Any mom of a little boy or two is almost certain to have the privilege of experiencing the fun of the pirate phase. Although these usually tend to appear during the month of October, why not let yer 'lil swashbuckler enjoy that phase just a little longer by offering to host a pirate themed birthday party for him? I can almost guarantee that this will be a party he will always remember and will certainly be a hit with all his matey's.Below you will find a bunch of great ideas you can choose from to create a party fitting any great pirate Cap'n!
Create a treasure map with an X marking the party spot. Make copies on aged colored paper and burn edges slightly to create an aged effect, add party details in calligraphy and can roll up and tie or roll up and stick into a small empty mini size liquor bottle. Can also dip regular computer paper in tea to age.
You can also find an old Caribbean map online, save the picture file and if large enough file, use Photoshop, etc. and change the color to sepia tones. Lighten enough to use as a background then use a good pirate font to type party directions over that and print out, then burn the edges to age further. You can also look for good pirate themed clip art to use to enhance the invitations.
Create a custom pirate map table cloth by soaking inexpensive muslin in a tea bath. When dry, use fabric markers and paint to create a giant treasure map. Check out some pre-made maps for inspiration. You can customize yours by adding local landmarks.
You can hang pieces of netting (and use a piece for the table where the cake is placed). Hang dried starfish, sponges, coral etc. on the netting. You can also place some seashells on the table netting.
Place cardboard or inflatable palm trees around the party area for a Caribbean feel
Decorate the walls with pirate maps and flags. You can purchase inexpensive life-size pirates and other Caribbean and pirate themed cut-outs and murals which can be temporarily hung with tape for the party. The life-sized cut-outs are great for picture taking with each guest.
You can make a lookout tower out of cardboard and let kids look for rival pirate ships with hand-held spyglass (telescope) (paper towel rolls covered in paper)
If feeling really ambitious, gather up appliance boxes and build a pirate ship or two which you can paint. Make a mast from a large dowel rod or pvc tubing and use a sheet of white poster-board to make a sail and stencil or draw a skull & crossbones. You can make it look like wind is blowing by bowing the poster-board out a bit before attaching to the dowel rod, can attach each to two chairs to keep it upright.
Pass the cannonball (like the hot potato game) played with a paper maché,sand filled round balloon, black ball etc. with players sitting in a circle. When the music stops, the player holding the cannonball is out. The last remaining player wins.
Cannonball toss played outdoors with small, black water balloons.
Musical islands - cut out and color shapes of Caribbean islands and place in a circle. Play island or pirate music and kids must sit on the island when the music stops - standing pirates walk the plank! Remove an island after each pirate is eliminated and the last "pirate" left, wins!
Pin the flag on the ship, pin the patch on the pirate, or pin the X on the treasure map.
Treasure hunt for chocolate coins (buy in bulk for the best price).
Cut out the shape of a ship from large appliance box and cut a variety of holes in different sizes, marking the smaller holes with a higher point value and the larger holes with a smaller hole value and have a cannonball toss. The pirate to score the highest amount of points wins.
If you were ambitious enough to make two pirate ships, have two teams throw plastic ball pit cannonballs behind each ship. The team with the most balls when game is over, loses. You can also set this up outside for a fun water-cannonball fight!
Walk the plank game - mark of a plank on the floor with several stops. Each guest takes turns remembering pirate-related words in the correct sequence. Every time they get it wrong, they take a step forward, once they make a certain number of mistakes, they walk the end of the plank and lose the game. The guests with the most correct answers, wins.
Hang a parrot pináta filled with pirate themed candy, tattoos, gold wrapped chocolate coins etc.
Cake: Make a large sheet-cake, bake some batter in a large mixing bowl to use as the island (rounded side up!). Use blue frosting on sheet cake for the ocean, sprinkle light brown sugar around the round domed cake for sand (you can add seashell shaped candies).
Frost the center of island cake green, make palm trees from pretzel sticks with green chocolate melts in shape of leaves and glue on with more chocolate melts (to make the leaves, carefully melt the colored chocolate melts in the microwave or over a double boiler and then spoon into a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off. Pipe palm leaf shapes onto wax paper and let cool). Make leaves by cutting strips of green airhead candies (warmed up) or fruit leather. Put some plastic pirates on the island and a toy pirate ship in the sea and one on the edge of the island. You can have a pair of plastic dolphins jumping out of water.
You could make cupcakes with white or chocolate frosting with either white or black skull & crossbones done in frosting or chocolate melts or you can top with a gold chocolate coin flat or standing up at an angle.
Serve fish sticks, fries and ketchup.
Make blue Jello with candy gummy sharks in clear plastic cocktail cups.
Pirate punch (blue Kool-Aid) with ice cubes in fish shapes (can freeze using a concentrated Kool-Aid or juice to add color.)
Goldfish crackers and pretzel rods peg legs.
Make a stack of paper mache cannonballs which holds candy/prizesindividual paper treasure boxes or drawstring bags filled with gold chocolate coins, ring pops, candy necklaces, gold nugget gum.
Give each guest a "pirate kit" upon arrival which includes an eye patch, bandana or hat, hook or sword. You can purchase pirate kits at dollar stores which usually contain an earring or another pirate accessory. These can also be found at party supply stores or online at Oriental Trading Company.
The guests can take the pirate kit home with them as a party favor.