Pirate Party

Pirate & Fairy Party 5yr - Pirate Ship Idea




Robin in New Bern, NC, USA


July 2008


Runner Up

PIRATE & FAIRY PARTY 5 years old  My son adores pirates and requested a pirate party for his 5th birthday - a year and a half in advance. I planned the combination theme because some of the girls would have been uninterested in only pirates. The party was essentially a costume party as well as a birthday party.

The INVITATIONS were two parts: one  a printed invitation on a die cut pirate boy, Old English script with all of the pirate lingo Ahoy Mateys! Ahoy Fairies! Captain Jack is celebratin his 5th year of birth on the high seas, Chart the course fer Saturday 30th tide of Septembre, Two thousand and seventh year, 2:00 - 5:00 o'clock, Dress as a Pirate Fairy to board Captain Jack's ship where X marks the spot on the treasure map, R.S.V.P. or walk the plank! On the back of the invitation, it included instructions on what to wear  - khaki short and white long sleeved shirts for the boys (pirates) and light pink leotards/tights/shoes for the girls(fairies), the invitation was stuffed in an envelope along with gold metallic round confetti and the envelope circle punched in the corner and tied with raffia to a plastic bottle (www.sandartsupplies.com)  filled with sand and small sea shells with a rolled up/raffia tied/tea-dyed parchment paper treasure map showing directions to our home by use of landmarks (my husband used symbols off the internet and we named each area Crocodile Swamp - lake, Pirate Graveyard- actual graveyard near our house, etc.) and a cork sealed the bottle.

I made up pirate names for each child and printed their names on the envelope all in the Old English script. My son went with me to hand deliver each invitation and it was so much fun to see each child's face. The kids could barely wait for the party and loved studying the maps. I had to plan this party well in advance because I collected all kinds of pirate & fairy accessories/goodies for months from dollar stores, www.OrientalTradingCo.com and www.DeadMenTellNoTales.com (both websites fantastic sources for pirate stuff). My son was dressed in a handsome red velvet jacketed Captain Hook outfit (gift from his real fairy godmother) and greeted the children as they arrived  he actually believes that he is Captain Hook!

The party started with many GAMES (pin the patch on the pirate, pirate bean bag toss, ship ring toss (all OTC), walk the plank (plank my husband made from wood and dollar store blow up crocodiles surrounding the plank on a blue tarp), cruisin cannonballs (my husband made 3 working spring cannons (no gun powder though) with wood stained dark and pvc pipes painted black for cannons - plastic baseballs painted black with plastic paint for cannon balls (a huge hit with the kids), and golden nugget dig (gold painted rocks and gold coins were submerged in the sandbox). Each game had a sign  Old English text on tea dyed parchment on a black foam core board mounted on wood stakes, along with printed skulls off my computer for accent. There were signs similar to this style all over the yard naming other items with pirate lingo  Bounce House, Grub Area, Beware of Pirates etc. Also, each game had a black bucket with tea dyed paper money (dollar store) and the children had to play each game and earn the money.

Once they had played each game, they were to buy their accessories (to complete their COSTUMES) from either the Fairy Dust Boutique or the Skull & Crossbones Shoppe. Each shop was a raffia lemonade stand (from Sam's Club) with signage, decorated to the theme and manned by an adult shop keeper with children's cash registers. The pirates purchased their vests (black felt made by my talented mom), eye patches, swords, earrings, hats, rings (all from OTC), sashes (red felt cut in strips). The fairies purchased their skirts (gorgeous light pink tulle and glitter covered petal edge, 5 layered, each custom made for each size child  made also by my ultra talented mom), wings, pink star wands, flower rings, iridescent necklaces, face and hair fairy dust and floral head pieces (made from Michaels hot glued miniature flowers and pink satin ribbon) attached with rhinestone clips.

Once dressed, the children all went on board the pirate ship - that my husband spent 3 weeks building in our back yard  15 long x 8 wide with a cabin (which was the pirate jail and decorated as such with squishy rats/fake chain/spooky creepy cloth and fake cobwebs). The ship was anchored in the ground about 2 deep with 2x4's to secure it for safety and made out of plywood with 4 clap board siding overlay painted brown, with 6 high foam letters (Wal-Mart) painted gold spelling the Jolly Roger as the name of the ship, mounted on the stern. The mast was 18 high, secured 4 into the ground for safety, made from 6/4 PVC pipe, painted brown with sails made of white king size flat sheets, along with the Jolly Roger flag (OTC) flying from the top of the mast. There was also a fog machine behind the ship that was set on a timer. The ship was a huge hit for the kids and parents alike. It is a permanent fixture/play house in our yard as long as it stands  I am planning a Halloween party and use it again as a haunted ship. Once all the children were in the ship, I told the children that some pirates had been seen in our neighborhood and to be on the watch for any  just then, a pirate (a real hired pirate  we live close to the N.C. coast and this particular pirate had just won the Tall Ships race, so we were very fortunate in meeting him) snuck around the ship and surprised the children. He challenged the boys to a sword fight, shot off his real pirate gun in the air and then asked them all to help him find his cannon  a real working cannon. The entire party followed him to a crate that he opened and revealed a shiny brass cannon. He then gave each child some gunpowder and showed them how a real cannon works  and it did  a giant blast with tons of smoke. My son actually got to light the fuse. He also brought air cannons filled with confetti and shot them off and an old pirate gun too. He was fantastic and in full authentic pirate dress and spoke only pirate lingo. (In retrospect, I think that he actually is a pirate!) He then signed posters (he is a famous pirate with his own posters) to all of the children individually and gave them each a gold doubloon with his insignia on it.

While he was signing posters, the children ate light SNACKS  Pirate Booty (rice popcorn), Pirate M&M's (marketed for the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie)  2 different kinds  white, peanut and regular;  Pirate cereal ( POTC chocolate cereal), Gold nuggets  ChixFilA chicken, Tropical fruit with plastic sword picks, Cheese and Goldfish/Chex mix. The serving tables were covered in black plastic and skirted in natural raffia, along with red and raffia umbrellas with fish netting and star fish/shells hanging about.  While pirate music played (DMTNT and Amazon have a great selection).

The pirate then led the children in the big ACTIVITY  the infamous treasure hunt, giving a telescope & compass to each child and then reading the clues off of rolled up tie dyed parchment. The clues were about significant areas around the yard  i.e. One alligator loves Captain Hook more than anyone other. Find and look on the special alligator's tummy for your next clue The children then raced to the alligators in the walk the plank game and found the next clue. The pirate lead them through 4 clues until they reached the last one  it was attached to a gold #5 Mylar balloon attached to a 12 high balloon arch (made from bunches of (4) black and white 16 balloons attached to 1 PVC pipe, with skull Mylar alongside the 5 balloon (over the end of our slide that comes from the playhouse). That clue lead to the pirate chest (an antique chest that we found in my mother-in-laws attic  filled with gold coins, necklaces, colored jewels (DMTNT), costume jewelry, gold crowns (dollar stores and party stores), gold plastic trays, gold sprayed goblets with hot glued jewels, with a full size movable skeleton (OTC) dressed in my son's pirate costume from last year guarding the treasure. Hidden below all the loot was another treasure box full with small plastic and gold treasure boxes (DNTNT) filled with gold coins, jewels, necklaces, rings  one for each child.

We then brought out the CAKE  actually 5 cakes one for each year of course we really love cake, plus we had 20 children and about 45 adults to serve. The cake table was a round table covered in black plastic, overlaid with fish netting and skirted in raffia with shells dangling from the top border. The cakes were Oreo cake (an invention of mine  basically yellow cake with crushed Oreos mixed in) and covered in golden yellow butter cream icing. The center cake was 12 round with a large toy plastic ship and toy pirates on it, the 4 surrounding 6 cakes had different pirate scenes with toy pirates and accessories (Pirate Legends from Odyssey Toys has an excellent selection of pirates)  treasure chest, sword fight, crocodile, and cannon. Each base was (3) Styrofoam 2 h circles covered in gold metallic cake board wrap; the center cake base had gold pirate coins attached to the sides and the 4 smaller cakes had them attached to the actual cake sides. We sang Happy Birthday and the pirate pretended to use his authentic sword (a real metal one - 18 long at least) to cut (or rather attack) the cake  pirate style with great animation. The kids loved it.

For the table DECORATION, the children then ate their cake and ice cream on treasure map pirate plates (Party City) with metallic gold plastic forks and parrot cups (OTC) filled with tropical juice. They sat at a huge square table, covered in golden yellow plastic with an aqua blue plastic and tulle center with a Play Mobil large ship full of pirates for the centerpiece along with a 12 raffia skirt (OTC). The entire top was bordered in the treasure map tablecloth (Party City), cut/stapled to my table. The table is actually a plywood table that my husband made years ago to go over our hot tub for parties  so we can staple into it. I used our yellow and red child size plastic party chairs around it (dollar store version). There is a wooden trellis overhead, so I hung black, white and red streamers all centering in the middle of the table, where a huge bunch of balloons hung  in black, red, gold metallic, blue and green. I used bunches of these same balloons throughout the party  on the mailbox, inside the foyer of the house, in the food area, on the ship etc. The colored balloons had skull & crossbones on them (DNTNT). I also made a couple of 6 tall pirates out of the Mylar pirate skull balloons as heads and the black and white 16 balloons (Balloons.com) for the bodies, along with the long entertainer balloons for arms and swords or hooks at the hands, attached to  ½ pvc pipe, anchored into the ground. The party then concluded with a ship pinata (DNTNT) full of skull gummy candy (OTC), gold rolos, bouncy balls, and tropical candy. The children used a sword to swat at it.

They were each given fairy or pirate bags (OTC) for their loot/FAVORS. Upon leaving, each child was given a favor bucket  pirates: black metal bucket (Target) with custom label with pirate name and skull & crossbones, filled with gold metallic shred with Captain Hook pen, pirate ducks, stickers, tattoos, skull lollipops, bendy pirates, pirate squeeze balls, pirate sugar chest, (all OTC) gold chocolate coins;  fairies: light pink buckets with pink ribbons intertwined and iridescent shred filled with Tinkerbelle pen, fairy lip gloss, pink/silver/purple nail polish, nail stickers, face glitter, fairy necklace, fairy stickers hair clips, hair ribbons. Each guest was given a clear cellophane bag with large clam shell filled with different varieties of pirate M&M's, tied with raffia and a circular label saying Thank you for coming to my Pirate Party, Your Mate, Jack with skull & crossbones.  The children loved the party and did not want to leave although they were exhausted  it was a very action packed party. I planned it for 3 hours because I knew that we would need the time and this particular group of children could actually handle it. My son had the greatest time and has been talking about it constantly. He was so happy and that made all the hard work worth it  just to see the pure joy in his eyes. This party took an incredible amount of planning and work but if you are an ambitious party planner and a stickler for details  the end result is magical. It was one of the best parties that I have ever given. Children (including the child in all of us) mutually hold a very special affection for the mystery and magic of PIRATES and FAIRIES.

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