I've always been overwhelmed by the thought of planning birthday parties for my kids. But last week I took my 5-year-old to a classmate's Western-themed party, and it was simple, fun, and fully enjoyed by boys and girls alike. If you have a little cowboy or girl of your own, it's easier than you think to throw a wild west adventure at your very own homestead.


You've chosen your theme; now the first step is to choose the invitations. Order some Cowboy Party Invitations that invite guests to "Put Your Party Boots On" or tell them "You're WANTED at a Party."


Decorate tables with red and white checked tablecloths, and make centerpieces out of red and blue balloon bouquets. Place an inexpensive cowboy hat and alternating red and blue bandanas at each place setting. If you're hosting the party in the backyard, a few strategically placed bales of hay will add to the western feel.


BBQ, baked beans, and coleslaw make for an authentic western meal, but just about any food will fit your theme with a little imagination. Set up a "Trail" Mix Bar where kids can combine nuts, dried fruits, marshmallows, and chocolate candies to create their own snack mix, or a General Store with baskets of treats and snacks for the taking. You can also create a "Watering Hole" where kids can refill their own glasses of refreshing lemonade or root beer.

Another cute cowboy touch would be to serve all the food on tin plates, and all the drinks in mason jars. And don't forget a cowboy cake!


With so many little cowboys and cowgirls running around, you'll probably need a way to entertain them. Options include:


Don't send your guests home emptyhanded. Sherriff badges, popcorn balls, or a bag of s'mores ingredients (complete with a note that says "Thanks for making my party s'more fun") all make great favors. And check out these cute goodie bags, which don't require much work but will guarantee that everyone leaves your rodeo feeling like a real cowboy or cowgirl. Yeehaw!