A guide to creating a birthday party with a pirate theme. Use these ideas for pirate themed party invitations, decorations, food, games, costumes and prizes.

Ahoy me hearties! Boys (and girls) will love setting sail at this party, and the games and activities are ‘cool’ enough for even BIG kids to enjoy.

Pirate Party Invitation Ideas

  • Cut a card into a circle, and create a basic pirates face with coloured cardboard cut outs. You could put a red bandana across the top with a bow at the side, a black eye patch, and a moustache. Draw in the eyes and mouth, and of course a big scar across the cheek. Write your invitations on the back.
  • Cut out lots of gold coins and on each one write a different part of the invitation. For example: Time: 2pm – 4pm. Put all your gold coins into a small postage box, and decorate it up to look like a treasure chest. When your guest receives the chest, they’ll have to sort through all the treasure to find out what’s happening.
  • Use watered down coffee to age a piece of paper, and burn around the edges for extra effect. Write your invitation in code, and add a treasure map to show your guests exactly where the party is. You might want to add some code breaker tips, just in case.

Pirate Party Decorations

  • Make lots of newspaper trees and transform your lounge room into a deserted island. Simply roll 5 or 6 sheets of newspaper into a long pole, and wrap tape around several places on the bottom half to keep it secure. From the opposite end, cut down the newspaper pole to form strips. Bend the strips down and hey presto, you have instant palm trees!You can do the same thing using green crepe paper, or simply spray paint your newspaper trees in green and brown. Add some coconuts, a parrot and a few rocks, and your deserted island is complete.
  • Recreate a ship wreck by scattering bits of boat all around the house. You will need life rings, rope, maps, lanterns, lifejackets, and maybe a ships wheel if you can find one. Planks of wood could have come loose from the boat, so any bits of timber will help set the scene.
  • Pretend you are on a pirate’s ship and drape your whole house with pirates flags and treasure maps. Make sticks of dynamite by rolling up red cardboard, and strap them together with black insulation tape. Dangle a piece of string out of the end for extra effect.

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Pirate Party Games and Activities

  • Let the children paint their own pirates bandana using textile paint. Simply purchase plain bandanas from any emporium type shop, and leave them to get creative. Textile paints can be purchased from any good craft store, and cost between $20 – $30 for a starter set of 6. Directions for setting the paint are detailed on the packet, and will vary depending on the brand.
  • Make fishing poles with magnets on the end of the line, and set the children up to go fishing for prizes off the deck or stairs. Attach a giant paper clip to each of the prizes, so that when they dangle their rod, there is something for the magnet to grab hold of. (You may need a grown up amongst the prizes to give the magnet a helping hand.)
  • Give every child a small plastic soft drink bottle and a piece of paper. Have them write a special message to put inside the bottle and take a walk down to the beach to set them free. You may want them to write the date and their contact details on the message, so that the recipient can let them know where the bottle ended up. As this is sharing personal information with strangers, make sure you okay it with all the parents first.
  • Create a huge treasure hunt where the children have to follow a map and break the codes. If you have a sandpit, bury the treasure box in the sand so they have to dig it up.
  • Play ‘Sink the Ship’. Make newspaper cannon balls by screwing up balls of paper and securing them with tape. (You’ll need heaps!). Divide the children into 2 teams and give each team a bucket of cannon balls. Using a rope or some chalk, mark out a boat in front of each team. When you say ‘Go’, all the children start throwing their cannon balls, with the aim of them landing in the opposing team’s boat. When all the cannon balls are thrown, the team with the most balls in their boat is sunk.

Pirate Party Food

  • Use coloured icing to make plain round biscuits into pirate’s faces. Cut black liquorice straps to make the eye patch and scar, and put a gold chocolate coin at the ear for an earring.
  • Make individual pirate ships. Cut an orange or grapefruit in half, scoop out the flesh, and use the skin as a container to set some jelly. Once the jelly is well set, cut the fruit into wedges and poke a toothpick flag pole into the jelly. Attach a paper flag to the toothpick, and the ship is ready to sail.
  • Make blue lemonade jelly with chocolate fish swimming inside. You could either make a giant ocean for everyone to share, or set the jellies in individual mounds with one chocolate fish in each.
  • Buy pre-made brandy baskets (like brandy snaps but in a basket shape) from the supermarket and fill them with pirate’s treasure. You could use gold coins, candy watches, and mini Crunchie bars.
  • Package every child’s party food into their own treasure chest. Glad disposable containers are perfect for this, and can be painted up to look just like the real thing.

Pirate Party Costumes

Pirate costumes are easy. Cut off some old denim jeans (or roll them up), and add a striped top with a few rips. Add a bandana, an eye patch and a scar, and finish off with a big gold earring, and for girls – lots of jewels. If you want to go all out, throw on a waistcoat and stitch a toy parrot to your shoulder.

Pirate Party Prizes and Loot Bags

  • Instead of a traditional loot bag, use a cardboard postage box decorated as a treasure chest. Fill it with gold coins, fake jewels and other pirate treats.
  • Make a pirate’s survival kit and fill it with a small telescope, a compass, code breaker book, parrot food (nuts and raisins) and a plastic sword.
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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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