Ideas for the Party Human

Pirate Party

Posted on: October 29, 2009

THEME:  Pirates, Buried Treasure

INVITATIONS:  These could be shaped like a pirate ship or at least with a picture of a pirate on them.  Message should be couched in typical seaman’s language, such as something like this:  “Ahoy, all ye pirate lads!  ‘Tis time to hoist anchor and set sail in search of Blackbeard’s Treasure.  It’s  (child’s name)  birthday, and the adventure happens on  (date)  at  (time) .  Don’t be a landlubber, but come in your best pirate’s garb to  (house, address, etc.) , or you’ll be made to walk the plank!”  This party is ideal for boys aged 5-10.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Extra costume accessories for those who might need them, such as sashes, one-of-a-kind clip-on earrings or earrings made from string and small canning rings, newspaper pirate hats, head bands and black construction-paper eye patches; treasure chest filled with candy, toys and trinkets; padlock and key for chest; various clues written on pieces of parchment paper; cellophane tape; swimming pool and large rubber raft (if no pool is available, a child’s wagon could be decorated like a clipper ship and the children pulled over land to find the hidden clues and key); small shovels; paper and crayons and/or pirate story; kerchiefs or small bags to put “loot” in.  (You can make a treasure chest from a sturdy cardboard box by gluing fancy-shaped macaroni on it and spraying it with gold paint.)

FOOD:  Cake can be divided into sea (blue frosting or decorator’s gel) and beach (white or tan frosting sprinkled with brown sugar for sand).  A plastic ship sails on the sea, while palm trees, pirates and a treasure chest are placed on the beach.  Drink root beer and serve birthday child’s favorite ice cream with cake.  Miniature treasure chests could hold candy and nuts to nibble on.

DECORATIONS:  The outdoor area will not need much decoration, but the indoor area (if used) should be graced with various nautical items:  compass, fish nets, shells and starfish, plastic fish, toy boats, pictures of pirates, crossed swords, a globe or large world map.  Somewhere there should be a flag (or large poster) with the skull and crossbones on it.  You can also use bright-colored streamers and balloons.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:            The guests should arrive dressed as pirates, but you (the parent/host) have on hand extra accessories, such as those described in the MATERIALS section above, to help out those who forget.  When all have arrived, a helper dressed as a scurvy old pirate tells a tale of buried treasure and presents the children with the first clue to the whereabouts of this famed treasure.  This is a little riddle or rhyme on an odd-shaped piece of parchment, which hints at the location of the next clue.             

            The group of little pirates goes from place to place, collecting all the clues.  When they find the last one, they put them together like a puzzle to form a map.  (Tape is for holding it together.)  Reading the map, they decipher where the treasure is buried. 

            Provided with shovels, they then dig it up, discovering to their dismay that it is locked with a heavy padlock.  But wait!  There is a note attached to the chest telling how the key was thrown in the lagoon and can only be retrieved with the help of a mermaid.  (If pool and raft are not used, the key can be hidden somewhere else outdoors and can only be found with the help of a gypsy and her crystal ball.) 

            The pirates then board the raft and a swimsuited helper (such as an older sister) guides them slowly through the water to the place where the key lies.  She dives and retrieves it for them–in return for something, like a piece of the birthday cake!  Now, at last, they can open the treasure chest.  Inside they find dime store trinkets and toys, candy necklaces and chocolate gold coins.  Give everyone small bags to hold their shares of the loot.  The pirates then settle down for the opening of presents (if desired) and the eating of cake and ice cream. 

            If the children are old enough and there is plenty of supervision, they could swim in the pool until their parents come to get them.  (Be sure to ask them to bring suits and towels.)  If this is not desirable, they can go indoors to hear a pirate story and/or draw pirate pictures until time to leave.

Variations and Comments:        Another game that could be played is Capture a Pirate:  Merely Blindman’s Bluff with a pirate theme.


2 Responses to "Pirate Party"

Cute!!! We just did a pirate party for my son’s 5th birthday. It was the hit of the neighborhood, and months later, we have pirates all around the neighborhood!! 🙂

I wrote about it on my blog: Dresses ‘n Messes (

I didn’t include everything we did, but it might give you a couple more ideas. Be sure to check out the pirate ship cake that looks amazing, but was SO EASY to make!

Great job, Becki! I love this!

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