Pirate Party Ideas

I would like to share with you my pirate party ideas and how I pulled off my daughter’s pirate party.  She was very much into Jack Sparrow at the time, and loved the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  I was pretty excited about this theme, because there are tons of pirate decorating ideas out there, as well as games!

I was familiar with how fun this theme can be.  Every year we are invited to a “Talk Like a Pirate” party on the International Talk Like a Pirate Day in September.  Everyone is encouraged to come dressed up as a pirate, and the hosts do a wonderful job decorating their house!

Perhaps you are here to gather some of your own ideas!  Feel free to use my ideas here, and share your pirate ideas using the link at the bottom of the page.

Pirate Party Ideas: The Invitations

I created an invitation on the computer, using Photoshop.  I found an image of a pirate ship and Jack Sparrow for the background.  On top, I layered a photo of my daughter dressed up as a pirate (with a scowl on her face too!).  I used the text tool to add in the details of the party.  I then got 4x6 prints made of these at Wal-Mart.  For twenty cents each, you get professional quality invitations which double as a photo, and make a great souvenir.

pirate invitation

What I loved about the invitations is I told everyone to “dress like a pirate, or be prepared to talk like one!”

If you don’t have many coming to the party, and can hand deliver the invites, here’s another idea.  Create an invitation on a piece of cream colored paper.  Tear the edges of the paper to make it look old.  You can also ink the edges with Distress ink to make the paper look ancient!  Roll up the invite and put in a bottle!  I used cleaned out beer bottles to hold a message on the paper table, as part of a game (more on that later).  But I thought it would be cute invitation idea too!

The Cricut cartridge “Life’s a Beach” has a skull, treasure chest, toucan, and palm trees on it which can create some pretty invitations and party décor too!

Pirate Party Ideas: Decorations

The colors to carry out this theme are very easy: black, white, red, even some yellow thrown in as an accent if you like.  I pulled out my usual red tablecloth for the table.  It is amazing how many times I have been able to utilize the color red in my parties.

I decorated the table with red, black, and white balloons, and red and black streamers.  As usual, I made my own birthday banner on the computer to hang as a decoration.

Then I began to think of anything I had in the house that had to do with the sea… we do have a sailboat decoration we put out during the summer and I knew this would be a perfect table decoration.  I cut out a black skull using my Cricut and pinned it on the sail to make it look more like a pirate ship.

pirate party table

Since I’m big into Halloween decorating, I had plenty skeletons and skulls.  These can be made to look like pirates by tying a bandana around the skull and adding an eye patch.  They looked great around the party table, and I also placed some around our house.  I love my posable skeletons because you can create funny scenes with them (like two pirates playing cards or drinking from a bottle).

One of the most important things for my five year old was to have those chocolate covered gold coins!  Quite cute, actually, that she was so into these.  I had to go to a specialty candy store to buy them, and I paid an arm and a leg.  But since I didn’t spend much on the other decorations this was completely worth it.  Even if you ask her today about her favorite thing she will say those chocolate coins!  I had these scattered on the table, but they were also part of the party favors and on the cake.

Pirate Party Ideas: The Birthday Cake

There are tons of pirate party ideas out there, including the cakes… but we kept it simple.  I made a cake that had part land, part water on it, with a little treasure map.  There was a little treasure chest on top filled with jewels.  This little chest was just one of those velvet ring boxes that pop open.  I filled with little acrylic jewels and beads that I already had in my craft supplies.  We also had some little plastic trees and rocks that was part of a play set which we placed on top of the cake.  Around the cake were more gold chocolate coins!

treasure map pirate cake

Pirate Party Ideas: The Party Favors

The favors were chocolate gold coins, wrapped in some red tulle.  Usually I also had a party favor bag for each child, but instead, they each had a bottle with a note in it.  This note was the first clue in a large treasure hunt, which I explain below.  The treasure chest had loads of candy, wrapped gifts, and small toys for each child to enjoy and take home with them.

gold pirate coins

Pirate Party Ideas: Pirate Games

As I thought of pirate party ideas, I came up with two different activities.  The first was a timed pretzel hunt.  The next was a treasure hunt!

Pirate Party Ideas:  Pirate Hook Hand Pretzel Hunt

Each child got a “hook” hand, and used it to fish out pretzels from a large bowl.  The child to collect the most pretzels in the time allotted won! 

pirate hook hands

To make a Captain Hook hand:  Cut a small  “X” on the bottom of a red or black plastic Solo cup, using an Exacto blade.  Next, thread a candy cane through the X.  The hook part should be on the outside of the cup, and the child can put their hand inside the cup and hold on to it using the stem of the candy cane, inside.

This was a really fun activity.  Be forewarned:  Buy the largest pretzels you can find, and make sure you test things out first.  Be sure the pretzels have holes big enough for the candy cane hooks to go through.  I found out that Dandee Midgets are too small.

Pirate Party Ideas:  The Treasure Hunt

The second activity was a Treasure Hunt.  I made it pretty involved, so I’ll share what I did but you may find this is too much work.  I will say though, the kids just loved this.  I think it was well worth my time and it was so fun to watch them work together to figure it out!  This treasure hunt was very similar to the one I did for the Scooby Doo birthday party.  

Here goes: 

All the clues were printed on cream colored paper.  The paper was then ripped to have torn edges, and I stamped the edges with brown Distress Ink to make them look old.  There were then rolled up like a scroll and secured with a bit a twine tied around them.  They looked very authentic!

treasure hunt clues

The treasure hunt began with an individual clue that each child had to solve by themselves.  

This clue was found in a brown colored bottle (beer bottle that I cleaned out and removed the label) which was decorated with a label with the child’s name, and a skull. 

To get the paper out easily, I taped one edge of the clue to a wooden skewer before rolling it.  To remove the clue, you simply had to pull out the wooden skewer.

I tried to make the question related to something only the child would know, or something they were really into, for instance:

“What is last name of your school teacher?”  Answer: Guy

“What is the color of the fruit on the cover of the book Twilight”? Answer:  Red

“You hid behind this during our last game of hide and go seek” Answer: Tree

“Inkhoo, Polly Pockets, and Brave were some of your birthday _________ this year” Answer: gifts

On the back of each paper clue, was part of a sentence.  Each child had to put their answer to the clues above in the blanks of the sentence, to create a new clue, which they all worked together to achieve.

For this game, the sentence (with blanks filled in) was:

The guy in red comes on Christmas and delivers gifts under the tree.

That’s it.  That was the clue.  The kids got it immediately, I was surprised, and ran to our Christmas tree (by the way, this pirate party took place on New Year’s Day, so our tree was still up).

Under the tree lies another scroll, this time with just one clue they all worked on together.  I tried to make each clue rhyme.  Each clue led them to another location, where they found another clue.


Uncle Jon creates delicious recipes here,
He’s king of the BBQ and steaks he will sear,
Some pirates stopped by and had a bite too,
And lucky for you, they left your next clue.

(Answer: The next clue was inside our grill!)

 There were a total of 10 clues.  The final clue was like the first, where each child got individual clues that they had to figure out, and then put them together to form a sentence.  The final sentence told them where to go to find the treasure.

The Treasure

The treasure chest was made from a shoebox.  I taped a piece of cardstock on the top of the lid and bowed it out to create a simple, curved dome.  My mother in law is so artistic, and she decorated it for me with markers to look like a treasure chest.

treasure chest

Inside I placed small wrapped gifts (labeled with each child’s name so there would not be any fighting!), candy, more chocolate coins, and small toys.

Pirate Party Ideas: Dressing Like a Pirate

It seemed natural when coming up with pirate party ideas to have some guest participation, which is why I suggested on the invitation to dress in character.  Some of the guests did dress up, and it really added to the party (and made for great pictures!).  Some did not dress up, but then wanted to when they saw everyone else.  Turns out, it isn’t very hard to dress like a pirate.  Use a bandana, or a scarf, and tie it around your hair.  If you have an eye patch, even better.  I ended up making some by gluing a ribbon to a black piece of felt, and tying it around the children’s heads.  

Here’s other easy ways to get in the pirate spirit:  Wear a flannel, or since a shirt with a big belt at your waist line.  Ladies, wear one large earring (a dangly one or a big hoop).  Then, add on the eye makeup.  My mother in law even used black eyeliner and black eye shadow to create a beard.  She was hilarious, since she went as a man pirate!

My daugther and all the kids really had fun at this party.  I hope that you enjoyed these pirate party ideas!  Good luck planning your party!

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