• Place real hay bales outside the entrance. If you have a saddle, put them on or around the bales of hay.

• Construct a hitching rail outside the venue and (if at all possible) a horse trough or tin bath equivalent will almost certainly result in someone getting a dunking before the saloon closes.

• OR, Make a hitching post using a wooden palette and a sign (included with the mystery).

• Create a sign post with different directional signs. You can have signs pointing people to: The Bank of Deadwood, telegraph office, jail, stagecoach, etc. (There are directions and templates on how to do this with the mystery.

• Make and hang a sign for your saloon. (Instructions and templates included with mystery purchase.)

• You can order some really cool saloon doors:

• OR, Construct your own saloon doors. Find out how to do so here.

• Not up for building, order your saloon door here.

• Cut out cowboy and a cowgirl silhouettes and hang them on the windows.

• Place oak barrels and/or growlers around the party space.

• Make a Saloon out of a picket fence, 2 palettes for sides and a large piece of plywood for the top!

• Create "old" liquor bottles by adding labels to empty bottles. Use them as props and/or to "stock your bar". (Designs included with purchase.)

• If you can find/obtain large cable spools, use them for saloon tables!

• Hang "wanted", "reward" and other themed posters all over the walls. (These templates and two more included with mystery purchase.

• Print out and hang other "saloon" signs. (These templates and two more included with mystery purchase.)

• OR, you can make your own saloon signs on wood! Simply cut a wood palette to the dimensions you want and paint your design on!

• Create your own branded beer and/or sarsaparilla (root beer). (Label designs included with purchase. Just adhere to beer or root beer bottles.)

• Set up a poker table for the tournament. (Note: you do not need to actually have a tournament or play poker. Some hosts find this is a fun activity to do before, during or after the mystery.)

• Use scene setters to create your saloon wall or a western scene.

• Bandanas, bandanas, bandanas! Order a plethora of bandanas and use them for everything! You can make banners out of them, use them as napkins, as apart of a table arrangement and/or runner, etc. The ideas are endless and having them handy will only aid in your decorating!

• COWBOY HATS! Order them in bulk (we found some here) and use them to decorate within the party space.
-took down photos on walls and replaced them with cowboy hats
-had them hanging on coat racks
-turned them upside down and served chips out of them
-used them in table decorations
-spray painted them gold and had them as awards
-had them avaiable for props at our photo spot
-had them available for anyone who forgot a hat!

• Compile an assortment of western objects and create displays around the party benue. Place them somewhere where everyone will see them - by the food, place where you get your nametags, etc.

• Make lassos from thick rope and hang as garland.

• Have small, tin buckets filled with peanuts.

• Use bandanas as napkins. You can even use metal sheriff's badges as napkin rings (pin one in the middle of each napkin).

• Use a real cowboy hat, turned upside down and line with a check napkin to hold chips.You can place bowls inside the hats, too, if you are hesitant about napkins.

• Place a small bowl in the top of a cowboy boot and fill it with salsa. Use boots of different sizes to give your salsa bar depth and variety.

• Arrange bunches of wheat, daisies, sunflowers or wildflowers in cowboy boots, metal coffee pots or tin pitchers.

• Bring in camping or storm equipment such as oil lamps, lanterns and cooking pots to add to the theme.

• Use potted cactii for your table centerpieces.

• Soak the labels off beer bottles and use bottles as candle holders.

You can use these fabrics for a number of things - table cloths, runners, nampkins, banners, window coverings, etc. Pretty much everything! They are a great way to accentuate and pull your theme together throughout the party space!
Some fabrics you may want to buy in bulk and use to pull your theme together:
- Burlap
- Red Gingham
- Bandanas!

• Get some red gingham fabric from a fabric store to use as an affordable table cloth.

To give your saloon an old-time (pre-electricty) feeling, you will want to consider some dim lighting.
Here are a few suggestions:
• Twinkly lights
• Old lanterns
• Candles
• Soak the labels off beer bottles and use bottles as candle holders.
• Fill a large mason jar with gold (spray-painted rocks) and a pillar candle

Create a jail for your dastardly guests of the night.

(Instructions on how to create THIS jail are included with mystery! Pictured directly above.)

• If you want to go all the way, you can purchase one of these buidings.(See below for links!)

Give your guests an unforgettable souvenir by setting up a photo area where they can capture a picture of themselves in character.

A few suggestions:

  • Pick a place where there will be good lighting.

  • You can make it as elaborate or simple as you want.

  • Accessories and decorations can make the difference. Have some extra props on hand that your guests can pose with. Think guns, growlers, boas, bottles of whisky, hats, etc.

  • An easy way to create a background is to use a "scene setter". These affordable rolls of images  transform your room instantly and make for a good backdrop to your picture.

  • Make sure there is enough room to fit everyone in to the frame.

  • For individual shots of guests, designate someone to be in charge of pictures as your guests arrive. 
    • Consider your character list and which character would fit the role of taking the picture. Ie, if you want mug shots, perhaps ask the investigator to be in charge of taking the pictures.

  • For a group picture, take one just before the introduction is read or right after the solution is read (before people may start heading out).
    • These are two times when you can count on everyone being around and attentive.

Some western ideas for your photo spot!

  • Have hay bales, cornstalks, saddles, wagon wheels, etc.

  • Have a scene setter room roll with a western theme or barn in the background.

  • Have "old" props, such as whisky bottles, growlers, old crates, milk cartons, wagons, etc.

  • Create your photo spot in front of a scene prop, like a jail, bank, saloon, etc.

  • Hang a "Deadwood Saloon" sign above your photo spot and have everyone pose underneath it.

  • Have a WANTED sign as a phot prop -- all it takes is a piece of carboard and a sharpie!( See below!)

    For More Decorations, follow any of the links below:
    (If you don't see them right away, refresh the page.)

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