Wild West Saloon Murder Mystery Game Costumes Ideas

cowboy-themed murder mystery party

Tough Cowboys and Cowgirls. Horse thieves. Hard working saloon girls. Sharpshooters. Train robbers. And cold-blooded murderers. 

It sounds like you are going to a Wild West Saloon murder mystery party! Need inspiration for your character? Look no further; at Masters of Mystery, we can help with your wild west wardrobe ideas.

So, what outfits could you wear to a Wild West Saloon murder mystery party?

  • Saloon Girl Costume
  • Can-Can Dancer Costume
  • Cowgirl Costume
  • Cowgirl Bandit Costume
  • Cowboy Costume
  • Cowboy Bandit Costume
  • Saloon Bartender

Remember, before your plan out your cowboy or cowgirl dress-up, discover more about your character in your character booklet. The small details help. Does your character have an eyepatch, a gunslinger, or a traveling salesperson? Not only will this help to guide your costume ideas, but it will also really help with the props and accessories! Staying true to your assigned character is key!

 The article explores several gendered and gender-neutral costume ideas.

Must-Read: How to host a murder mystery dinner party 

Saloon Girl Costume

wild west costumes for murder mystery party

A saloon was a place for drinking and gambling, but their chief attraction was dancing. Saloons started popping up across the West as dance halls, where females were employed to dance by the saloon owner. The women charged per dance and often earned more than working men. The saloon women were also tasked to steer the men towards the bar to commission drinks. Many saloon girls would find marriage prospects from within their workplace, and it was not uncommon for the saloon owner to discourage girls from having regulars so that they would not lose them.

Saloon girl costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online.

DIY Costume recommendations: off the shoulder shirt, corset or vest, and long skirt cowboy hat, fishnet tights, boots, black lace choker, fan

saloon girl costume

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: saloon girls, entertainers, singers, travelers

 

Can-Can Entertainer/Dancer Costume

The Can-Can entertaining girls originated in Paris amongst the working class in the 1800s. The shocking showgirl routine revealed more of women's bodies than what was considered appropriate. Migration brought the costume and the show to America's where it gained popularity in Western saloons, becoming known as "women of the line." 

Can-Can showgirl dress costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online.

can-can costume for cowboy-themed murder mystery party

DIY Costume recommendations: Typically, can-can girls colors are red and black, flouncy long skirts, tutus or waterfall skirts (shorter in the front, longer in the back), off-the-shoulder blouses with a bustier-style top and heels. You can accessories the outfit with fishnet tights, pearls, feather bowers, and feathers in the hair. 

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: saloon girls, entertainers, singers, travelers. 

Cowgirl Costume

cowgirl costume for wild west murder mystery game

In the Wild West, women played a considerable role in the running and maintaining of ranches. Many women wore clothes similar to their husbands, fathers, and brothers to give them more practical options for their work. The Wild West women were also innovators of style, pioneering the splits skirts to keep up with the men! However, many others continued to stick to the Victorian dress style but were fine riders, trick ropers, and expert marksmen!

Cowgirl dress costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online. 

DIY Costume recommendations:

Option 1: off-the-shoulder blouse, corset, long skirt or split skirt, boots, holster, fake cowboy pistol & cowboy hat

Option 2: Checkered blouse or shirt, brown trousers, handkerchief, thick belt, holster, fake cowboy pistol, cowboy boots 

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: Cowgirl, Western Traveller, bandits, outlaws

 

Cowgirl Bandit Costume

cowgirl outlaw costume for wild west themed murder mystery game

The Wild West was an infamous time of lawlessness, framed by the familiar stories of male outlaws like Billy the Kid and Jesse James. Unbeknown to many people are the stories of the equally notorious female outlaws; like Rose Dunn, a.k.a. Rose of the Cimarron, Mary Katherine Haroney, a.k.a. Big Nose Kate, Eleanor Dumont, a.k.a. Madame Mustache, and so many more. These female criminals wreaked havoc across the Wild West as gang leaders, highway robbers, horse robbers, bank robbers, black widows, gambling madams, and gunslingers, and strangely enough, many were the height of high fashion! 

Cowgirl bandit dress costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online.

DIY Costume recommendations:

Option 1: off-the-shoulder blouse, bodice, long skirt or trousers, holster, fake cowboy pistol & cowboy hat

Option 2: Checkered blouse or shirt, brown trousers, handkerchief, thick belt, holster, fake cowboy pistol, cowboy boots

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: madams, stagecoach robbers, outlaws, travelers, outlaw gang leader, sharpshooters, gunslingers, horse thieves

 

Cowboy Costumes

cowboy costume

Cowboys were essential to the US western expansion, but they had to deal with grueling work and dyer conditions. Many western cowboys lived a lonely life, different from that portrayed in Hollywood. 

Cowboys were generally in charge of herding cattle, catching wild horses, and branding them for particular ranches. When they weren't living on the ranches in bunkhouses, they often created settlement camps that began to form towns.

Some cowboys started to test their skills against each other in rodeo. This also began to branch into entertainment for townspeople and became a way for cowboys to win prize money. 

Cowboy costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online.

cowboy costume murder mystery party

DIY Costume recommendations: denim jeans or trousers, blue shirt, waistcoat, vest, jacket or combination, heavy belt, handkerchief, and cowboy hat. 

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: cowboys, rodeo cowboy, stagecoach driver, mine workers, card dealer, traveling salesperson, rodeo cowboy

 

Western Outlaw Costume

western outlaws

Horse Thieves. Cattle Rustlers. Sharpshooters. Train robbers. And cold-blooded murderers. There were many in the Wild West, and their stories have turned into legends. Some of the most famous Western outlaws include Billy the Kid, Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, and more. These were some of the roughest and toughest killers of the 1800s, and while dress up in outlaw costumes is important, you must bring a villainous attitude too!

Western outlaw costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online.

Western outlaw costumes for murder mystery party

DIY Costume recommendations: Jeans or trousers, poncho, waistcoat or vest, shirt, neckerchief, cowboy hat, boots, spurs, holster, and cowboy pistol.

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: outlaw gang member, robber, gambler, sharpshooter, cowboy, gold miner

 

Saloon Bartender Costume

bartender costume western saloon murder mystery party

Probably one of the most dangerous jobs in the West would have to be a bartender. The bartender deals with the roughest and toughest characters day after day in the Wild West – the number of dirty secrets they must have known. They often acted like the security for the saloon and the dancers, plus held the key to liquid gold – the whisky and rum –  surely they were always packing?

Old West Bartender costumes are readily available for purchase or hire from costume stores and online.

DIY Costume recommendations: black pants, white shirt, apron, pinstripe vest, armbands, bowler hat, black necktie, mustache

Ideal for Murder Mystery Roles: saloon owner, bartender, wild west gentlemen (without apron), etc. 

Must read: How to host a virtual murder mystery party

 

Quick Tips for Wild West Mystery Game Costume Make-up and Hairstyles  

 

Complete your 1920's themed -costume with some makeup and wild west hairstyles.  Consider the following:

Women Hair and Make-Up suggestions

Female hairstyles in the 1800s were practical. Curls and ringlets were all the fashion,d many saloon women drew their hair upwards to draw attention to the neckline.  Often hairstyles were accessorized with flowers, feathers, and lace. 

Makeup was very minimal for an 1800 purist costume. Red lipstick came into fashion towards the later 1800s, but most women had straightforward and minimal makeup finishes.

 

Male Hair and Makeup

While the girls get to experiment with 1800s hair and makeup, so can the men – especially with your facial hair game. Facial hair was widespread for cowboys, as they would spend days away herding cattle. Experiment with mustaches, beards, and stubble. 

You may want to also experiment with a bit of makeup. Use darker browns and greys sparingly across your face to give you that dirty look – spending all day on the ranch is messy work! 

 

Host your own Wild West Cowboy-Themed Murder Mystery Game

"High Noon at Dead Man's Saloon"

 wild west cowboy-themed murder mystery party

Masters of Mystery offers you a moment of complete escapism and adventure, sending you back to the gun-slinging  Wild West with our Cowboy Saloon murder mystery game kit.

Host your own Murder Mystery Game with our Random Murderer Option.  Our Murder Mystery Game delivers between 1.5 -3 hours of fun, enjoyed at home with the family, at a dinner party, virtually, or as a function for colleagues or professional events.

Put on your boots and spurs and head back in time to 1870, to the Wild West Saloon in the town of Dead Man. Discover the identity of the murderer of our town's dear sheriff. Was it one of the saloon girls, maybe cowboy, or the leader of an outlaw gang?   

Assume the role of one of our gendered or gender-neutral characters.

Use our costume recommendations to play as Anni Croakley (traveling gunslinger), Patty Petticoat (Saloon dancer), One-eyed Pete (notorious Outlaw gang leader), Roe. D. Oh (Cowboy), Shott O'Whiskey (bartender), and many more. 

If you are interested in other mystery games, please see our store for a range of other exciting adventure games.

 

 

Must read: How Many People Do You Need For A Murder Mystery Party?

Must read: 10 Must-Ask Questions To Solve A Murder Mystery Game 

 


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