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Kids' Pirate Party Ideas

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Shiver me timbers! A pirate's bash for the wee scallywags be upon us!

Translation for the land lubbers: Wow! It's time for a kids' pirate party!

1. Summon Ye' Mates

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
There are several ways to beckon ye' mateys to a pirate's soiree, including the large variety of pirate-themed invitations available at party supply stores. My favorite idea for a pirate party invitation, however, is a treasure map. This type of invitation is easy to make with some clipart, a paper and a pen. If you can draw, you don't even need the clipart; simply sketch a rough outline of pirate's map, with an “X” marking the spot of the party location.
Additional ideas for pirate party invitations:
  • A message in a bottle.
  • A postcard photo of the birthday child in a pirate costume.
  • Pirate coloring pages.
  • Miniature treasure chests, with a small scroll of party details tucked inside.

2. Raise the Flags

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
Set a plank of wood at the entrance to the party. You could prop this up on bricks or wood blocks, so that guests will need to “walk the plank” to gain entrance to the party space.

In the backyard, stake pirate flags in the ground or hang them from fence posts and deck rails. Inside, hang pirate flag banners.

Treasure chests can be found in several sizes at many craft stores. Choose one that is the right size to serve as your table’s centerpiece. Fill it with overflowing “treasures” such as gold coins, beaded necklaces and artificial jewels. Scatter extra pieces of the treasure around as table confetti.

Mini treasure chests filled with chocolate coins can be set as pirate place cards that double as party favors. Simply label the chests or bag of coins with the names of your guests.

3. Embark on Adventures

Image courtesy of Clipart.com
If ye leave pirates to their own devices, they’re bound to raise a ruckus. Perhaps ye better find some ways to keep the rowdy bunch amused.
  • Pirate Garb
    You can ask kids come dressed as pirates, or you can supply a couple of items to help them get into the spirit of things. Eye patches, bandanas, felt pirate hats and pirate hooks are accessories that are usually available in places such as craft stores, dollar stores and costume shops. Choose one or all of these items to give out to guests as they arrive. And since these items can also be used as the party favors, you can consider your doubloons well spent.

  • Pirate Names
    Every guest at a pirate party needs a pirate name. You can make these up ahead of time and create your own pirate naming game, like this one from Magical Childhood; or find inspiration for pirate names through an online pirate name generator. If you use the online tool, you may want to do it ahead of time as some of the results may not be as kid-friendly as you’d like (you can tailor the less appropriate results to suit your age group).

    Don’t forget the pirate nametags so everyone can address one another by these new monikers for the duration of the party.

  • Pirate Ship
    Ye aint really a pirate if ye aint got a ship, matey! To make them a pirate ship, cut one of the long sides off of a refrigerator-sized box and lie it down with the open side facing up, then let the little scallywags paint and decorate their very own pirate ship with paint, markers and of course, a pirate flag. Do this at the start of the party so any paint will dry in time for kids to actually be able to play in the ship (or paint it ahead of time and let them decorate with colored markers and accessories). Another fun option is to paint the cardboard ship with chalkboard paint and fill it with plenty of chalk.

  • Sunken and Buried Treasures
    Fill fish bowls with water, a few aquarium decorations and some miniature treasure chests or strings of beads. Players must use a hook hand to fish out the sunken treasures. To have them dig for their loot, bury additional treasures in a sand box.

  • Walk the Plank
    Blindfold guests, spin them around and then see who is able to walk the length of the plank without stepping off of it.

  • Messages in Bottles
    Pair the little pirates up and have them decorate empty, plastic water bottles. Ask them to each write a message for their partner, and place them in one another’s bottles. Label the bottles by name, replace the caps and set them at guests’ seats at the party table. When it’s time for cake, they can open their bottles and read the messages their friends wrote for them.

  • Play Pirates Treasure.
  • Make Your Own Pirate Hooks
  • Gather everyone together for a viewing of a Pirate-themed movie such as Hook, The Goonies or "Pirates of the Caribbean. Keep the ages of your party guests in mind when selecting a film. If your party is for young children, consider viewing an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

4. Feast on Some Grub

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
All of that adventure sure works up a pirate's appetitie. A bounty of pirate's grub will hold back the rumbling (in their tummies, anyway). Incorporate some of these pirate-themed food items into your party menu:
  • Pirate Grog: replace the labels on bottles of water, soft drinks or juice boxes with a skull and crossbones label.
  • Pirate Fruit Ship: a watermelon boat filled with fruit (add pirate flags with toothpicks to turn the boat into a pirate ship).
  • Pirate Ship Pasta: instead of a watermelon, carve a boat out of a spaghetti squash. Fill it with a pasta dish, like macaroni and cheese or baked ziti.
  • Mini cannonballs: cocktail meatballs.
  • Brownie treasure chests.
  • Pirate cake or pirate cupcakes.

5. Gather Ye' Loot

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
Everyone knows that pirate’s don't leave anywhere empty-handed, so remember to send them home with a treasure.
Suggestions for pirate party favors:
  • Eye patches.
  • Pirate hats.
  • Pirate hooks.
  • Pirate swords.
  • Chocolate coins.
  • Mini treasure chests.
  • Plush parrots.
  • Pirate loot bags.
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