Idea No.

9445

Wild West Theme 4yr - Felt Vests

Award

Date

September 2004

From

Nancy in Pound Ridge, NY         America

Honorable Mention

Western Party

For My son Matthew's 4th birthday I had a Wild West Theme Birthday.

The invitations were wanted posters that had my son dressed in western wear and started "You are "wanted" to come down to the wild west for a rootin' tootin' fun time! The posters were printed on parchment paper with burned edges.

I asked the guests to wear white T-shirts and denim bottoms. I had the party in my backyard and had rented a lifesize plastic horse from the gas station down the street from my house for $50. I had bales of hay everywhere which were used as seats. Cactis arrangements and cowboys, indian figures and wagons decorated the tables.  The same concept I used for an invitation and changed the wording on bottom to suit a real wanted poster with my sons western photo, I took to kinkos and they had a poster size copy machine so I made two huge wanted posters on ivory poster paper that I also burned the edges of and stained with a tea bag and put them on the piers that entered our property.

To set the tone and make it fun for all the adults were pinned with a badge that I found on the computer and copied enough of for all and cut out, this was pinned to each adults chest and told if they catch anyone saying the words "Cowboy or Western" throughout the party to take the other persons badge for themselves. The one with the most badges collected by the end of the party would win a prize (4 - the birthday boys age, scratch off lotteries).

The kids were handed a "party pack" upon arrival. This included a straw cowboy hat, bandana, badge, gun and holster, a camel color vest that I made from felt and used brown yarn to sew the edges, and a horses head for stuffing (also felt) (along with a zip lock baggie that had feathers, rhinestones, stars, etc), as well as candy and a cowboy or indian bendible figure (most were purchase from oriental trading co. for little money).

The kids were then lead to some long tables that I had rented and covered with plastic table cloths and newspapers, paper towels and wipes provided as well as fabric paint and western sponges. All were given time to decorate their own vests with the paints and stuff from their baggies. They were also asked to decorate there horse heads and were given stuffing to fill them with and a pole I had pre-made of rolled newspaper that was raped in colored streamer paper. They all wore their vests, hats, etc. and rode around on their horses. I took photos while they did this craft project in color and black and white film (I had a color disposable and put b/w film in my camera).

After the craft I had two acting students that I paid each a small fee come and wear cowboy costumes that I bought for each. They came running in the back yard hooting and hollering and shooting play pistols and got the kids rounded up. They called themselves "Cowgirl Ida May" and "Cowboy Jay". They told the kids that they had to prove if they were "real cowboys and cowgirls" and to do this they were to play a game. They lead a scavenger hunt that I had prepared. I took two huge, gorgeous decorated gift bags that I purchase from Party City for about $5 each and with a sharpie I wrote numbers 1-20 on each. Along side each number I wrote an item and point, some were funny like "bug" 1 point dead, 2 points alive, bobby pin 1 point, someone named "Bill" 4 points, etc. The kids were divided into two teams and ran like crazy to find things. Parents were asked to supervise the younger kids in the group and the two team leaders (Ida May and Cowboy Jay) helped the kids along.

At the end they pretended to dispute who won the game so they said everyone was a winner and I gave each of the kids western chocolate lollypops that I had made and a cowboys and indians playset that I had purchase from the dollar store. After this Ida May and Cowboy Jay lead the kids to the pinata and played that. Between all the activities we had a western BBQ going and plenty of food and drink (root beer, etc). Western music played in the background. My son helped me with alot of the collecting of materials for the party and helped put together the "Party Packs" for all his friends. He knew all the elements of the party and was very excited. We took lots of B/W photos of the kids with Ida May and Cowboy Jay and the very realistic looking White horse in the background which the one with all the kids I included in everyone's thank you cards. It was alot of fun planning and everyone at the party had a blast!

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