Pirate Party

Pirate Party 4yr - Blackbeard's Treasure




Jen in Peoria, Arizona, USA


December 2007


Runner Up

For my son's 4th Birthday Pirate Party held in December, I started planning early July. I'm the type that loves putting a ton of detail into a party and I love to plan and organize.  I had several spreadsheets of plans, items to buy, lists of all I wanted to plan and purchase. My mom and I started searching the internet and stores for pirate decorations and goodies and we found it to be good that we started early because it allowed us to spread the cost of the party and we didn't have so much to buy at the end. We had 22 children, plus parents, so we had a full house. The party was scheduled for December and typically in Arizona, our weather is nice, but of course the weekend of the party, it had rained hard the day before and Saturday it was cold. We cancelled the bouncy house, set up the lunch tables in the house and just did the games and treasure hunt outside.  Here is how our pirate party shaped up:

Invitation I ordered from Oriental Trading the pirate message in the bottle invitations. The bottles came with sand, pirate ring, invite and eye patch. I took out their supplied invite and printed on light beige resume paper (it looks sort of old) the following invite:  Ahoy there Mateys! Come if ye dare to Pirate Bradley's 4th Birthday Bash! We need shipmates to swab the deck, walk the plank & hunt fer pirate treasure.   Aaarr!  Join us for some grub, fun & pirate treats Ship sets sail, so chart yer course for Saturday, December 8th We be meetin at 11:00 a.m.  Meet us at old man McGlasson Island Address  Yo ho ho let us know, wave yer flag if ye be attendin' or have yer mum send word by phone to deck hand Jen at phone # See ye there if ye dare. .. Aarrgghh!   I then took each invite and lightly burned all 4 sides of the invitation. I rolled the invite up and tied with gold string. We hand delivered all the invites we could and put the others in small boxes to those we had to mail. The invites were well received  everyone loved them.  

Decorations Our front patio, we have a small courtyard with a short gate. In the front yard, we had staked several pirate flags around the driveway. On the gate  we attached a ship steering wheel and then mounted a pirate behind the gate who appeared like he was steering the wheel. Over the short fence to the courtyard, we hung black fish nets with all sorts of sea creatures in. When people entered into the courtyard, they were welcomed into the Caribbean.we had a small area of an island with a mound of sand, a blow up palm tree, a treasure chest with jewels and other pirate loot. We also had a pirate skeleton sitting in a chair with a sign that said Ahoy Mateys. At Target I found a Pirates of the Caribbean CD/Radio player that was an actual shape of a treasure chest. I burned a CD that continuously played Yo Ho Yo Ho, Pirates Life for Me and Welcome to the Caribbean (a child's pirate song).  To make it appear that the children were entering a ship, I purchased a thick chunk of wood, stained it dark and just propped it up on to the door step, so it was a short ramp up into the front door. I then purchased 2  - 2x4 thin strips of wood, one for each side of the ramp. I stained those and found large hook staffs. My husband drilled hooks and we put the hooks evenly along the strips of wood. I found thick fake chains (Halloween decorations) and placed the chains between the hooks, so it felt like they were entering a ship. The front door there was a huge pirate sign.  When the children arrived, I had a small thin card table with Pirate dress up items. So upon being welcomed aboard and saying Hello to the Captain (the birthday boy), they were invited to step over to the dressing table where we had Pirate tattoos, pirate bandana's, red waist sashes (purchased cheap red fabric and cut strips for their sashes). In addition, I found at the Dollar store  pirate decorating packs for $1.00 each each pack was a little different, but I purchased enough for black (plastic) vests, hooks, mini swords, eye patches and hoop earrings. Some children came dressed up and others just came in jeans and white shirts, but most all participated in the dress up area.

Once our birthday guests were dressed in their pirate finest attire  everyone stepped outside and started on the craft. At Michaels Craft store, my mom and I found plastic buckets and pirate decorating packs. So each child could pick up a bucket and a pirate pack and decorated their buckets. After they were finished, we had a small baby pool filled with sand. In the sand, we had pirate jewelry, pirate themed items  all purchased from Oriental Trading. Each child could dig for their buried treasure.  Since our house was decorate for Christmas  I had two small Christmas trees in the kitchen area. The trees only had white lots on them. At Walgreens Drug store at Halloween, I found pirate skull lights, so I decorated those two small trees with pirate lights. Around our kitchen island, I put the ship cake on a high cake pedestal in the middle and took red thin fabric and weaved it around and under the food platters. I placed cheap dress up necklaces  all colors, gold coins, jewels and also had lots of pirate details around the food and island. The centerpiece of our kitchen table  I placed some more red fabric, necklaces, rings, gold coins and then a large material pirate ship I found at Pottery Barn Kids (really a Thanksgiving decoration.) On a child's size square table by the door out to the backyard, I bought a pirate themed children's tablecloth at Pottery Barn Kids and placed a large wooden children's toy pirate ship on it with lots of gold coins. I put up black and white tape and strung it across the entry to the stairs with a skeleton pirate sitting holding a home made sign on brown paper that I wrinkled up to look old that read, Upstairs Deck Closed to Storm Wreckage. This helped prevent the little ones from running upstairs and destroying the playroom while the party was going on downstairs. I also made a sign in brown paper for the bathroom it read, Little Pirates Room. I put a skull and cross bones design on the top, hand wrote the words and burned the edges and laminated it.  In the house, we had a CD of pirate music lightly going. I also had a pirate music going on in the backyard. 

Games Once everyone arrived and had dressed and done their craft we played the game Pin the Eye Patch on the Pirate. I had taken a photo of my son dressed up in his pirate costume. Through Walmart, I ordered a large poster size and then I had it laminated at Kinkos. Online I found black pirate patch shaped with skull and cross bones. I printed enough for all the kids and used double stick tape. Each child was blindfolded and had a chance to see who could put the eye patch closest to the Captain's eye on the poster.  The prizes for the winners  I had 4 Melissa and Doug Puzzles  2 large floor puzzles and 2 smaller wood pirate puzzles. After that game, we had another small kiddie pool filled with water, fake crocodiles, fish, shells. We balanced a large piece of wood above the pool and we played, Walk the Plank Across Crocodile Lake. Parents helped all the little ones over so we didn't have any accidents into the pool and I sat at the other side with a small treasure chest filled of rings and bracelets. Through Oriental Trading I found gem rings for the girls and they had black rubber pirate rings for the boys. I also found red and black pirate bracelets for the boys and girly gem bracelets for the girls.  Next to the lake I had another mini pool filled with sand and under the sand there were a ton of necklaces, jewelry, bouncy balls, pirate pencils, pirate figurines, gold coins, shells, rings, etc. The kids got to dig for buried treasure. We also had a mini blow up ship ring toss game that was out if the kids wanted to play.  

Food After the games we sat down to eat. We ordered 3 large children height size tables and children size chairs. We covered the tables in black table cloths and every other chair we wrapped the chairs in red and black tulle. For cups for the kids  I ordered pirate (plastic) mugs from Oriental Trading Company. I used black plastic utensils and purchased pirate themed plates and red napkins. The centerpieces on each table were pirate ships and gold coins and necklaces.  We served Pirate Rootbeer, Ocean Water (blue juice) and Shark's Blood (red juice). I ordered Chicka-fila nuggets (Gold nuggets) and chicken salad sandwiches for the parents. We made Pirate Cavier (a sweet salsa style of dip). We also served gold fish, pretzels and other snacks.

Cake The cake was seriously the absolutely best part! I love to bake  but I'm terrible at making anything look pretty. So I hired a local baker and gave her a photo of a pirate ship cake I found online. I said, make the cake similar. She delivered the cake and I was almost speechless. It was even better than the picture I gave her and far too cute to cut into. It was a full on pirate ship with sails, an anchor  you could even see she had made the side panels of the boat look like boards with the grain of the wood. It was awesome and tasted just as good as it looked. We served vanilla ice cream. 

Treasure Hunt for Blackbeard's Treasure So after everyone finished eating, we announced that someone had stolen the pirate treasure and we had to find it! I set up a variety of clues and placed them around the backyard while everyone was eating. They read:  Clue #1:Attention all Pirates, we've stolen your loot. It's time for a treasure hunt, we're sure you'll have a hoot. Here is your 1st clue: If you were real pirate's, you'd sail the seven seas, for your transportation you'd need one of these.  The blow up large pirate ship that was placed in the backyard.  Clue #2: Jolly Rogers is my name and sailing is my game. I'm a mean and fierce pirate. I like to lurk around you see  can you find me?  I moved the pirate that was out on the front porch and sat him in a chair in the backyard with a clue in his arms.  Clue #3:  We will sign Yo Ho Yo Ho as we eat some tasty food, so to find the next clue go to where you ate your pirate grub. (The clue was on the tables where the children ate their lunch.)   Clue #4: We pirates need to stay warm when the weather gets cold, we like to light a fire in a big black bowl (fire pit) Have clue on the fire pit seat.   Clue #5:  When we are on dry land and the weather gets cold, we pirates need to stay warm! How do you think we like to toast our toes? (We placed the clue in our fire pit on our elevated deck.) Clue #6: Sometimes treasure is buried deep, beneath the golden sand. Dig, dig deep with all your heart upon the land. (we had a baby pool filled with sand and the clue was buried in the sand. The kids had to find the clue.)  Clue #7:  Now that you've searched high and low and had lots of fun, go back to the place were you begun. The treasure was with you all along, right, under the songs!!!  (The clue was on a table with the music, and a large black tub that I bought at Halloween from Target had all of the children's goodie bags in it  their treasure! On top of the table I cut out of red poster board paper a large X.  Treasure Bags (party gift bags) So the treasure ended up on the patio, under a table where the music had been playing. There was a big Red X cut out of cardboard underneath the cd player and the treasure was underneath the table that was skirted in a big black tub.The bags were black with white skull and crossbones on them. They were large (suppose to be used for trick or treating) bags from Oriental Trading Company. Inside I had bought Melissa and Doug small treasure chests that they could take home and decorate, there was pirate sucker, Pirate themed card deck, pirate themed bouncy ball, playdough, Pirate of the Caribbean fruit snacks, etc. Through Snapfish, I ordered printed a postcard of my son in his pirate costume and on the back it read: Thank you matey for helping me find the long, lost treasure and for celebrating my 4th birthday with us! Your Captain, Bradley. That was also in the bag. After the party was over, I ordered on Kodakgallery.com thank you note cards with a photo of my son on the front in his pirate costume. Inside it read,  Friends are the best treasure of all. Thanks for joining in our pirate adventure! then I wrote out the thank you notes.

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