Hilarious, mostly inaccurate stereotypes exist in all parts of the country: surfers who subsist on burritos in California, fist-pumping hair gel enthusiasts in New Jersey, and... pickup truck-driving cowboys jamming out to “Achy Breaky Heart.” However, the truth is that Texas is as diverse as it is huge -- and we know how to party. So ditch the cheesy clichés and don’t even think about relying on Pinterest boards because you’re about to have a locals-approved, Texas-style bash!
Set the Mood with Music
Get your Spotify playlist filled with hits and deep cuts from Texan-born artists like Gary Clark Jr, Willie Nelson, Beyoncé, George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Holly, Janice Joplin and Kelly Clarkson. Better yet, rent a karaoke system. Your neighbors will love your brother in law’s Norwegian black metal rendition of “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
Texas is the home of Whataburger, where families and deep-in-debt college students have been flocking for decades. We also invented the corn dog and we eat it with... Whataburger brand ketchup! Every Texas party has to have Frito pie served in the bag and topped with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.
The one stereotype that is, and will always be, correct is the fact that we BBQ. A lot. Brisket, ribs, sausage, fajitas... it’s all good. If you want to bring in South Texas’s Mexican influence, serve fruit cups: fresh-cut melon and cucumber seasoned with a squeeze of lime and Lucas or Tajin. Add some smoke to that sabor with roasted corn, AKA street elote served with butter, cotija cheese, lime, chili powder and cilantro!
Decorating for Dummies
Show your creativity by eating a ton of soup the week before, punching holes in the cans, and stringing them with twinkly lights, or placing them on the table and around the ground as lanterns. Channel Marfa-chic vibes by purchasing a ton of tiny succulents from Home Depot and bring the desert to your home even if you live in a lush valley.
Dressing like one of Texas’s queens -- Beyonce or Selena -- is almost always appropriate, but you can bust out that David Robinson jersey, don chaps (hey, we don’t judge), or that perfectly-soft pearl snap shirt your dad got at Shepler’s in the ‘80s.
Movie and Sunset
Grab a large white sheet and hang it on a shed, side of house or fence. Movie picks should include a mix of light family classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or film noir Friday Night Lights (the movie, not the show, but that’s good, too). Hard to believe, but we do have a hip side as well here -- Dazed and Confused, Bottle Rocket. All ours.
In Texas we like to throw things: horseshoes, washers, beanbags. Although only one of those is fun to get hit with, so choose cornhole vs. horseshoe toss based on how good/bad your friends’ aim is.
We also like to trap stuff: try to lasso rope around stuffed animal cows. And, we like party favors, so give your guests a takeaway gift bag stuffed with Texas-themed lighters, Twang beer salt, some horse finger puppets, Texas Lottery scratch-offs, and steakhouse gift cards. Your guests will thank you later, because good manners are the most essential part of any Texas party.