Imaginative mum, Kelly, takes us behind the scenes of her son's pirate-themed birthday party.
It’s a Pirate Party! Here are all the details about my son’s Pirate Birthday Party, organized into sections: Invitations, Activities, Games, Food/Menu, Cake, Favors, and Decorations.
There are so many things you can do on your own with a Pirate theme, stay on a budget, and still have it looking good. Most of the guests at our party were three- to eight-year-olds, and they were all entertained fairly equally. So bear with me. It’s a rather long post, but hopefully you will get loads of ideas on what (or what NOT) to do for your own party.
These pirate ship invitations are unbelievably simple to create. A sail shape is cut around the printed party information, embossed to make it look like a piece of linen, and hole-punched so a bamboo skewer can slide through it. The skewer is anchored by a big marshmallow that is wedged between the sides of the black ship. I wrote the kids’ names on each pirate ship in white, inside a white stamped frame. Luckily we only had to mail a few of these out. For those, we instructed the recipient to use their own marshmallow to hold the sail up. For the others, my son had a ball being “mailman” and delivering the invitations personally to his friends.
It instructs guests to “say ‘Aye’ if ye be attending” Captain Jack’s party (naming him Jack really came in handy here!)
You’ll see the font and clip art from the sail on other things throughout the party to tie it all together.
Now it’s party time!
While the kids are arriving we have two activities – a pirate tattoo station (operated by the helpful Daddy sitting on the floor who was quickly enlisted into action) and an ocean-in-a-bottle craft (run by the helpful mommy on the right who was asked ahead of time to lead this one). It took me a couple years of being totally exhausted during our parties, and not having any photos of them, to realize … I could actually ask others for help!! Running activities and crafts, serving food, collecting wrapping paper, taking photos, scooping ice cream, it all can be outsourced. As a mom attending parties I would rather help out than stand around. Much, much better this way!
You can see the ocean-in-a-bottle craft on the counter above. These are fun to make, and fun to play with! The oil and water stay separate, so when you tilt the bottle back and forth it looks like waves tossing the little fish and shells around.
Here are instructions: Save your empty plastic water bottles, pre-fill them one-third full with vegetable oil, and write the children’s name or initials on the cap. Putting names on the cap ahead of time will help avoid any confusion later. At the party, let the kids pour blue water into the water bottle (using a funnel), and add various small sea creatures. You can get packs from the dollar store, or I just raided my childrens’ collection. We also took apart a shell necklace (anyone remember these from the late 70s?) and let the kids put the tiny shells in. If you’re up for it, I’ve seen glitter used too, but the kind I tried just floated on top and didn’t do much for the mess it caused. When all the kids have made their oceans, have your helpful Mom friend take them to an out-of-the-way place and hot glue the caps onto the bottles. You don’t want them leaking all over!
Once all the kids arrived, it was time to initiate them into service. They are joining a pirate crew to find some long lost treasure. Everyone gets a new pirate name. In our party, we had Connor the Cannon, Fishfood Kaitlyn, Dirty Cale, Old Sealegs Tessa, Evil-Eye Rhett, Mandy Man-Eater, Bones Brayden, Landlubber Layla, Gold Toothe Humza, Three Fingers Nuha, One-Eyed Christopher, Peglegged Joey, Sword Swallower Dayyan, Fishlips Mona. And the two babies in attendance were Poopdeck Matthew and Toothless Luke! Each child got a skeleton necklace with their pirate name on it. The dollar store sells the skeletons 3/$1, then I added baker’s twine to make the necklace. A strip of paper with their pirate name is wrapped across the ribs to complete the necklace.
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo … I had to do an extreme crop on one of the party-goers to get a picture of the necklace!
The head pirate (me, talking in a pirate-y voice) showed everyone the treasure map and explained that each location hides a part of their pirate costume, to be earned at the games later. We made the map from a grocery bag (brown craft paper will do too), crumpled it up, and burned the edges. This put the birthday boy over the top – he LOVED watching the fire on his map. In fact, as I write this 6 months later, he has just run upstairs to draw his own map so we can do it again. His older brother was also inspired at the time and made his own map. Fun project!
The birthday boy got to hold the map and everyone had to work together to figure out the clues. Some were harder than others. The bird cage was an actual decorative bird cage that sits on my end table which held the eye patches. But the rectangle with 3 squares represented our couch which hid the large swords underneath. Perfect for a variety of ages … the three-year-olds get the birdcage clue, and the eight-year-olds can figure out what the rectangle with 3 squares is. Eye patches are hidden behind this pirate flag, and mustaches, swords, hooks, sashes, hats are hidden throughout the living room. We also hid gold coins throughout the house for filler activities as kids finished games/lunch/cake at different times. This came in handy, as the kids loved finding the gold coins throughout the party.