Cowboy Birthday Party

Cowboy Birthday Party

Cowboys are all about handsome men. Let me explain. Imagine Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I already like the fact that “the Good” basically means “the Beautiful”. Anyway, I digress. It lasts 2 hours and 37 minutes. That’s 2 hours and 37 minutes with Clint, the Good. The thing is that he’s so beautiful that it doesn’t really matter if he’s just in the background. He could talk about a crackling fire, hiking along a dried up river, or a blizzard and it would be okay. No, I’m not going off topic, I’m just documenting my thoughts. The point is that it’s not possible to organise a Cowboy-themed birthday party without really getting to know the subject. Nobody will be able to say that we do things by halves…

COUNTDOWN

T-25 So, I’ve watched, I’ve reflected, and I’ve gathered my thoughts. Basically, I’m well prepared to do something crazy and plan a Cowboy-themed birthday party in the Wild West. My son, Sergio, is going to be so excited! We called him Sergio because I’m a massive fan of Sergio Leone. That goes without saying. I did consider Ennio, too…

T-25 STILL I make a solo trip, and listen to l’amour en solitaire on repeat. Juliette Armanet’s thing is Cowboys and Indians. Because I tell myself that, to get in the mood, I need to do things alone and in silence. The pre-made invitations catch my eye. Shall I do it? One phrase repeats in my head: “There are two types of people in this world, those who come in by the door and those who come in by the window”. So I tell myself that it’s time to come in by the window.

T-25 AGAIN I go ahead and start making the invitations, and I do them all by myself. I’m going solo, just like Clint and Juliette. I’m almost radiant. I make 12 origami pistols and write the invitation details inside them. The’re super simple and easy-to-make! I make sure to write Sergio’s name, our address, our phone number, as well as the date and the time of the party. I also write that they should be on time as they’ve been invited to a duel, and that there is a dress code. Although, I feel that goes without saying.

T-20 I give Sergio the big task of giving out the invitations. He leaves, as proud as Clint, to hand them out at school.

T-20 STILL Every evening we watch an episode of Lucky Luke, just to get in the right mindframe. My son is still too young for Sergio Leone’s films – even I have to cover my eyes sometimes. I explain to him that, to be a Cowboy, he needs to have the right attitude. It’s never too early! I make him repeat the most important phrases – the idea is to get the correct intonation. We start with the flute and the harmonica, and I teach him how to whistle.

T-17 Now is a good time to decide what you’re going to do during the party. If you have found yourself on this article, I take it that you have decided to do everything yourself – and the good news is that we have created an extensive list of things to do to help you out! However, this list shouldn’t stop you from watching Sergio’s films, of course.

T-15 It’s time to order or buy everything that you need for the games and activities that you have chosen.

T-10 Let’s plan your outfit! Keep it simple, yet on theme. A poncho, a hat, jeans, a belt and cowboy boots. Sergio was born in November, so it’s always freezing when we celebrate his birthday. I can picture myself already. It’s the best excuse for me to get out my cowboy boots and poncho.

T-7 Prepare the playlist, print the printouts, and organise the list of games

T-1 EVENING – IN MY KITCHEN My little Cowboy is sleeping, because he likes to sleep with the sun. That’s perfect timing, because it’s November. I start making a chocolate Cowboy fort, with The Civil War in the background. All while listening to Joshua Tree. The idea is to be completely immersed in the Cowboy atmosphere. Sergio won’t be able to believe it!

T-1 EVENING – IN MY LIVING ROOM I set up most of my Cowboy decorations. I inflate the balloons that need normal air, but I’ll save the helium ones for tomorrow. I’ve got this. I hang (with some double-sided sticky tape) an inflatable bull between my living room and my dining room, a bit like the entrance to a saloon. I then stick up a Joshua Tree poster (the place, not the album) on the back wall to give the impression that we’re really there. Tomorrow, I will inflate the cactus balloons with helium and make a little forest around the snack table.

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D-DAY

9am I’ve been ready to go for 2 hours now. Unfortunately, Sergio also wakes up with the sun. I don’t even need to say it, but it’s November… We make up the party bags. I’ve chosen ones with blue stars. I sort out the little treasures to give to the guests: sheriff stars, fake moustaches, cactus tattoos, candy hamburgers! I make up little piles (a pile of sweets, a pile of gifts, a pile of tattoos, a pile of party bags) and fill them up, making sure each bag contains one of each surprise.

10am I inflate the cactus balloons and put them in place. I set the table, stick the candles in the birthday cake, and set out some cardboard cowboy hats and cacti on the table. Lots of them, all in different sizes. I prepare the Photobooth accessories. I prefer it to be a little bit of a mess, as it’ll make the children want to join in.

11am Everything’s finished – I’m a star! As a reward, I’m going to read the latest edition of ELLE.

1pm We have lunch on the corner of the table, restricting my space as it has already been perfectly set out…

3pm They’re here! Everyone is dressed up as little Cowboys. A quick glance and I can already tell that we have more of ‘the Bad’ and ‘the Ugly’ than ‘the Good’… I have Woody, Lucky Luke and plenty of Daltons, but I don’t have a Clint. They don’t notice straight away that I have the outfit of the day. I know, I’m wonderful. It’s the boots, they always impress!

3:05pm We get into a circle, and I explain to them the rules for the day, which are that everyone must play together, and that I am the Sheriff. They’re pumped up and raring to go. There are twelve 7-year-old boys, and they’re only half listening to me… I think they might want me dead. I wonder if there’s a bounty on my head. I know that I’m just being paranoid.

3:07pm I start with a little quiz, to test their knowledge on Cowboys! Yep, it’s just as I thought, everyone showed off during the dinosaur quiz, but not this time!

3:12pm A little round of The Wheels on The Bus to get in the party mood, and to see if your accent will allow you to survive in Texas or if you should stay silent like Clint!

3:15pm So, boys, make a circle and I’ll hand out all of the materials that you need for a DIY activity to make the most important accessories for surviving in the Wild West – a pistol and a Sheriff’s star. Let’s go!

3:35pm Once that all of the boys are equiped with their accessories and their moustaches, you can teach them how to shoot faster than their shadow. It’s super simple: they must have their pistol in their pocket and pull it out as quick as possible! For this activity, put the children side by side and stand in a good position to be able to tell who drew their gun the fastest! To get them lined up, you could play the game In The Right Order.

3:40pm Let’s get into two teams to have a duel! Normally you will need to be there to keep things under control at this point!

3:45pm Okay, I’m actually quite proud of your team names. We have Buffalo Bill and Billy the Kid. Not bad, we’ve done well. Now I’d like you to repeat your team name 10 times without messing up. Ahahahaha!

3:47pm Shall we play a game of The Musical Beret before our duel? Just to get you in the mood. How about a bit of country?! You don’t know country music?! If there were girls here, they could dance the French Cancan. Cowboys loved to watch girls dance the Cancan in the old saloons. Everybody knows that. Have you never watched Lucky Luke?

3:55pm Our duel is going to be a game of Rock Paper Scissors, with some Ennio Morricone in the background. What a great atmosphere. Let’s go, in your teams!

4pm Now that you know how to draw your gun, we’re going to see if you have a good aim! We’re going to do this in two stages. First, a game of whack-a-mole, and then you must be able to throw the ball into the circles. Whoever can throw the ball into the smallest circle wins a point. You’re going to have a go two at a time, one team against the other. Get in line!

4:10pm Time for Pass the Parcel!

4:20pm Cowboys used to get around using horses or trains! Since we don’t have horses, we’re going to make a train!

4:22pm To the table! You all deserve a snack. They can’t believe their eyes when they see the chocolate Cowboy fort! There is no noise. They must be dreaming. Well, I’m going to have a burger!

4:35pm I’d love to take a little nap. That’s what happens in the Wild West! Okay, let’s have a fun Photobooth, surrounded by loads of cacti. Take the accessories from the table, put on your hats and pull your funniest faces!

4:45pm How about another DIY activity? Not all Cowboys were good guys – there were some who made big mistakes and had their faces on wanted posters for their crimes. So, let’s make some WANTED posters! Afterwards, we’ll stick your posters on the wall with some masking tape!

5:05pm Do we need to waken up a little bit? Let’s play Musical Statues, but this time I want you to turn into a horse when the music stops! Then a snake, then a cactus…

5:15pm Who Am I? Woody from Toy Story, Jolly Jumper, etc…

5:25pm Do you dig? There are two types of people in this world. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. Have a little treasure hunt (if you have a sandpit or a garden, it’s even better!). If not, follow the guide! As you know, Cowboys like to find treasure that will make them immensely rich… The secret lies in the story telling.

5:40pm You’ve found the treasure, you’ve shared it out, and you’ve not knocked anyone out to try keep it all for yourself – for that, I congratulate you. Let’s take 5 minutes to have a sing-along around the fire! If you want, you can accompany this with a harmonica and whistles! Time for My Favourite Songs.

5:48pm A little broomstick game to waken up our legs? I know that that has nothing to do with Cowboys, but I’ve run out of ideas!

5:52pm Shall we open the presents? That’s the real treasure! To give them out, let’s play a game. Everyone in a circle! When Sergio recognises the barking, he can open the gift from that person. It’s Poor Little Sick Cat, which you can turn into Poor Little Sick Rantanplan (with barking).

6pm The parents begin to arrive. You’re fed up, and that’s normal. You’ve kept them under control for 3 hours (in boots, may I add). Even with Clint’s composure, that’s still a difficult task. You don’t have to hang around. What about a little party with the theme ‘To Infinity and Beyond’? It’s okay to tidy everything tomorrow…

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