Parties with a theme, such as country-and-western, help the party planner pick appropriate food and details to establish an atmosphere. Draw from the rich mythology, music and iconography of the American West--as well as the contemporary pop-culture associations of the C&W lifestyle--to pull together a bash that will have guests shouting "Yee-haw!"
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Serve party guests a buffet of Tex-Mex delights, since cowboys weren't exactly renowned for their cuisine. (A Celebrations.com article on Western theme parties suggests coffee-garnished "cowboy beans" and margaritas in saloon glasses.) In addition to must-haves like beans and cornbread, offer green chilli, slow-cooker enchiladas, tacos and grilled tortillas. Wash down the hearty fare with ice-cold beer from a regional brewery.
Instruct your guests to wear their biggest, best cowboy hats. After the party has been rolling for a while, gather everyone who wore a hat and hold a contest, voting in categories like "biggest," "craziest" and "most beat up." Since voting requires paper, pens and advance planning, you may find it easier to simply appoint an expert hat judge whose verdicts are law. Award prizes like belt buckles, saloon glasses, and--for the grand prize winner--a Stetson or a cast-iron skillet.
Country Classics Soundtrack
Compile a party playlist composed of classic country music to properly set the mood. A list of 100 "greatest hits of classic country" on DudeWalker.org includes Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter." In creating the list, try to strike a balance between male and female voices, and lean toward the uptempo end of the mood spectrum. Too many sad country songs in a row will have everyone crying into their beers.
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