more baby friendly. I purchased western theme shirts (found on sale of course) and bibs from Babies R Us.  I also found western themed baby bottles at the dollar store. I purchased baby friendly books and puzzles as well. Some items for the younger kids were more of a farm theme but it still coordinated with the western theme.  I topped each of the bags with western themed tissue paper. I used a red bandana print for all of the girls, a blue jean print for all of the boys and a cowhide print for all of the babies. All of the treat bags also had home made horse suckers and I gave the suckers to the adults as well. I like everyone to leave my parties with a treat. 

TIPS: I found most of my party items at our local party store (Papermart and Partycity). I also ordered items for OTC. I am also a HUGE fan of the dollar store. Most of my craft items I purchased at Michaels and JoAnns, and all of my craft store purchases are made with the 40% coupons I find in the Sunday paper.  I tried to shop close outs and clearance sections as much s possible and got a head start on the party eight months before. I find that Halloween and Christmas clearance sales always yield a lot of discounted costumes and decorations. My husband says I like the sales after the holiday more than the actual holidays and I would say he is spot on!! A lot of the ideas I came up with are from this very website. I hope this helps with others planning. I put a lot of work into my kid's birthday parties but the look on their faces is worth it every time!!

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