How to Create a Cowboy Costume

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You can be a rough-ridin' cowpoke, a slick Old West cardsharp, or a Hollywood-style cowboy, but remember: A ten-gallon hat is a cowboy's best friend. Follow these few easy steps to help you achieve the cowboy look ideal for Halloween or a costume party.

Things You'll Need

  • Bandannas
  • Cowboy Boots
  • Cowboy Hats
  • Country-western Shirts
  • Bob Wills CD
  • Country Western Dance Videos
  • Cowboy Costume
  • Look for the biggest ten-gallon hat out there. A white hat once signified a good guy and a black hat a villain, but anything goes today.

  • Slick back your hair, and perhaps draw on an eyeliner pencil mustache.

  • Knot a blue or red bandanna or a checked handkerchief around your neck. Or make a bolo tie from a shoelace.

  • Git yourself a snap-button denim shirt or a white, blue or checkered one. Tack shops carry a whole line of fancy fringed and embroidered ones for a splurge.

  • Put on that vest and don't worry about matching patterns. The Wild West means just that.

  • Buckle up that huge, Texas-size belt buckle. If necessary, make a belt buckle from cardboard and paint it silver with your name in fancy print.

  • Wear jeans, overalls, or brown or black pants.

  • Create chaps from butcher paper, fake suede material or an old pair of pants with the seat cut out. Wear them right over your jeans.

  • Glue paper or fabric fringe along all your seams, or, if you prefer, along just the pant seams and sleeves.

  • Break out the boots or the brogues - the range is full of brambles and buffalo chips, you know.

  • Git your holsters from a toy shop and stash two cans of spray cheese, cap guns or flashlights.

  • Walk bowlegged.

Tips & Warnings

  • Garage sales, tag and jumble sales, and thrift shops are indispensable for costumes. Also, fabric and craft stores, toy stores and costume shops are great for reasonably priced props.
  • Tack and feed shops have the real McCoy if dressing cowboy - or cowgirl - is addicting.
  • Cowgirls can wear exactly the same gear or any kind of full skirts or full-skirted dresses. Long, thin skirts are purdy too. Try petticoats or old-timey square dancing clothes as well.
  • Too busy minding the ranch to pull all those costume items together? See the Things You'll Need list for ready-made options.
  • Get used to walking in boots if you're a greenhorn on a long trick-or-treat roundup.
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