A Southwest theme party is appropriate for almost any occasion at any time of year. Warm-up a northern winter day with Tex-Mex festivities, or take advantage of a hot, sultry day in the middle of July with an outdoor Southwest party. Southwest theme parties can work for birthdays, retirement parties, family reunions or a Jack and Jill wedding shower. It's easy to make or purchase decorations that can be used later by you or your guests.
Incorporate decorations reminiscent of the desert. Think sand, cacti and lizards. Consider planting small cacti in individual terracotta pots, and placing them around the party room. These make lovely gifts for your guests and can add a touch of Southwestern decor to your home for months and years to come. If you are holding your party outdoors, wading pools full of sand will add to the atmosphere and will also give the children something to do. Place red, yellow and green plastic shovels and pails in the sand to encourage them to dig. Hang banners with desert flowers on the walls. Some desert decorations and party items are available through Oriental Trading Company (the link is below, in the Resources section).
Chili peppers add a touch of Southwest whimsy to any theme party. Try to use the chili's shape throughout your party room or deck. Make cookies in the shape of chili peppers or decorate the tops of cupcakes with a red-icing chili pepper. Serve chips and dips or salsa in chili-shape dishes. Simple kitchen items, such as dishtowels and oven mitts, often feature chili peppers; stock up on these and display them for the party; you can use them in your kitchen afterward.
A Southwest or fiesta party often features the bright colors of red, green and yellow or fuchsia, bright blue and bright yellow. Keep this in mind as you shop for party supplies and decorations. Buy balloons, paper lanterns and streamers in one of these color schemes. Purchase or make a "Fiesta" sign for your front door or front yard with your chosen colors. Place colored plastic margarita glasses near the punch bowl. Try to locate Mexican sombreros in your chosen color scheme to throw over the backs of chairs or distribute to guests as they enter.