Unlike many children, N’s not really big on birthday party themes. But even he requested a pirate party theme when we were in the early planning stages of his last party.
He didn’t get one because he won’t do dressing up, doesn’t really take part in themed games or activities and the theme was going to conflict with the car theme his friend had asked for. But he does enjoy watching Swashbuckle and finds pirate books funny, so I think he’s a closet pirate fan.
My pirate party bag post is one of my most popular on the blog (no wonder given children’s love of the tv show Swashbuckle), so I’m pulling together some of the best pirate party theme ideas in one place.
What do you need for a birthday party theme?
Most children love parties. Ok, mine says he doesn’t, but largely enjoys them once he’s there. After his last one he had already started planning next years!
This year he had a joint science themed party with his best friend. It went down really well, and a lot better than any party that needed him to dress up. However many preschool and primary age children love to dress up so themes for the whole party can work brilliantly and keep all the planning and event cohesive.
After a previous pirate themed party N went to, I’ve found a lot of people coming to my blog looking for pirate party ideas. So I’ve pulled together a variety of posts all about pirate parties.
A pirate party theme can cover as much or little as you like but to really bring a theme to life here are some of the items which will really make children excited and feel like they’re in a pirate ship.
Nowadays there’s so many places to buy fancy dress, sometimes it works out cheaper than making your own. But there’s some simple accessories that can be made – just check out Pinkoddy’s pirates fancy dress ideas.
For a simple outfit:
- Use plain dark shorts, or rip/cut off the bottoms of some old dark trousers.
- Add a white shirt, or stripy t shirt
- A black waistcoat makes a good addition – you can make a simple one if you sew, otherwise they’re easily made from an old black t-shirt. Just cut off the sleeves, then cut a line up the centre front to make it to a waistcoat. You can sew round seams or just cut round the edges to shape.
- Bandana round the neck
- Eye patch
- Add a hook to a long jacket for a Captain hook style pirate (leave the trousers long)
If you’re really going to town, you may want to theme the food.
- Create boats out of hot dogs (just pop a pirate flag on top)
- Use cutters to make boat or sword or hat sandwiches.
- Octopus – cut the bottom of hotdogs vertically to halfway up, the cool, the tentacles will curl up a bit.
- Cannonballs – maltesers or cheese balls
For sweet treats, check out Johnson Babies pirate party which includes some great food ideas like treasure chest, jelly boats made with blue jell-o and pirate battles (fruit sword skewers).
No party is complete without a cake (or cupcakes). If you’re a great cake maker and decorator then you might want to attempt a pirate’s galleon, while the hardest thing about creating a skull and crossbones flag is getting black icing.
I seem to recall having a treasure chest cake myself back when I was a child. Have the cake base with a cake lid perched on top of an overflowing chest of chocolate coins, jewels (fruit pastilles), Haribo rings and candy necklaces. Or go pinata style and have the jewels and coins hidden inside a closed check cake. Just hollow out a hole in the inside of a cake and fill before sandwiching it together and decorating.
Or simply decorate a basic round cake to look like a pirate. It’s easily adapted to cupcakes as well (if you’re lazy like me, buy blank cupcakes and just decorate them yourself.
Games and activities
When I went to Woodcraft Folk we used to play a Port and Starboard pirate game where someone would call out orders and you had to go to ‘bow, stern, starboard, port, climb the rigging and more’ without being the last to do it correctly and be out, until one winner was left standing. It’s probably for older primary school children, but great fun if you’ve a large hall or outdoor area to get the children active.
A treasure hunt is pretty essential too. Create a map with an x marks the spot, tear round the edges, colour it with tea stain, and either have a route on the map to follow to the treasure for younger children, or clues at various points to help them find wherever you’ve hidden it.
If you want more craft themed activities, then why not have the children make simple beaded jewellery ‘treasure’ like at the Mini Mes and Me’s pirate treasure party. And for quieter time out, here’s some pirate colouring pages over at In The Playroom blog.
For other game ideas check out the Awesome Kid birthday Parties website for themed game ideas, like feed the shark or scrub the deck.
Jolly roger flag bunting is easy and quick to make. Just cut black paper into triangles, decorate (or create on a computer and print out), fold over the tops over string or ribbon and staple or stick to make the bunting
If you’ve any old fishermen style netting, you can hang that up on the walls, add a few inflatable crocodiles, and fish.
Old maps can be used to decorate the walls – simply blow up or print out large and stick up.
Further decoration ideas can be found on Coolest kid birthday parties
For more traditional party bag ideas you can simply get pirate based fillers – Poundland do packs of pirate patches, add a plastic hook for a hand, kids tattoos, bandana and pirate hat (which of course you could get them to make at the party) and some chocolate coins and you’ve got a themed bag.
Alternatively give a crafting party bag – try a treasure chest blank cardboard box, pop some chocolate coins in a box, some bullion (a Gold chocolate biscuit suits), some pirate stickers and colouring crayons, and each child will have their own treasure chest to decorate and use.
What else would you add for a themed party?
Why not take a look at these similar posts.