In late July we celebrated Elias’s 5th birthday with an awesome pirate birthday party. He has been talking about having a pirate party since last fall, so we had plenty of time to dream up some really fun ideas.
It was so much fun to plan and host. Get ready for LOTS of photos, details and links (some are affiliate links). I’d love for you to pin this post on Pinterest!
I looked at hundreds of pirate invitations before finally selecting this cute invitation from Minted. (Bonus, with this link you will get $25 off your order of $50 or more!). I changed the wording from what was on the site, and their amazing designers formatted it to look perfect. The quality of Minted cards surpasses any other company I have bought from online, without question.
For the kids, I found pirate hat/patch/sword sets at Dollar Tree at Halloween last year. Yes, I bought 25 of them 9 months before Elias’s birthday. I knew I wouldn’t find a better deal in July! Thank goodness he didn’t change his mind! We had an old pallet that I wrapped rope around. I then hung the hats up with clothespins. I was in love with it.
I also painted cardboard paper towel rolls black and then wrapped the ends with gold washi tape to make telescopes. But with everything going on, we didn’t distribute them (just had them in a basket near the ship) so only some kids grabbed them while playing. They were really cute, and Elias had fun with them even after the party!
Because I was worried about not having enough hats, I also bought some red fabric, which I ripped into 3 inch strips. By the end of the party half the kids had on hats and half had fabric strips (you’ll see them more in other photos!).
Pirate Backdrop & Decorations
I used burlap as an accent for many of the decorations. I used burlap and some pirate puppets for the mantle. I also printed a photo of Elias dressed as a pirate from Halloween 2012 and stuck it in a frame.
I also used burlap for the table runner (see more about the table below).
We also got a great deal on a jumbo inflatable pirate, which the kids loved. (After Elias’s party, I donated it to the kids’ school.)
I created a pirate backdrop using burlap, some decorative net from a friend and a pirate bunting. I attached the burlap with duct tape to our siding, then used safety pins to attach the netting and bunting. The problem was the combination of the weight and the humidity made it so the backdrop kept falling. By the end of the party, we had as much duct tape as burlap on the wall. It would have been better to attach the burlap with rope, like a curtain or use a Background Support System.
I found Elias’s shirt at Kohl’s and asked a friend to embroider his name to it. This is a great way to make a store-bought shirt custom – and usually is a lot more affordable.
I also made Adeline a little skirt using some fabric from JoAnn’s.
I planned an abundance of pirate activities, which made for so much fun for the kids. When they walked onto our deck, their eyes got wide as they exclaimed, “Can we do that? Can we do that?” It was amazing.
Pirate Ship– Of course, a pirate party would not be complete without a pirate ship. I made the ship using several large cardboard boxes. Liquid nails worked awesome to attach the cardboard. I cut a carpet tube into pieces to make the cannons.
The sail was an old window shade that had been left at our house by the former owner. In the center, I painted a skull using black puffy paint. We attached it to a bamboo pole that was used for a carpet roll. We then tied it to the deck railing, just behind the boat. This prevented the kids from playing with it too much and it accidentally falling.
I painted water along the bottom, which added a nice pop of color and we spread tarps out to look like water. Elias named the ship “The Fire Dragon.”
Walk the Plank– I painted “Walk the Plank” onto a board and then set it on a few cinder blocks. The kids loved it and many walked on it over and over. (Elias is holding one of the telescopes in this picture.)
Pin the Patch on the Pirate – I painted a pirate on a big piece of cardboard (got it for free at Sam’s Club) and cut a bunch of patches out of black paper. I then ran them through my Xyron Creatopia so they would have adhesive on one side.
All the kids were so excited to have a turn.
We covered the kids’ eyes with fabric, spun them around, and let them at it. It was so cute!
It only took about 15 minutes to put together and was a huge hit. (I used embroidery hoops for the rings, but you could also use pool rings.)
Buried Treasure – Since we had a sandbox, it made sense to have some buried treasure. After lunch, we opened the cover and let the kids go to town finding beaded necklaces.
Treasure Hunt – Click here for a detailed post about the treasure hunt. Suffice to say, it was a HUGE hit.
The Table & Pirate Food
Target had awesome pirate party decor. I bought the tablecloth and all the paper products there. I also added burlap as a runner and scattered gold coins all over. I made signs using cardboard and parchment paper.
Because I invested so much time in the activities for the party, I kept the food VERY simple. I found seashell bowls reasonably priced at a party store, so I bought a few of those for snacks including “cannon balls” (cheese balls), “chocolate booty” (rolos) and “shark bait” (goldfish crackers). We used a large seashell bowl for an “island fruit salad.”
For drinks, I filled carafes with “sea water” and “jolly roger apple juice.”
We also ordered pizza for lunch. (For the record, 12 large pizzas was WAY too much for 20 kids and 10 adults.)
Pirate Ship Cake & Cupcakes
Elias requested that I make him a pirate ship cake. I found this tutorial and thought the cake turned out okay. It could have been better, but he loved it, and that’s all that mattered. (I printed the flags from a free download that I can no longer find – sorry.) I will say that the chocolate frosting might be the best frosting I have ever made. YUM!
You’ll notice that one of the little windows is missing, thanks to Miss Adeline sneaking an M&M. I didn’t notice until I looked at the pictures after the party – ha!
I also made cupcakes because I knew the cake wouldn’t be big enough. I stuck gold coins in the frosting, which looked adorable.
It was Elias’s favorite party to date, and I hope it inspires you if you ever have the need to plan a pirate party! If you have any questions, please let me know. Also, for more inspiration, check out my pirate party board on Pinterest.