A Hoot of a Time: Our 1st Hootenanny!

I love birthdays. I love the planning and organizing. I love doing things a bit extreme. Contrary to what you might think, I do it because I enjoy crafting and, more importantly, I do it for my kids.  I love discussing the decorations and cake design with my kids and I love their building excitement as the plans come together. I am not a professional baker, but they never question my skills when they throw out their ideas. That makes me proud. Whales, trucks, Squidgy!! That last one was my challenge for my son’s third birthday.


If you don’t recognize it, you are likely not familiar with the television show Justin Time. Squidgy is a sponge like toy that goes on make-believe adventures with his pal Justin. A great show to encourage travel and teach geography. Well, all he wanted was a Squidgy cake and a hootenanny party. What three year old requests a hootenanny birthday party?? The answer? No one!!

I searched and searched for ideas. I searched online and found hootenanny ideas for adults, hillbilly costume parties, and lots of redneck drinking ideas, but nothing suitable for a bunch of three year olds. Then struck out again in finding a squidgy cake to replicate. So, I was on my own.

I worked off a few hoedown ideas, some western and farm themed suggestions, and pulled together my first hootenanny, with specialty Squidgy cake, to celebrate the awesome little kid turning three!

He dressed the part!


The decorations could be used for a hoedown. Picnic plaid, hay bales, picnic tables and blankets. I used red and blue cowboy plaid, natural fabrics, bandanas, and sunflowers to set the scene.


Guests arrived to handmade signs instructing them to grab their gear and musical instruments were distributed so everyone could join in the fun.


My husband had his guitar and had prepared three songs at the request of the birthday boy. Everyone played along and the hootenanny was toe tapping fun for all ages.


After the music we played games. Snake in my boots and Cattle Ranglers. We found an amazing website that shares game ideas. Unlike other websites we found, every game on PartyGamesPlus.com was thoughtful and creative.

Whats a hootenanny without food? Food at a hootenanny has to be comfort food. We served up mac and cheese, trail mix, and miniature corn dogs.


The watering hole provided lemonade for the kids and some spirits for these adults.


There was an episode of Justin Time where Squidgy goes to a hootenanny. I’m sure that is where the whole idea came from. The episide was funny and Graham laughs over and over again while he watches. Justin and Squidgy threw a fun hootenanny, but our hootenanny (probably because we were there) was awesome!! It was over the top fun because my husband wrote and performed some toe tapping tunes. The music made our hootenanny unforgetable.

Graham is still singing his hootenanny songs. The birthday was awesome, but the music was where the memories will lie. And that is the difference between any western themed birthday and a hootenanny. You’ve got to have the music.


Do yourself a favor, don’t just throw a hoedown, go one step further and introduce your littles to hootenanny fun.

I hope some of these ideas help you throw your first hootenanny. This post goes out to my little cowboy who turned the BIG three and did it in true style.


From cake to decorations and games. Birthdays were meant to be enjoyed. Kids really know how to do it and that is why I will continue to ask them and do birthdays BIG. You are only little once and my job as their momma is to make sure each birthday is extra special.



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