27 November 2012

Wild West CampOut Party

I just can't help myself when it comes to parties. Every year I promise myself, This one will be simple... and then I go ahead and make it fancy.
Three friends camping in the backyard turns into seven 10-year-olds for a Wild West CampOut, complete with individualised Wanted Posters, cupcakes and Cowboy hats.

Like I said I just can't help myself. Parties are an addiction with me (much to my kids' delight and my hubby's consternation).

So here's Dash's tenth birthday Wild West Campout. It really was Wild...

The decorating was simple and low-cost.
 Jar lanterns covered in recycled hessian. 
Tin cans with the labels peeled off, daisies pulled from the lawn...

Look at my cool-as Wanted Posters decorating the walls. These were a last-minute inspiration, and so simple to make.

I created the Wanted Posters in Photoshop, printed them out onto A3 paper and "aged" them using coffee. The boys all got to take theirs home, and had a good laugh about their outlaw names, crimes and the "Rewards" being offered for their capture.

In an effort to stick to my "simple" party plan, I also recycled some decor from earlier parties. Like the wobbly bunting (Toy Story Party), hessian/burlap (Boy vs Wild Party) and brown suedey fabric (Peter Pan Party). Cost = ZIP.

I also created printable "Wild West" labels for soda bottles, and made campfire cupcakes -which were all a huge hit when it was time for afternoon tea....

The "campfire" cupcakes were gluten free, super delicious, easy to decorate and so cute. One of the boys was overhead saying, "I don't want to eat this, it looks too cute!" (But he did).

Ten year old boys have loads of energy so we planned some simple but high-energy games...

First up was Backyard Soccer and penalty shoot-outs.
Shoot-outs, get it?? OK I'm reaching there, to make it sound on-theme. Really these are all mad keen footballers and so soccer was always gonna happen (along with wrestling pile-ups and a bit of Gangnam Style...)

The craziest game was my version of "Capture the Flag"... which became "Cowboys and Indians: Capture the Hats". Two teams, each with a base. The aim is to capture all the other team's hats and collect them at your base before they capture yours.... pure joyful mayhem...

(Recognize those feather headbands? Yep, recycled from the Peter Pan Party.)

(I just like this photo)

After the mayhem, we put up the tents and then cooked our dinner over the fire, cowboy-style. Steak on skewers, sausages, potatoes roasted in foil and damper/flatbread cooked on the grill...

See the brazier? It's brand-new. The bottom literally fell out of our old one at 1.30pm with the boys due to arrive at 3pm. Mr G had to race to Bunnings to get a new one or there would have been no campfire and hence no dinner. The new brazier is smaller but smarter. We could cook on two levels, with the potatoes roasting on the bottom level and the flatbread and steak skewers grilling on the top. Yum yum yum.

(RIP old faithful brazier. You served us and our many parties well.)

The Birthday cake was a campfire cake to match the cupcakes. So simple to make. So yummy, with that chocolate buttercream....

Happy tenth Birthday darling Dash!

By this time the boys were, shall we say, "off their heads" with sheer boy-energy and the excitement of camping, so we decided to simplify proceedings, and do away with a couple of planned activities which would only have added fuel to their hypo-fire.

We skipped "Truth or Dare" (the coolest game I've ever made, with a genuine Snake Oil spin-bottle label I had so cleverly made and loads of questions and dares which would have only put them all over the top *sniff*); we avoided all mention of toasting marshmallows (they needed no more sugar) and went straight to watching the movie. 

Afterwards they snuggled into their tents and eventually all drifted off to sleep around midnight, while me and Mr G perked coffee on the brazier and threatened them with sleeping in Scrag's tent if they didn't keep things to a whisper... Then Mr G bunked down with Scrag in their little tent, while I went off to sleep in comfort...

We survived.

And apparently the boys all had a great time. I mean, it really looks like they had a great time, right?

I don't know that I would recommend having quite so many boys at a backyard campout... it was pretty crazy. But hey, this was a bunch of outlaws in the Wild West, after all. What did I expect?

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