WANTED: A wild, wild West party! Use our guide to set up one of your own.
Set the mood for guests once they arrive by placing potted cacti or other succulents and river stones along your walkway. Find old pieces of wood and use them to paint signs that say “Saloon” or “Giddy Up!” Personalize your party by taking photos of your guests and making western-style “Wanted” posters for them.
Lanterns can be used inside and out to create your home on the range. If you have a fireplace, throw on some logs or fill the space with pillar candles in different heights.
For your dining area, use red or yellow gingham tableware and accessories. To bring a Western landscape into your pad, have an enlarged photo of a multicolored sunset reproduced onto a giant piece of paper at your local copy store, then hang it in a prominent spot.
Time to break out your Western gear — cowboy boots, cowboy hat, bandanas, jeans and a checkered or Western shirt. This look works for cowboys as well as cowgirls. For a more feminine touch, wear a jean miniskirt and add pigtails or a June Carter Cash bouffant. Add some glitz with sparkly accessories for that rhinestone cowboy look.
Grab your partner, and get ready to get down. Western parties are the perfect time for line dancing, square dancing or doing your best Texas Two Step. For novice dancers, hire a professional dancer or ask a friend to show everybody how it’s done.
An old-fashioned game of horseshoes is another great way to get everybody involved. You’ll need a lawn, two stakes and some horseshoes for this one. Place the stakes in the ground 40 feet apart on a relatively flat surface. For kids, you may want to buy rubber horseshoes and shorten the distance.
There are various kinds of scoring. Here’s one easy way to score: A horseshoe that encircles a stake earns you three points, a horseshoe that leans on the stake is two points and, if no horseshoes reach the stakes, the nearest horseshoe to the stake is awarded one point. To prevent injury, be sure to keep people from entering the game area while you’re playing.
Fire up your grill for a backyard BBQ complete with ribs, burgers and beans on the side. If you’re staying indoors, make a big pot of your favorite chili or tacos and garnish with guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, jalapeños and sour cream (check out our taco salad bar for ideas).
For sides, serve mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, warm cornbread muffins and a salad dressed with a tangy citrus vinaigrette. Keep crowds happy with chips and salsa and bowls of sweet-and-salty trail mix while the meal is cooking.
Toasted marshmallows or s’mores make a great dessert, whether you cook them over an outdoor fire, your fireplace or a fondue pot flame.
Roy Rogers (serves 1)
Salute classic cowboy Roy Rogers with this non-alcoholic favorite. Serve in jelly jars to give them that country flair.
- 4 ounces ginger ale
- 2 ounces lemon-lime soda
- 1 teaspoon grenadine
- Orange wedge, for garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, then pour ingredients over. Stir well and garnish with an orange wedge.