Black Pearl Party -12yr- Swashbuckling Fun
Suzanne in Jonesboro, Maine, U.S.A.
Arrrr, ye scurvy dogs! It be time to celebrate birthdays with the cursed crew of the Black Pearl from The Pirates of the Caribbean!
We began the fun by using the POC flaming skull graphic on the front of the invitation. We used the scurlock font (downloaded free on the internet) to add "Avast, me hearty" on the left of the flaming skull graphic and "Let's party" on the right. On the inside, the top had a Dead Men Tell No Tales graphic and the following: "Stop yer pillaging and lend an ear. I have a message for ye to hear. The treasure's been stolen; It must be found. So tighten yer sashes, Be (last name) port bound. Shiver me timbers! There's a cursed crew aboard. They be seeking a cure, So have ready your sword!" The bottom had in Treasure Map Deadhand font (also a free download): Join Captain (name) aboard the Black Pearl for some swashbuckling fun in honor of his 12th birthday. Remember, ye swab, you'll be out on the open seas of the Caribbean so be prepared to get wet! Set Sail: Date, Time of Departure: Time, Port: Location, & RSVP date. We put some skull confetti left over from Halloween in the envelope and sealed with melted wax.
To prepare for the party, I gathered most of my ideas from this site and ordered items from Oriental Trading Co. like eye patches, swords, sword pens, LED skull & crossbones pins, pirate skull lollipops, gold coins, bandanas, moustaches, hook-hands, pirate tattoos, drawstring canvas bags, adhesive "jewels", gold paper goods and a treasure chest pinata. I made up a booklet of pirate information with pages on famous pirates, pirate terminology and so forth. I put these pages (mostly downloads) in cheap-o folders with 3 fasteners and printed the POTC flaming skull graphic on large labels and put that on the cover of each folder. We also bought some golden cloth which we cut into sashes. We decorated with gold, red and black skull balloons (really cool) from OTC.
We also used skeletons (Halloween decos), pirate flags, a fish net with sea creatures and signs that I made with skull or pirate graphics that said Enter at Yer Own Risk, This Property Protected by Pirates, Beware Ye Who Enter Here, and of course - Dead Men Tell No Tales! I also downloaded a few pictures of Johnny Depp. We put skull confetti, seashells and gold coins on the table. I bought a brown, leather-look notebook and put in some scroll-type paper and made a label that said,"Black Pearl Official Logbook". We put this on a special table for the kids to "sign on" when they arrived at the party. They could leave a birthday message for the "Captain". On the wall by this table we had Bartholomew's Articles (download) and John Paul Jones' appeal to seamen to join his service. I printed these on scroll-type paper. We had planned to have them choose a pirate name at that time but forgot. After they signed on, they received their skull bandana to wear on their head, gold sash, and tattoo.
As a gathering activity, The crew decorated their canvas bags with the jewels and we made bead danglers. These were quite easy and the boys had as much fun as the girls! We used earring hooks and twisted wire around the base. The crew chose their beads and slid them over the wire. I bought some fancy looking silver stars to use as the end of the dangler and we used needle nosed pliers to fold the wire up and tuck it under the next-to-the-last bead. The kids hung them from their bandanas (the hook slides easitly through the cotton fabric) to look like Johnny Depp! Then it was time for the games! First we played "Swab the Deck." 2 teams began a relay race to mop (from the dollar store) ping pong balls into a bucket across the room. The first team to take care of all their ping pong balls won.
Next we played "Dead Man's Tunnel". We took 2 large appliance boxes and duct-taped them together and lined them with cheap-o black disposable tablecloths - very loosely draped so it is almost hanging to the floor of the tunnel. The entrances were also covered with the ends of the tablecloths so it was pretty dark inside. We covered the outside with green tablecloths just to make it look a little more appealing. We had to make the tunnel a little more substantial by placing some deck chairs on either side so that the boxes wouldn't collapse on the kids. Each "crew" (team) lined up on either side on the boxes and on the signal, they had to crawl through the tunnel, pass the opposing team player who was coming from the other end, exit the tunnel and run to tag the next team member. The first crew through won. This was a very quick game but they loved it and did it twice.
Next we did "Dead Parrot Guts". I prepared different colors of Jell-o with gummy worms in it. The teams had to crab walk across the room, flip over onto their bellies, eat a scoop of "dead parrot guts" (on paper plates at the end of the course)then run back to tag the next player. This was a riot! Remember, though, you don't need to make more than 2 boxes of jello and just give each player a small ice cream scoop to eat! We then took a cake (edible image of the POTC flaming skull & crossed swords) and ice cream break and had "Beer" (root beer) or "Ale" (ginger ale). We also had bone chips and guts (tortilla chips and salsa), skull-shaped cookies (store-bought sugar cookie dough and a Halloween cookie cutter), goldfish crackers, POTC M&Ms, and squares of watermelon and apple put together with sword toothpicks. We served everything on fake gold trays. We had decorated the rim of the gold paper plates with the acrylic jewels so it looked like a true pirates' treasure feast! After opening presents it was time to get back to the games!
We played "Cannonball Stomp." Each player tied a "cannonball" (black balloon with a piece of paper and a fake gold coin in it) to his/her ankle. On the signal, the players tried to explode the other players cannonballs and get the clue and piece of gold inside while trying to keep the other players from exploding their own cannonball. Inside one balloon was the first clue to the treasure hunt. The others had sayings like,"Avast, ye scurvy dog, this be not the clue ye seek." The player who found the clue became the treasure hunt leader and read all of the clues and distributed the goodies that were found at each location. Some of the clues were:
Go to the piano bench and be sure to look in. There you will find a pirate skull pin.
Another was: Ye don't look like pirates. Yer face is too clean. Look in the blue bathtub to find something to make you look mean (adhesive moustaches).
The final clue lead back to the garage where the treasure chest pinata was hanging. Because of a rainy morning we had to reorganize events for inside - thank goodness for our garage! Inside the pinata was the usual assortment of candy and a packet of color changing Kool-aid with a label that said "Curse Cure Potion." I explained that since each of them had touched the cursed Aztec gold during the cannonball stomp (I made sure that each player had at least one gold coin and encouraged the kids to take the gold coins off the table), they were now part of Barbossa's cursed skeleton crew and had to be cured before they could leave so we mixed up the "potion" - noting that it looked one color in the packet and another when mixed with water - and they each had to drink at least one swallow to be cured. They all made horrible faces but drank every bit and then I realized that I hadn't added any sugar to it! We decided that the odd taste made it even better!
Once they were cured, the rain had stopped so we went outside for the cannonball toss. We had filled black balloons with water and they had to toss the balloon to a partner and take a step back after they caught it. Since it was pretty wet on the driveway anyway, the kids had almost as much fun stomping in the puddles to get each other wet as they did tossing the balloons! We had prepared plenty of balloons and they were pretty tough so we did that until parents began to arrive for pick-up.
At that time, I announced that they were official Black Pearl crew members for life and "unchained" (cut the gold ribbon that was tied around it) the treasure chest and gave each pirate a plastic sword to take home. I thought they might be too old for all of that stuff but they were thrilled and left with their bejeweled drawsting canvas bags full of plunder!
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